Coronavirus pandemic concerns might have led to a smaller gathering but they were unable to fully shut down area law enforcement officers’ desires to pay respect to their fallen comrades.
Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke on Friday hosted a brief ceremony in honor of National Peace Officers Memorial Day in Seguin. It nearly didn’t happen, but Zwicke said he couldn’t bare letting the day pass without paying respects.
“I wrestled with it,” the sheriff said of his contemplation of canceling this year’s gathering altogether.
He thought it okay to have a small gathering of a representative or two from each of the county’s law enforcement agencies in attendance, as well as other county officials and employees, Zwicke said. The peace officers deal with COVID-19 issues regularly and could gather for a brief moment to pay homage to others who have died in the line of duty, he said.
On Friday morning, Zwicke stood in front of the Guadalupe County Law Enforcement Memorial outside the Guadalupe County Courthouse to remember the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice across the nation, Zwicke said.
The small group honored those individuals and their families for the commitment shown, he said.
In 2019, 135 peace officers were killed in the line of duty in the United States, Zwicke said. Texas, he said, led the nation with 18 of those line-of-duty fatalities.
So it was important to do something this year in all of their honor, Zwicke said. He asked for a little help and got it without hesitation.
“The sheriff asked me if I would be able to make the memorial wreath,” said Robin Villarreal, a paralegal in the Guadalupe County Attorney’s Office. “It’s an honor to be asked to make this. We work with these men and women every day so being here today is an honor.”
Earlier in the week, Seguin Police Chief Terry Nichols said he thought the annual memorial wouldn’t take place. He and his officers took part in smaller-than-normal events at the police department.
He was excited to represent his department as part of the gathering of colleagues memorializing the ones who died while serving, Nichols said.
“It’s a chance for us to honor local officers that have been lost over the years and show support during Police Memorial Week,” he said. “It’s nice they put something small together.”
The week started Sunday across the national, as it does every year during the week of May 15. Social distancing concerns and procedures still in place, showing respects was important to him, Zwicke said.
The fallen aren’t the only ones he set out to pay tribute to, he said.
“We are also here to give thanks to the men and women who continue to serve the citizens of Guadalupe County, the great state of Texas and this great nation, and to honor them for their dedication and commitment,” Zwicke said.