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Remembering July 7: A New Memorial Honors Fallen Dallas Officers

Folks who loved and worked with the five police officers killed last July 7 gathered Thursday to dedicate a memorial called the Circle of Heroes. Its six bronze plaques are mounted on stones that surround a flagpole. It's a place for people to stop along the Trinity Strand Trail in the Dallas Design District and remember.

Designed and funded by Dallas real estate developers, the memorial has a plaque for each fallen officer, with language aiming to show them not just as police, but as people.

Credit Christopher Connelly / KERA News
The family of Ofc. Patrick Zamarripa, who was killed in the July 7 attack. The families of the victims were honored with flags at the unveiling ceremony. Zamarripa's daughter, Lyncoln, holds onto her family's.

  DART Police Chief James Spiller said officers attend events like these with mixed emotions. They miss their colleagues and yet, feel grateful for the community's support.

“We struggle some days to work through our emotions, and still ask why,” Spiller said. “But, we continue to because we know that that’s what our fallen brothers and their friends and families expect us to do.”

Albert Martinez is a deputy chief of the Dallas Police Department. He called on the gathered families, friends and colleagues to focus not on the attack but on the lives the men lived.

“Remember their imperfections, their silliness, their joy, their love,” Martinez told them. “Even remember their moments of frustration and disappointments – those very qualities that made them human beings, those very qualities that made them police officers.”

Martinez called the memorial a vibrant, palpable example of the community's good will.

Christopher Connelly is a reporter covering issues related to financial instability and poverty for KERA’s One Crisis Away series. In 2015, he joined KERA to report on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. From Fort Worth, he also focused on politics and criminal justice stories.