Every year in the month of May, the Coral Gables Police Department remembers our beloved brothers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
This emotional ceremony has a special meaning to any police officer. It reminds us of the sacrifice of others to make Coral Gables a safer community. It also puts everything into perspective, knowing that our jobs as law enforcement officers is a very dangerous one, now more than ever, and that we should always kiss our loved ones goodbye before we head off to work.
We have lost several police heroes in Coral Gables: Police Officer Robert Harry Bonnet (age 47); Sergeant Alfred William Terrinoni (38); Police Officer Louis Pena (42); Police Officer Robert Peter DeKorte (45); Police Officer Walter Franklin Stathers (45); Police Officer Billy Howard Stephens (26); Constable Luther T. Hardison (55); Officer Homer Collins Barton (37), and Sergeant Francis Cyril Guest (41). They all were too young at the end of their watch. Now, we pay tribute to their memories and their courage to serve and protect with sacrifice and honor.
As is customary, a 21-gun salute at Merrick Park, across from City Hall, will be part of our Police Memorial Service in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate price to protect us. We will salute and console their families because we know the heartache of losing or growing up without a husband, a father, a son or a brother. And we will let them know that not a day goes by without the Coral Gables Police Department remembering how special they were as police officers.
It is not how these officers died that made them heroes; it is how they lived with honor that made them unforgettable.
To all the men and women of the Coral Gables Police force, the Police Memorial tradition is a solemn occasion. It is a day to remember why we chose to become law enforcement officers, not for fame or riches, but for the love of public safety where we get to protect a community we all love.
It is when we all stand together as part of the Coral Gables family to ensure that the memories of our eight brothers will never fade.
In memory of our finest heroes, I salute them.