The families, friends and fellow colleagues of the Texas peace officers who gave their lives in the line of duty were comforted Monday with the promise that their loved ones’ memory and dedicated will not be forgotten.
“To all of the surviving family members who are here today, we say thank you,” Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush told the those who attended the ceremony that stretched from the State Capitol’s South Steps to the Great walk connecting the complex to downtown Austin. “We can’t know the burden you bear; but we do know the debt we owe to you.
“Your loved ones gave their last full measure for us. And we are eternally grateful.”
Land Commissioner George P. Bush
The ceremony, which occurs each spring in odd-numbered years, started with a parade of officers and honor guards from numerous law enforcement agencies across Texas. The names of the offices who died in service to their fellow Texans over the past two years were read allowed by state Rep. Allen Fletcher, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Emerging Issues in Law Enforcement.
As each name was read, an officer representing the fallen walked the steps to be recognized. Then, family members and their designees were presented with the Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation Medal of Honor.
POMF Medal of Honor
The ceremony capped a three-day tribute to the fallen. As always, CLEAT played a leading role in organizing the tributes.
CLEAT President Todd Harrison, an Austin Police sergeant who officiated at the ceremony, assured the family members of those whose names are now added to more than 1,900 others on the Peace Officers Memorial Monument on the Capitol grounds will remain in the hearts of all law enforcement offices in Texas.
Two years from now, when the next ceremony is scheduled, Harrison said that he hopes that not a single name will have to be read allowed and added to the monument. In Texas, which leads the nation in line-of-duty deaths, the chances that his wish will come true remain tragically slim.
State Rep. Larry Phillips, Chairman of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, reminded the audience that law enforcement officers count on the public’s support year-round.
“Let not this be the one occasion we do this,” Phillips said. Those assembled on behalf of the fallen “have got tougher days ahead. They are going to need our comfort and our care.”
CLEAT President Todd Harrison
The riderless horse
Part of the Honor Guard