Five oak trees will be planted in Kiest Park near the Dream Courts in memory of Ahrens, Krol, Smith, Zamarripa and Thompson.
Also Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott called on the state to stand with law enforcement. All officers were asked to turn on their red and blue lights for a minute at 10 a.m.
The governor spoke Friday at San Antonio Police Officer Miguel Moreno’s funeral. Moreno was fatally shot last week.
“Respect for our law enforcement officials must be restored in this nation,” Abbott said in a written statement. “It is our officers who stand between us and all that threatens, and we must stand behind them by sending a clear message that attacks on our men and women in blue will not be tolerated. I ask that all Texans come together to show our appreciation for those who keep us safe.”
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said the somber day should be a moment for residents to reflect on the officers’ shared sacrifice.
“May today serve as a reminder to renew our commitment to standing united as a community and strengthening the bonds that tie us together as citizens of Dallas County,” she said.
Two ceremonies honoring the actions of officers in the ambush took place Thursday.
Officers in uniform filed into American Airlines Center in the evening, some with families in tow, for the “Night of Honor” awards ceremony and banquet.
The words “Thank you for your service” scrolled across the video crawl around the upper deck of the stadium, less than a mile from where a gunman killed five policemen patrolling a downtown protest.
Interim Police Chief David Pughes addressed the crowd, but the families of the fallen and the heroes who survived that night were the guests of honor.
Before his speech, Pughes couldn’t think of a word to describe officers’ actions as they rushed headlong into gunfire. “Bravery” and “courage” don’t do it justice, he said.
“What would possess an officer to be that valiant?” Pughes said. “I struggled and realized there were no words that describe your actions that evening. Your actions speak for themselves.”
Pughes noted that the killer still had 80 rounds of ammunition when he died.
“Think about what you did that night to prevent the worst outcome,” the chief said. “Each and every one of you did that. God called all of us to be Dallas police officers, and I am extremely proud.”
Fourteen officers were awarded the department’s Medal of Honor, joining just 28 others who have received the award since it was established in 1952. There were also 37 Medals of Valor awarded and 57 Meritorious Conduct awards.
Among the officers awarded the Police Shield was Gretchen Rocha, a rookie cop who was hit with shrapnel during the ambush. Despite her wounds, she grabbed Krol off the street, pulling him into her squad car to rush him to the hospital.
Some of the officers in attendance wore a memorial on their chests: a new Dallas police badge featuring five stars for each of the men killed with their names engraved on the back.
Families of the fallen also received Police Crosses honoring their sacrifice.
A more traditional memorial was unveiled hours earlier, when the officers’ families joined community members for the dedication of the new “Dallas Circle of Heroes.”
The memorial, off the Trinity Strand Trail in the Stemmons Corridor, features six plaques mounted on stones that form a circle around a flagpole.
One plaque tells of the tragedy of the ambush. The other five name the four Dallas officers and one DART officer who were killed.
The memorial was donated by Mike Morgan and Jim Lake Jr., partners in the Jim Lake Co., a commercial real estate firm.
Dallas Assistant Chief Christina Smith said it was the perfect ceremony to begin the series of events that will commemorate the first anniversary of the July 7 shooting.
“This is not a DPD event,” she said. “This is somebody in the community that really wanted to do something for our officers. That’s what makes it so special to me.”
Smith added, “This shows how most of the community really feels about us: that they love us and support us.”
Morgan said the memorial is meant to be “all about the guys.”
“They’re individuals,” said Morgan, an Air Force veteran. “Once that uniform comes off, they’re no different than you and I. And people need more of that. Just because he has a gun strapped on, he still has the same heart, the same mental capacities and everything that you and I do. But his profession is serving us.”
The morning ceremony included music from the Dallas Police Choir, remarks from Pughes and DART Police Chief James Spiller, and an invocation from Dallas police chaplain Rayford Butler.
Valerie Zamarripa, mother of Patrick Zamarripa, attended the ceremony and said it was “truly an honor.”
“I hate that we’re here for this and that it had to be done for them. But hopefully, as a circle, maybe we can get some peace and unity in the communities — both Dallas and Fort Worth and all around the country. That’s what we need now,” she said.
“We need to quit fighting and hating and just being ugly toward each other. Have respect for one another. Let’s try to love each other. No matter who you are, what you are.”
Zamarripa likes that the memorial is right off the trail, and said she thinks people will take the time to stop and read about the officers as they pass by.
The symbolism of the circular memorial spoke to both Zamarripa and Smith, the deputy chief.
To Smith, the circle means that “we are never-ending.”
“We are here to protect the citizens — protect the city of Dallas — and there is no break in us,” she said. “We are a circle. We are a family. And that’s what that symbolizes for me.”