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Jackson officers remember fallen comrades
Members of the Jefferson High School Air Force ROTC team present colors Wednesday at the Jackson County Law Enforcement Memorial Service. - photo by Brandee Thomas

JEFFERSON — When most people walk out of their front door to go to work, they never think that they won’t live to retrace their steps at the end of the day.

But that thought crosses the minds of many law enforcement officials every day.

In honor of National Police Week, community members gathered at Living Word Church in Jefferson for the Jackson County Law Enforcement Memorial Service.

"We are here to honor those who died, so that others might live," said the Rev. Mark Mobley, Living Word pastor, during the ceremony.

"There is nothing we could say that could add to the honor of those who have sacrificed themselves, so that we can live free. That is truly a life well-lived."

Around 50 community members, including officers with various law enforcement agencies, attended the ceremony.

Representatives from the Pendergrass and Braselton police and the Jackson County sheriff’s departments lit candles in honor of the Jackson County law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

"In the United States, a police officer is killed every 53 hours," said Joe Wirthman, Jefferson police chief.

In 2008, a total of 133 officers were killed in the line of duty in the United States; seven of those deaths were in Georgia.

Although most people think of officers dying from gun shot wounds, Wirthman said officers have lost their lives from being struck by hit-and-run drivers, in car crashes and even suffering from a brain aneurysm while in the field.

The ceremony in Jefferson also included a 21-gun salute by the Memorial Honor Guard. "God Bless America" was also sang while members of the Jefferson High School Air Force JROTC team presented the colors.

National Police Week was created in 1962 by the U.S. Congress. It was established to pay special recognition to officers killed in the line of duty and falls each year during whatever week includes May 15.

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