Remembering Tragedy and Moving Forward

by Kiera Ford, volunteer contributor, Red Cross DFW

July 7, 2016 will henceforth be a day marking tragedy and pain in the hearts of the Dallas-Fort Worth community and those all across the nation. It will specifically be a day of reflection for those who attended the peaceful rally that ended in a deadly attack on police; and among those reflecting, is myself.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the shooting of five police officers in Dallas, we are reminded of and overwhelmed by the plethora of emotions that came about from the incident.

I was there that evening, walking alongside the police officers there to protect us, then I suddenly found myself running away from gunshots and experiencing unimaginable fear. There are times when it is still too hard to think about.

Being in the middle of this tragedy, I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t comprehend what had happened and I was having trouble processing. My first instinct was to contact the Red Cross who provided me with help in processing and comprehending what happened and what I went through. The disaster mental health counselors at the Red Cross were there to provide me with a shoulder to lean on so I could express my feelings and my thoughts.

Memorial outside Dallas Police Headquarters  – Photo: Kiera Ford

Not only was I able to get the help that I needed in processing such a difficult incident, but more importantly, I was also able to give back to my community. As a volunteer with the DFW chapter of the American Red Cross, I was able to offer community support through canteening at the Dallas Police Department’s headquarters where we offered water bottles, hugs and so much more to those visiting the memorial site. Though a bit apprehensive at first, volunteering felt like the least I could do. Being at the memorial site, seeing the love and compassion that people have for one another, reminded me that, even in times of unrelenting pain, we can get through it together.

Tragic events are never easy to understand, regardless of if you are directly or indirectly involved and I am very grateful to my Red Cross family for their love and support.

When tragedy strikes, and it will strike, I know that I can trust and count on the Red Cross to help the community in any way possible, even if it is just offering their presence and a warm hug. The journey toward finding a more peaceful time is still upon us and it is long and arduous, but I know we’ll get there. I thank the Red Cross for helping me out of a dark place, brought about from this tragedy. I thank them for allowing me to help others struck by the very same adversity.

As we remember what took place just one year ago, I ask that we take a moment to think of ways we can help our fellow neighbors, community, and nation. I ask that you find time to spread love and joy and happiness to those all around you. Lastly, I ask that you remember those fallen officers, those heroes who risked their lives so that people like myself might express themselves, and honor their memory through peace.

Forever in Memory: Officer Brent Thompson, Officer Patrick Zamarripa, Officer Michael Krol, Sergeant Michael Smith and Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens.

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