Last month, a gunman ambushed a group of police officers in Dallas, Texas. He opened fire on the group and ultimately killed five policemen. Nine other were injured, as well as a couple of civilians at the scene.
Immediately after the shooting, messages and demonstrations of support for the slain men and their families began to pour in. Vigils were held in Dallas and elsewhere in Texas, as attendees help blue glow sticks in support of the fallen.
President Obama issued a statement to the country, in which he pleaded for peace, unity and understanding. Flags around the nation were lowered to half-staff for a week. The president and other officials also attended the memorial service in Dallas on July 12. Her recognized the sorrow people must be feeling, but said that sorrow can help make our country better if we fight for justice.
President George W. Bush also spoke at the memorial service. He and former First Lady Barbara Bush are Texas natives and Dallas residents. “Those of us who love Dallas and call it home have had five deaths in the family,” Prsident Bush said.
Some organizations and individuals with seemingly no connection to the tragedy went above ad beyond to show their support for the fallen Dallas officers. Melaleuca.com, for example, bathed its global headquarters in Idaho Falls, Idaho, in blue light for an entire week. Melaleuca wanted those passing by at night to know it grieved for the fallen officers in Dallas and supported its local law enforcement, as well as officers throughout the country.
The Dallas Police Department has also set up a memorial page where online visitors can go and learn more about the men who lost their lives: DPD Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, 48; DPD Officer Michael Krol, 40; DPD Sgt. Michael Smith, 55; DART Officer Brent Thompson, 43; and DPD Officer Patrick Zamarripa, 32.
Public schools across Texas took time in the days following the shooting to hold memorials and vigils, and to talk with their students about their feelings surrounding the shooting. Many students in Texas have family members of their own serving in blue uniforms.
Downtown Dallas has dealt with high-profile shootings in the past—none more infamous than the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. In both cases, the nation mourned with the people of Dallas.
While some may fixate on the motive of the shooter, or the cultural and political atmosphere in which the tragedy occurred, it’s better to remember the individuals who lost their lives, grieve alongside their loved ones, and do our part to make the world around us a better, more peaceful place.