About 200 people gathered Friday evening for a public memorial ceremony outside Dallas City Hall to the five police officers who were killed in an ambush attack one year prior.
Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions and Interim Dallas Police Chief David Pughes were among the speakers who reflected on the night when gunfire erupted following a peaceful protest and march downtown.
On behalf of Mayor Mike Rawlings and the Dallas City Council, Caraway read a proclamation declaring Friday as Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Day.
The crowd came to pay tribute and say thank you to the five officers who gave their lives for the city — Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, Officer Michael Krol, Sgt. Michael Smith, Officer Patrick Zamarripa and Officer Brent Thompson. They also gathered to honor the families and to make them a solemn promise that their loved ones wouldn't be forgotten.
The Fallen Officers Memorial near City Hall will be a reminder of the sacrifices made that night.
Family members of slain officers sat in chairs in front of the crowd, with officers standing behind them.
A separate, private service was held at the DART Police Department in memory of Officer Thompson.
The services are part of the tributes called "Weekend of Honor" for those killed in the deadliest incident involving American law enforcement since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
The commemoration continues on Saturday, with the "Value of a Life Festival." The event will start at 6:30 a.m. with a 5K "Run for the Blue" at Trinity Groves.
Race entry is free, though participants will have the option to make a donation during registration that will go to the families of slain and injured police officers.
At 10 a.m., a motorcycle ride will make its way down to the Southwest Center Mall.
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At the same time, officers and community members will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the longest chain of people making a heart shape with their hands. That will also take place at Southwest Center Mall. You are asked to register prior to arrival.
The weekend will conclude Sunday with a "Lifetime Achievement Reception" at Fair Park. The event will recognize officers from across the country who were killed in the line of duty over the past year as well as officers who have gone above and beyond to gain the public's trust.
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Friday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered law enforcement agencies across the state to illuminate their light bars at 10 a.m. in honor of Texas peace officers.
At 11 a.m. at El Centro College, which was the scene of the July 7 attack and ensuing standoff with the lone gunman in the shooting, the school held a Renewal and Resilience Commemorative Ceremony.
"The program will focus on renewal and how we should reflect on the importance of community building, following last year's tragic event," El Centro College president Dr. Jose Adames said. "As we acknowledge the loss of five police officers and the many who were wounded — including Cpl. Bryan Shaw and Officer John Abbott from El Centro College — plus those who responded, we also want to honor the resilience of those officers, our college and our community."
The Dallas Police Department released a statement on its web blog titled, "July 7th — One Year Later:
One year ago today, the brave men and women of the Dallas Police Department unknowingly embarked on what is globally known as the greatest loss of life in law enforcement since September 11, 2001. We were ambushed on our own streets and the City of Dallas lost five officers. Those remaining placed themselves and their emotions aside and fought the good fight until the threat was overcome.
Every day, but especially today, we remember the men who sacrificed their lives for the safety of the citizens of Dallas, the men who left behind their loved ones to protect people they did not even know.
Though we mourn, we will continue to serve the citizens and provide a safe environment for the City of Dallas. We recognize that we could not have made it through this year without the unwavering support from not only the citizens of Dallas, but from citizens the world over.