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By Samantha J. Gross The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — As white balloons bearing messages to fallen officers rose into the sky above Dallas police headquarters Friday, Chief U. Renee Hall read them aloud.

“You are loved. You are missed. You are remembered.”

Ceremony outside of Dallas Police Headquarters honoring five officers killed in 7/7 police ambush. More tonight on @NBCDFW pic.twitter.com/B3MuXU8y3B

— Lexie Houghtaling (@LexieNBC5) July 6, 2018

Nearly 200 family members, friends, elected officials and community members gathered in remembrance of the officers who died in the July 7, 2016, ambush in downtown Dallas.

The event, held a day before the attack’s second anniversary, honored Dallas officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith and Patrick Zamarripa, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer Brent Thompson.

Also honored were the other officers and two civilians wounded in the ambush, and Officer Rogelio Santander, who was killed in the line of duty April 25 while responding to a shoplifting call at a Lake Highlands Home Depot.

The ceremony began with prayers from Dallas Police Department chaplain Rayford Butler, pastor Andy Stoker, Cantor Emeritus Don Alan Croll and the Rev. Yvette Blair-Lavallais.

Heads bowed in prayer at @DallasPD memorial for the five officers who lost their lives in a Dallas ambush two years ago tomorrow. #neverforget pic.twitter.com/c6sDT9JXFz

— Teresa Woodard (@twoodard8) July 6, 2018

Hall spoke about the legacy the officers left behind and said the community must continue to honor their memory.

“July 7, 2016, stands as one of the deadliest events in law enforcement history. It was also this community’s finest hour,” she said. “The brave men and women of the Dallas Police Department faced adversity and became the beacon of courage and public service to all law enforcement officers across this country.

In an interview after the event, Hall said the ceremony was a chance to reflect on what made the officers’ lives special. She said a physical memorial is being constructed to honor the officers’ legacy with the department.

Balloons are released as each name is called. pic.twitter.com/lzSsdiA75V

— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) July 6, 2018

“We are always trying to remember them and try to keep their legacy alive,” she said. “Not always remembering the tragedy, but the good parts of who they are.”

At the end of the ceremony, officers and community members observed a moment of silence. As family members released their balloons while their loved one’s name was called, Hall spoke to the crowd.

“Let it be a reminder of their souls, looking down upon us and asking that we no longer mourn their passing,” she said. “Let us remember the joy they brought to our lives.”

Please take a moment to view the video from today’s memorial ceremony. pic.twitter.com/42S5mi1yY5

— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) July 6, 2018

©2018 The Dallas Morning News

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