Moving Memorial Helps Fallen Officers’ Families Move Forward

Moving Memorial Helps Fallen Officers' Families Move Forward (Image 1)

“May we never forget what these officers did for this city, this country, this world,” words of prayer from Atlanta's police chaplain.

Five year old William Smiley will never forget the sacrifice his father made.  And now neither will anyone who sees his name on a moving memorial.

Peeling back the tape for all to see gives the Smiley family support.

“At the end of the day after school is done, homework is done, and dinner is done, and we're getting ready for bed and prayer time, it feels good to let them know others are with us, others do care, we're not alone,” says Smiley's Widow, Terra Smiley.

She's right; they aren't alone.  They've joined the families of the 688 names on this wall.

“It's 688 stories, JD Paugh is one of those, and today Officer Smiley,” says Ed Christian who organizes the memorial's rides.

Today three Atlanta officers were added to the Georgia Law Enforcement Memorial.

“This is not about the city of Atlanta, it's about law enforcement around the state,” says Atlanta Police Chief George Thomas.  “We are truly a brotherhood of law enforcement that protects lives in this state, and it's important we never forget any of those officers.”

Those families scattered across the state are building a bigger one.

“We're a family now,” Terra Smiley says of all the officers' families.  “It's unfortunate we meet this way, but I feel a sense of family.”

The Smileys will be welcomed with open arms.

“So many people come up and say, 'I can't imagine what you're going through,'” says Bobby Paugh, fallen Officer JD Paugh's brother, “but I can go to the Smiley family and say 'I know what you're going through, and you're going to be okay.'”

In two weeks, they'll meet in Atlanta, but until then, even when these flags are folded and the wall moves on they will have support.

“It doesn't stop there,” says Paugh.  “These people still care and still remember.”

And who knows how many lives it may touch along the way.

“Just to pull into a gas station, and have someone come up and say, 'Hey that's my brother,' and know that someone still remembers their loved one makes it worthwhile,” says Christian.

Even without the honor guard and fanfare, a simple sighting is a reminder of all the lives lost in the line of duty.

If you want to see the memorial and support these families, particularly that of JD Paugh, there is a Memorial Ride on Saturday April 20th, starting at Wild Wing Cafe on Washington Road at 10 AM.  The motorcycle ride departs at 1 PM.

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