The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

May 15, 2014

Remembering fallen heroes: Peace officers and their families saluted in annual event

By GRACE GADDY
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE —

The sacred voice of a bugle in “Taps” — crisp, light, like the afternoon breeze — rose and fell on the ears of those standing at the corner of Avenue A and West Oak Street in Palestine Thursday, the site of the local peace officers' memorial.

“Today we are here to honor those who paid the ultimate price to protect us from the evils of society,” Sheriff Greg Taylor said, referencing the memorial.

“We want to remember the eight brave officers that are on our wall: John Rogers, deputy sheriff, 1883; James Stafford, deputy sheriff, 1899; Dave Pierce, constable, 1908; Floyd Cox, constable, 1930; James Glover Long, constable, 1935; Alvey Farris, constable, 1945; Gus Engeling, game warden, 1958; and Darrell Honea, deputy sheriff, 1985.”

The names were those of local officers, honored for Peace Officers Memorial Day in a ceremony hosted by the Anderson County Sheriff's Office. The annual event affords members of the public and of local law enforcement an opportunity to pay respects to those who have lost their lives while defending truth and justice — as well as those men and women still serving in the line of duty, who continue to put their lives on the line on a daily basis.

This year's ceremony included a welcome from Taylor, with Anderson County Court At-Law Judge Jeff Doran serving as guest speaker.

Doran spoke of an Anderson County rich in love, life and history, where people have grown up, gone to school, worked and raised their families.

“But there is another darker side to our community, and every other community in America; it is a world at war, it is a world of the night, under a cover of darkness,” he said. “It is a world without rules, without respect, and without appreciation for the beauty that is life. It is a world where no one is safe.”

This is the world members of law enforcement brave for the sake of preserving peace and justice, Doran said — “men and women who, in our service, gave the ultimate sacrifice surrendering their hopes, their dreams, their loves, their lives.

“They gave all of this, standing between the worlds of dark and light so that you and I and everyone else may live lives of peace,” he said.

Doran called out the officers “who every day put on a badge and gun, who walk away from the safety of their homes” to confront lawbreakers, respond to calls and insert themselves into dangerous situations for the sake of preserving peace. On that note, he honored their families as well — who are seldom mentioned, he added — but who also sacrifice so much in watching their loved ones walk out into this dark world each day.

In honor of these officers and their families, Vietnam Veterans Chapter No. 991 presented the colors and closing flag ceremony, followed by a prayer led by Michael Lumpkins and “Taps,” played by Bonnie Severn.

Frankston Police Chief Darren Goodman also led attendants in the singing of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

Refreshments were provided by Ann Coleman following the ceremony.