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RCC honors fallen law enforcement officers during memorial

In the 32nd Annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service held at Robeson Community College, many came to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Today we celebrate and remember the precious price our officers and those who serve and protect us have paid,” stated Dr. Johnny Smith, the vice president of instruction and student services.  

With a 21-gun salute and the Presentation of Colors by the Robeson County Honor Guard, and the singing of the National Anthem by RCC Graduate Mariah Graham, the ceremony honored the fallen law enforcement officers who left home for their shifts, never to return.

“The last act of those officers was to fully protect the citizens of Robeson County,” stated Matt Scott, the guest speaker of the event who serves as the district attorney for Robeson County. “They paid the ultimate sacrifice; their names are etched in stone but their memories are forever etched on our hearts.”

As Scott stated during his speech, this week is celebrated as National Police Week, a time to honor those serving and those who have lost their lives in-service.

“It comes about a time this year in a solemn occasion because of what we experienced two weeks ago in Charlotte, with the loss of four law enforcement officers who lost their lives just doing their jobs,” Scott said. “Twenty-two officers in the month of April, have lost their lives in-service across this country, just one in month…It is harder now than it has ever been to be a law enforcement officer.”

“Law enforcement is under a constant microscope,” Scott said. “You are expected to do more with less.”

“We are blessed to have those here with us who are striving to keep us safe,” Scott said. “At every turn, it seems like there is growing chaos and you are on the frontlines… underpaid… understaffed…. Thank you, thank you for all that you are doing…. It is a calling and you are doing God’s work.”

As the names of those killed in the line of duty were read, you could hear the wiping away of tears by family members that were present, showing the pain of the past is still present today.

“We read the names to keep their memory alive,” stated Bruce Meares, the association president and one of the organizers of the event. “Please stop and think about the families of those names read aloud.”

“These officers took an oath to the office they served,” Meares said. “May their legacy of honor, bravery, and commitment, inspire us.”  

The event featured bagpipe melodies to the tune of ‘Taps’ and ‘Amazing Grace,’ by Tobias Epps with the Lumberton Fire Department, and an invocation and benediction by Chief Paul McDowell (ret.) Chaplin.

 

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