TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The deaths of a police officer and a Sheriff’s deputy in Orlando Monday as they tried to stop a murder suspect put a bitter edge on a day meant to honor law enforcement.
Monday, January 9th is supposed to be a national show of appreciation -- for law enforcement officers --and all they do.
Tucson Electric Power put on an appreciation luncheon.
As part of the day’s observance -- people are urged to wear blue -- and even burn blue light bulbs outside their homes but people outside the world of law enforcement can not truly know the life of service -- and sacrifice.
It's a solemn scene repeated again and again, the polish and precision of funerals for officers killed as they strived to serve and protect.
Eight years after a man shot and killed her husband Tucson Police Officer Erik Hite, Noemi Hite feels his presence----and his absence.
“Every birthday, we miss Erik. Every Christmas, we miss him. Every milestone that my daughter has, we miss him and it's gonna be a lifetime of picking up all those pieces for both of us and our entire family."
She took comfort from the understanding of the close community of law enforcement and created the Erik Hite Foundation to help care for children from law enforcement families.
More than ten years ago Pima Sheriff's Deputy Tim Graham tried to subdue a deranged man in a busy street. The man, Deputy Graham, and a civilian who tried to help were hit, and died.
Now Deputy Graham's widow Sherry Graham-Potter works with COPS--Concerns of Police Survivors to help the families left behind.
"It's a very long, drawn out process of healing and you never forget, you always remember but you do heal, you do move on with your life and you do find joy again.”
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: “How? How do you do that? You realize that the one you lost would not want you to wallow in it; that they would want you to live life and find happiness and you just set your eye on the future and keep walking forward."
But they know that future could easily hold more sadness, and sacrifice.