Deer Lodge honors 129 fallen Montana peace officers
DEER LODGE, Mont. - Communities around the United States and Montana honored fallen police officers Thursday. The American flag flew at half staff at Deer Lodge's peace officer memorial service. Deer Lodge Chorale singers sang in honor of 129 Montana peace officers killed in the line of duty. "It's an amazing opportunity to just show our respect and our support and admiration for law enforcement," said Chorale singer Elizabeth Cozby. Deer Lodge residents said Deer Lodge is a small city and many residents know law enforcement officers personally. "It's like being in a small family," explained Chorale singer April Kersch. Museum and Arts Foundation board member John O'Donnell said the city is honoring all fallen peace officers and emergency workers. "From fish and game, to city police officers to firefighters, highway patrolmen, sheriffs and city police," he listed. During the memorial, an honor guard presented colors, the prison's pastor gave an invocation and the mayor spoke. "To remember, recognize and honor people who have fallen in the line of duty and people who protect and serve everyday," said O'Donnell. Those who protect and serve every day appreciate the gesture. "It's always very moving for me," said Deer Lodge Police Department Assistant Chief Gary Bender. "It could be any of us at any given time." Bender said it's important to honor this day and appreciate those who died to protect their community. "We're very lucky in this county to have the law enforcement that we do they're all good men and women, they're family," said Bender.