DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It has been one year since police were attacked by a shooter in downtown Dallas, and the pain is still felt by many officers. “Nothing stopped. We not only increased our pace, but our sense of urgency was also heightened as a result,” said Sgt. Willie Ford. “We really haven’t had an opportunity to properly process what occurred.”
Hopefully, that can change on Friday night and through the weekend.
A series of events have been planned as a way of bringing people together. The ‘Weekend of Honor’ will look back on the tragic events of that July night, remembering the five lives that were lost and honoring those who persevered. The weekend has been organized by Dallas officers, including Ford. He is the CEO of the Officer Down Foundation.
“We want to celebrate the lives of the people that were involved in July 7, not only heroes that we lost, the heroes that actually performed magnificently during the event,” Ford said on Friday. “That includes the paramedics, the hospital, officers, citizens that helped us… so tonight’s going to be kind of special.”
The events include a 6:30 p.m. memorial at Dallas City Hall. “I think the atmosphere is going to be, in the beginning, it’s going to be kind of hard for some of the officers and the community,” added Ford. But, along with remembering those who died that night, he wants to acknowledge those who survived.
“I don’t just necessarily mean the officers, but the community as a whole,” Ford said, “because everybody was impacted.”
Weekend events continue on Saturday with the Value of Life Festival, the Run for the Blue, and even an attempt at breaking a Guinness Book of World Records mark for the longest chain of people making heart-shaped hand gestures. Sunday will see an award ceremony at Fair Park.
Plans for these events began in the fall. “We knew it would be a significant year for not only the Dallas Police Department, but the community,” said Ford. “And we wanted community involvement. They showed us so much love and appreciation during the tragedy last year, we wanted to make sure we included the community this year, because that how we survived. That’s how the Dallas Police Department survived the tragedy, with the community’s help.”
Many people will be wearing blue clothes throughout the weekend, and downtown Dallas buildings will be lit up in blue lights on Saturday night. The lights will then turn to olive green for the following six days, as a symbol of peace. However, said Ford, the most important part is, “I know, as a group, we’ll all be here together.”