Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks at the Peace Officer Memorial Service

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Monday, May 07, 2007  •  Speech

Thank you, Chris [Hill]. Texas peace officers, friends and family of the deceased, fellow Texans: on this solemn day, we pause to remember 25 fallen officers, men and women who were killed in the line of duty. The officers we remember today made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives for their fellow man. They leave behind friends and loved ones, and a void that can never be filled because they can never be replaced.

To their loved ones I want to say this: as we share in your loss today, we cannot feel the enormity of what you feel. But our hearts are broken for you, and we pray to a God of comfort and hope that He may sustain you. We hope that with the passage of time, the pain would dull and the wonderful memories would always linger. We hope that the moments you shared, a wedding night or a graduation, a knowing smile or a hearty laugh, will live with you all your days. To remember them today is not merely to mourn them, but to celebrate their lives. There must be more than sorrow and mourning on these grounds, for they died as heroes, and more importantly, lived as heroes. Their lives were not lost in vain, but given up so that our dreams today may be realized tomorrow.

Both in times of war and peace, there exists a band of freedom fighters, men and women who protect lives and uphold justice within our borders at great risk to themselves. They are the men and women of law enforcement, our Texas Peace Officers. We are here today to remember not only those who have died defending our freedom, but also those who have given up life as they knew it, those who bear the scars of their sacrifice. I would ask that you would join me in recognizing those brave souls who are with us today.

As those who live in the Land of Freedom, we understand that freedom is never free. And in order for freedom to flourish, there must be some who are willing to pay the price for all. The honorable men and women of uniform who serve our state and our country answer to a higher calling. Our Lord taught us, “Greater love hath no man than this: than to lay down his life for his friends.” Every day that you put on the uniform, hug your children, and kiss your spouse “good-bye” could represent the last moment you will share with them, a stunning reality we are poignantly reminded of today.

To those 25 families here today who have endured such unimagined pain, we not only wish you God’s peace and solace, but we reaffirm our commitment to the vigorous pursuit of justice in memory of your fallen loved one. As we call the roll today, we remember men and women of selfless devotion, and we are all reminded that the freedom we enjoy – and all too often take for granted – comes at a tremendous price. These brave men and women paid that price, and though they are no longer by our sides, their goodness and love transcends these grounds. May all Texans be forever grateful, and may those who knew them and loved them find peace and joy in the midst of their sorrow. Thank you, and God bless you.

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