HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - On Wednesday evening, the community gathered to honor the 22 Madison County lives lost in the line of duty since 1880.
"Each day when these officers look in the mirror and strap armor around their body I know what goes through their mind. 'Today could be the day,'" Assistant District Attorney Tim Gann said.
Relatives placed a flower to a cross in front of the Fallen Officers Memorial, as their name was read out to the crowd. Many there were honoring distant relatives, but for others the memories are still fresh.
Cameron Freeman`s father, Officer Eric Freeman, was shot and killed while responding to a traffic incident in 2007.
"My father's the last name on that list and we hope it will stay that way," said Cameron.
For these families, the show of support is much-needed, especially now.
"I'd like to thank you for being here at this particular time in history," said Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris, as he addressed the crowd. "To openly show support for your police officers in a time when the police profession is facing increased scrutiny. It seems to be more popular than showing support or appreciation for the job police officers do."
The service also served to remind all officers' families why their loved ones choose to step out every day to an uncertain future.
"It`s a calling. It`s a calling that burns so deep it reaches your soul, ingrains itself," said an impassioned Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey. "It`s a calling to serve, help the helpless. To be there in a time when nobody else will. To do what needs to be done when other’s look the other way."
The ceremony closed with a candlelight vigil.
No officers have been killed in the line of duty in Madison County since 2007. Four officers died in the past year in Alabama, 127 nationwide.
Madison County Fallen Officers, 1880 - 2007
- US Marshal John B. Hardie
- Officer William B. Street
- Deputy Tim Anderson
- Constable W.A. Russell, JR
- Officer Frank McKissack
- Deputy R. Hugh Craft
- Deputy James C. Drake
- Deputy William T. McMinn
- Officer Euell B. Starr
- Officer Alan S. Logel, JR
- Officer Emmett C. Bright
- Officer Charles E. Drake, JR
- Officer Preston R. Butler
- Officer William T. Gaskin
- Deputy Kenneth J. McDonald
- Officer Billy F. Clardy, JR
- Deputy Thomas R. Lewis
- Deputy Billy J. Thrower
- Trooper Willis V. Moore
- Deputy Haskel G. McLane
- Officer Daniel H. Golden
- Officer William Eric Freeman