Fallen Dallas officers honored on Police Memorial Day

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The Dallas Police Department honored and recognized the sacrifices made by officers for Police Memorial Day.

The ceremony Wednesday morning began with a march from Griffin and Young streets in Downtown Dallas to a memorial outside DPD headquarters.

Current and former police officers, their families and friends and residents joined the command staff, honor guard, salute team and dignitaries to honor all of the 84 officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

With interim Dallas Police Chief David Pughes and Mayor Mike Rawlings front and center, cadets made the sober march through the streets of downtown.

The ceremony is held every year to honor those officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice. This year's memorial service was especially hard for the police department and the citizens they've sworn to protect five officers who were killed in the July ambush.

Sgt. Michael Smith, Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, Officer Michael Krol, Officer Patrick Zamarripa and DART Officer Brent Thompson were fatally shot in an ambush attack during a protest in Downtown Dallas. Seven other officers were injured.

Jose Vela was one of the protesters the night of July 7, 2016, that ended with the ambush murders.

“When reality comes to you in front of you, your whole perspective on police is going to change,” he said. “It changed me too as well.”

Despite calls from the Fraternal Order of Police president not to attend the service, Rawlings’ presence was met without visible controversy.

“This year, our thoughts are overcome with grief for the loss of four more Dallas Police officers and a DART officer on that awful day last summer,” the mayor said.

It was a sentiment echoed by Chief Pughes.

“We all wish it wouldn't have happened,” he said. “And we all pray it won't happen again.”

Families of the some of the fallen officers stood in memory of their loved one as their name was read out loud.

Following the laying of the wreath and the 21-gun salute, family and friends of the slain officers gathered around the police memorial, including the widow of J.D. Tippit who was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

“It's just heartbreaking,” Marie Tippet said. “My heart goes out to the other families. We understand how each other feel, and that's important.”

“It just brings us very close. We feel his presence and spirit here,” said Zamarripa’s aunt, Isabel. “It's very overwhelming, very touching, beautiful.”

The Dart Police Department will hold its own memorial service at its headquarters at noon on Thursday to honor Officer Thompson. The public is encouraged to attend.

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