EDITORIAL: Honoring the living, remembering the fallen

May. 08, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

A special ceremony — paying tribute to those who gave their lives in the line of duty, was held yesterday at Village Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

The the 2013 North Carolina Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony recognized the following seven individuals who have died in the line of duty since last year’s event:

* Jeffrey Lynn “Jeff” Settle, North Carolina Department of Corrections — Division of Community Corrections;

• William Wright, North Carolina Department of Public Safety - Division of Adult Correction;

• Dewayne Charles Hester, Bladen County Sheriff’s Office;

• Jeremiah M. Goodson Jr., Lumberton Police Department;

• William Mast Jr., Watauga County Sheriff’s Office;

• Bobby Gene Demuth Jr., North Carolina Highway Patrol; and

• Randall “Shane” Thomas, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office.

The list of North Carolina’s fallen offiers dates back to 1892 and includes some who have served in the Central Carolina area. Among those on that list are William Pross Page (1924), Aberdeen Police Department; Joseph C. Kelly (1929), Southern Pines Police Department; Jasper Addison Gargis (1939), Southern Pines Police Department; Fleet Martin Underwood (1940), Dunn Police Department; Shellie Wayne Moxley (1946), Robbins Police Department; Bernice M. Cameron (1953), Carthage Police Department; J.T. Brown (1957), N.C. Highway Patrol; Julian Lee Powers Jr. (1959), Lee County Sheriff’s Office; H.T. Long (1959), N.C. Highway Patrol; Charles Edwin Newton (1961), Southern Pines Police Department; H.A. Hight (1962), N.C. Highway Patrol; Leonard Meeks Jr. (1972), N.C.Highway Patrol; Charles Edward Harris (1991), Southern Pines Police Department; John Fitzgerald Strickland (2003), Harnett County Sheriff’s Office; Elieser “Eli” Colonroche (2011), Sanford Police Department; and Richard Rhyne (2011), Moore County Sheriff’s Office.

Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed May 5-11 Law Enforcement Officers Week in North Carolina. McCrory notes in his proclamation, “members of law enforcement recognize their duty to serve the people of North Carolina by safeguarding life and property, by protecting them against violence and disorder, and by protecting the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression or intimidation,” and that “throughout the year, the State of North Carolina recognizes and appreciates the critical contributions and sacrifices made by members of law enforcement at all levels, and honors their courage and dedication.”

This week, we remember those law enforcement officers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty ... and we salute our current law enforcement officers who unselfishly go about their duties in protecting the public. We are grateful for their dedication.