The days and weeks after the July 7 ambush, the Dallas Police Department saw an outpouring of public support from across the globe.
Flowers, cards, and other mementos were placed on top of a squad car in front of the DPD headquarters at an impromptu tribute to the fallen officers.
Although the memorial is no longer there, the items have been preserved at a local library.
Jo Giudice's job is director of the Dallas Library. But what's being kept in the basement is her passion: the July 7 memorial collection.Giudice's job is director of the Dallas Library. But what's being kept in the basement is her passion: the July 7 memorial collection.
The collection wouldn't exist had Giudice not heard rain was in the forecast a few days after the Dallas shooting. She instantly thought of the memorials at Dallas Police and DART headquarters.
“It was a weather report,” she recalled. “In that moment, it was like, 'Oh my gosh! We have to save that paper!’”
But Giudice saved more than paper. She saved flowers, flags, crosses, cards, badges, bracelets, stuffed animals, toys and gifts from police departments around the world.
The librarian now spends many of her Saturdays organizing the archive that does not yet have a home.
“You come in thinking, 'I'm just going to put letters in a box. I'm not going to read them,’” Giudice said. “And then you just get pulled in and you start reading and you start crying. And then you have to stop.”
The only other time a Dallas librarian has started an archive like this was in 1963 after the President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Few have seen the special archive room.
“We've had a couple of the families of the fallen come and visit and spend some private time,” Giudice explained.
The items are all just things, some seemingly insignificant. But in the days after the ambush, they were things that healed.
“The perfect representation of the love that's still in the world,” Giudice said. “There's kindness out there still. People went out of their way to make things, to hand make things, to paint things, to bring messages of hope and love in a time when we were really hurting. That really sticks with you when you come in this room.”