By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

PALESTINE – A  ceremony was held in honor of National Peace Officers Memorial Day on Tuesday, May 15 in front of the Peace Officers Monument in downtown Palestine.

Local law enforcement officials, military veterans and civilians gathered to pause in remembrance and show their gratitude for the officers who have lost their lives while working to preserve the safety of the communities for which they are responsible.

According to Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor, “a total of nearly 200 officers” were killed in the line of duty in 2017 and 2018.

“It’s an important thing for us to remember,” Sheriff Taylor said. “(It’s important for us to) honor the families and the memories of the fallen officers that have come before us.”

Taylor also took a few moments to address the officers attending the ceremony.

“I just want to implore you to please be safe,” he said. “Times are dangerous. Times are tough. They get tougher all the time.

“We can’t even eat lunch anymore and be off guard,” Sheriff Taylor pointed out. “So, please do not become complacent in your thoughts. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, please know that you might come under attack at any time.”

Taylor also encouraged the officers to be aware of how they are driving while on duty, citing this as another major reason for officers dying on the job.

“Pay attention to how you drive – how fast you drive; the purpose you’re driving for,” he said. “Get there alive.”

Captain Mark Harcrow of the Palestine Police Department also spoke to those in attendance.

“Throughout the years, the protection of the individual and the pursuit of justice has been the responsibility of our peace officers,” Captain Harcrow said. “Peace officers carry the trust of their fellow citizens in their daily efforts to provide a service so vital to our communities.”

As Harcrow pointed out, “thousands of officers” have sacrificed their lives in the fight to protect the well-being of those residing the communities they serve.

“We must never forget those that gave all for others,” he said. “We must never forget what the real heroes look like. We must never forget.”

Opening and closing prayers were provided by Michael Lumpkins. Presenting the United States flag, “Taps” and a three-round volley were the Vietnam Veterans-Dogwood Chapter No. 991. Frankston Police Chief Daren Goodman sang “Amazing Grace.”

Sarah Naron may be reached via email at snaron@messenger-news.com.