Several hundred people filled Thanks-Giving Square in downtown Dallas on Friday for an interfaith service hosted by dozens of clergy.
A rabbi spoke, then an imam, a Methodist and a Baptist. A dozen uniformed police looked on, wearing black bars over their badges in honor of their fallen comrades.
Mayor Mike Rawlings reminded the crowd when the square was erected: in 1964, a year after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated here, a bloody legacy that would haunt the city for decades.
In recent weeks, people gathered in the square to mourn victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. Earlier in June, they marked the one-year anniversary of the massacre at a church in Charleston, S.C., he said.
But he insisted that the officers did not die in vain. "I believe this city will be better and see better days because the lives that were lost last night,” he said.
Looking on, Dallas Police Senior Cpl. Debra Webb was moved to tears, not just by the service, but also by the people lining up to thank her and shake her hand, the one on which she wore a blue “Pray for police” bracelet.
“It means a lot to us, to hear it from everybody,” Webb said.
“That’s part of what’s so upsetting to us,” she said, to be attacked when “you’re out there doing your job, helping people express themselves.”
Webb, 31, has worked for the department for eight years in communications, and spent Thursday at hospitals, gathering and sharing information about the injured and the dead.
With the investigation ongoing Friday, Webb said, “We’re still in reaction mode, trying to do what we do to keep the city protected. I’m not sure what to expect right now.”