Recent close call gives special meaning to Nacogdoches fallen of - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Recent close call gives special meaning to Nacogdoches fallen officer ceremony

A Nacogdoches County honorary gun salute. (Source: KTRE Staff) A Nacogdoches County honorary gun salute. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Ashley and Amanda (holding baby) Sitton were 5 years old and 9 months old, respectively, when their father Tom Sitton was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1996.  (Source: KTRE Staff) Ashley and Amanda (holding baby) Sitton were 5 years old and 9 months old, respectively, when their father Tom Sitton was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1996. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Remembrance of ten fallen officers in Nacogdoches County from 1871 to 1996 happened at the Fallen Peace Officers Memorial Service. (Source: KTRE Staff) Remembrance of ten fallen officers in Nacogdoches County from 1871 to 1996 happened at the Fallen Peace Officers Memorial Service. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

A Fallen Peace Officers' Memorial Service in Nacogdoches County, took on a special meaning this year.

It happened just days after Nacogdoches County law enforcement used deadly force on a suspect.

Police officers are receiving stark reminders of just how dangerous their job can be.

A piper playing “Dark Isle” sets the somber mood each year to remember the 10 law enforcement officers in Nacogdoches County who died in the line of duty. The earliest death dates back to 1871. The most recent was 1996.

Sisters Ashley and Amanda Sitton were children when their father Tom Sitton was killed in the line of duty. Amanda was 9 months old, just a few months older than her daughter, Layla. The lessons the women received as children will be passed on to yet another generation.

"I'm just going to teach her that cops are important. They help you,” Sitton said. They're not there to ruin your life or anything. They're trying to keep you alive."

The Lunsford family returns year after year to remember Darrell Lunsford Sr. who was killed in 1991. His widow has moved on, but never, ever forgets.

"It's just a wonderful time of remembering how it was,” said Shirley Lunsford Ruthven.

The service featured a gun salute.

As officers stood at attention, they knew one in the group escaped death during Monday night's dangerous standoff.  His name hasn't been released, but everyone knows he and two other officers came close to being the next names on the list of 10. By amazing grace, they aren't.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 35 law enforcement officers in the nation have been killed in the line of duty this year. Seventeen of those deaths were by gunfire, including three Texans.

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