The Brownsville Police Department held an emotional ceremony Tuesday morning as they honored and remembered the fallen law enforcement officers as part of the 2021 National Police Week.

More than 100 mask-wearing attendees paid their respects standing up and in silence as slideshows of the fallen officers were shown on screens during the memorial ceremony.

The event started with a prayer, the raising of colors by the Police Color Guard and the singing of the national anthem by Lucia Alvarez as the attendees, which included law enforcement officers from all over the Rio Grande Valley, paid attention and some recorded with their smartphones.

“It is the cause that matters. We are here to celebrate our fallen heroes and it shows also the unity, the collaboration and the team effort that we’ve been able to harness throughout the Valley, our local and our county as well. We are very highly honored to be able to have them all present,” Police Chief Felix Sauceda said. “It is more about the cause and it gives us the ability to be able to truly celebrate our fallen heroes.”

The celebration continued with a proclamation by the City of Brownsville that designates May 15 as Law Enforcement Memorial Day and this week as Law Enforcement Memorial Week.

The proclamation was presented by Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez. City Commissioner Nurith Galonsky was also an attendee at the event.

“I know that today is about honoring our fallen heroes, but I would also like to thank a moment to honor all of you as well for your service and your dedication to our city,” Mendez said to the audience.

“Know that I support you now, and always. Whether I am mayor or not, you have my support. And, I cannot thank you enough for everything you do for us on a daily basis.”

Brownsville City Manager Noel Bernal also shared a few words with the audience and said there is no script that he can give to really express the gratitude he has to those who have given their lives for their communities.

“The selfless service is something that is hard to speak to. The best way to honor is to be here, to reflect amongst ourselves and to really think about what it is the men and women that wear the uniform are really asked to do,” he said.

“Just think about that for a moment, I want to challenge you all this morning, because, last year, and today as we stand here, is very different. If you look at the mask that we are wearing, there’s more to what meets the eye. The challenges that public safety faces today only grow, it challenges us as a community, as an organization … to really look at and examine ways to better provide and better support our law enforcement.”

Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz gave an emotional speech as he shared how his uncle, who was a sheriff for more than 25 years, was ambushed and killed in his own home during a cold day of January in 1991 by two men that he, had arrested. Saenz said unfortunately there are many stories like that one and each one is devastating.

“As I stood out there in the crowd waiting for my turn, I was looking at the screens where they’re showing the fallen. And, each one of those pictures is more than a picture, each one of those faces is more than a face. On that particular day, some wife, some mother, some brother, some sister, got a knock on the door, got a phone call, and where advised that their loved one had been killed in the line of duty,” he said.

“That’s why we are here today. There are many stories, and, unfortunately each one of those is true, and each one of those is devastating.”

The memorial ceremony continued with the “Table For One” a long-standing tradition of honor that symbolizes the fact that members of the law enforcement profession are missing from the event, the laying of wreath, a moment of silence, the 21 gun salute and the tribute of lights and sirens.

nreyna@brownsvilleherald.com