The annual Dallas Police Memorial service had a special touch Wednesday thanks to a North Texas elementary school choir and their director.
Victor Lozada Jr. and the Blanton Elementary Squire choir sang the song "Hero" by Mariah Carey for the crowd of hundreds at the event in downtown Dallas. The Lantana/Argyle choir director picked the song to honor all of the DPD's 80 fallen police officers, but most of all one of them that's very close to Lozada's heart.
"He was a great man," said Lozada, looking at the name "Victor Lozada Sr." etched in the memorial near Dallas City Hall.
The older Lozada was an officer with the Dallas Police Department for most of his son's life.
Victor Lozada, Jr. recalls his father as a dedicated police officer who helped children with programs like "Life" and "Low-rider" for many years before moving into motors.
"That was by far his favorite," said Lozada, adding his father had an affinity for motorcycles. However, in February 2008 that position would cost him his life.
"That day he was escorting Hillary Clinton he was performing a leap frog maneuver and it did not go well," said Lozada. "It feels like yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time."
Victor Lozada Sr. died at age 49. Since then his son and his family have kept in contact with the Dallas Police and used that support to get through their loss.
So when the idea of Victor Lozada Jr.'s choir performing at the memorial came up, he says it was an instant yes from all sides including the 4th and 5th graders that make up the choir.
"The children immediately when I told they said, 'oh my goodness, this is a big deal,' and they were so excited," he said.
The choir practiced their song for more than two months hoping to perfect it for the memorial.
By the time the students arrived Wednesday and met some of the police officers, Victor Lozada Jr. says it was clear things took on a new meaning for them.
"Here it's coming to life for them," he said. "They want to stand and salute just like the officers would and I think we might have some future law enforcement after this experience."
The choir even got to march into the ceremony with the uniformed officers from the DPD, and when they sang for the fallen officers you could see tears in the eyes of several in the crowd.
"This is a very special day," said Blanton student Alex Strange.
"This is our way of giving back to them because this is our music that we can give to them and show them our appreciation," said Lozada.
The day was filled with appreciation.
The DPD choir also sang before they held the traditional playing of "Taps" and "Amazing Grace," the 21-gun salute, and had a chopper fly over the memorial.
"We cry with you, we bleed with you, we'll always remember you as part of this Dallas Police Department family," said Chief David Brown.
While many of the students say the experience really changed their perspective, they say they accomplished one goal they all set out with.
"We were singing for him (Lozada) and his father so that kind of made it special for us," said student Isabella Stinson.
Victor Lozada, Jr. teared up as his father’s name was read before the crowd and as he exchanged hugs with the other officers after the event.
"My father was a great man," he said.
After the event the Blanton choir also handed out special bracelets to the police officers made by the children of other fallen officers.
The Dallas PD says one shining moment from this year's ceremony is that they didn’t have to add any names to the list of the fallen in the past year.