SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Department continues to keep alive the memories of 59 fallen officers as fellow officers, family members and friends gathered Friday under gloomy skies outside the Police Academy to honor them.
"Their lives weren't lost. Their lives were taken in the line of duty," said Police Chief William McManus. "So this is a somber day. This is a somber occasion."
McManus said while the memories of the losses are painful, they're memories no one can afford to forget.
Relatives of the department's latest officer to die in the line of duty, Officer Miguel Moreno, added a pin in his honor to a memorial flag. Moreno was shot to death in June while investigating a car burglary.
Family members of many of the other officers being honored left flowers next to a stone memorial that has the names of the officers engraved.
Some stopped briefly to hug or shake hands with McManus.
"It's a club you don't want to be in," McManus said. "But the people who happen to be in it are very, very tight with the SAPD family."
State Sen. Jose Menendez addressed the crowd, offering words of comfort to relatives and reminding them they're not alone in their grief.
"I know there aren't any words that I can provide consolation for you as we remember the loss of your loved ones," Menendez said. "But I want you to know that we mourn as a city with you."
The annual ceremony is held in May in conjunction with a nationwide observance.
May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day, which is marked during National Police Week.