PUBLISHED July 7, 2017 | News
DALLAS — Back the Blue is an understatement.
One year after five officers were killed, in what historians are calling the deadliest attack on law enforcement in the United States since September 11th, the mood is still somber.
“We wanted the ceremony tonight to be a very positive,” said Interim Dallas Police Chief David Pughes in ‘Night of Honor Awards Ceremony’ Thursday night, “uplifting night for everyone involved, but we understand the reality of why we`re here, and what you went through.”
The event on the eve of the anniversary when five officers were slain kicked off the events to remember those lost.
It was meant to award medals of honor to Senior Corporal Loren Ahrens, Officer Michael Krol, Sgt. Michael Smith, Officer Patrick Zamarripa and Dart Officer Brent Thompson, and their families.
“Without your actions, that night,” says Chief Pughes, “it would have been, it would have been even more tragic and horrific than it was. The suspect died and still had 80 rounds of ammunition.”
July 7th of 2016, Micah X. Johnson not only killed those men but injured 9 others during a Black Lives Matter march.
One year later people across the country, across the state, and across Dallas are showing their support. “You gotta honor the Dallas Five, I mean it was terrible, that`s it,” says one many who laid flowers at the Dallas Police Department Friday.
The officers ran towards the gunshots, and quite literally shed their blood, sweat, and tears to save others.
So, in a small token of remembrance, Dallas residents are giving their blood.
“To give blood to someone else you`re giving life,” says Linda Goelzer with Carter BloodCare, “so on a day that we remember the loss of life, we can also give life.”
Across town, red isn`t seen in blood, but in paint. The Creative Arts Center of Dallas had a live mural painting project to give people a different way to pay their respects.
“It`s important that we show our respect,” says one of the mural designers, Katrina Doran, “and art has a way of expressing, or giving us an opportunity to express what we don`t have words for and certainly in this type of tragedy there are no words.”
Retired Police Chief David Brown also flew in for the unveiling of two ‘Kids & Cops’ basketball courts at Kiest Park, meant to help bridge the gap between the community and police department.
“We just want to honor them, for what they meant to our community,” says Nancy Lieberman with Nancy Lieberman Charities. “Sports is a great equalizer in life and we`re trying to bring people together.”
El Centro College, where Johnson holed up after his shooting spree and was later killed, also joined the discussion on making that gap smaller, by holding a renewal and resilience commemorative ceremony focused on community building.
And as we remember the fallen officers in Dallas, in our home, we still keep in mind those in law enforcement who have lost their lives outside of the DFW area.
To pay tribute to some of those officers, the Dallas Police Association is offering support to a New York City non-profit that helps families of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty, this after the recent murder of an officer in New York.
At the end of the day, each day, there`s only one thing left to say.
“I want to thank you,” says Chief Pughes, “I want to thank you for what you do, and I want to thank you for allowing me to wear the same uniform, thank you.”