A Mt. Juliet Windtree Trace resident and former New Yorker wants the community to "stand united, lock arms, join in song and feel the power of solidarity" Saturday night at a candlelight vigil she's organized to honor fallen New York Police officer Brian Moore.
Dawna LoPiccolo said she wants the entire community to gather at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Music City Star train depot on East Division Street. Five hundred vigil candles will be on hand to honor and remember Moore who was shot while on duty and later died Saturday. He was 25 years old. This event precedes National Police Week which begins Monday.
LoPiccolo said she did not personally know Moore, but said she's a "die-hard patriot," lived in New York and was an EMT during the aftermath of 9/11.
"I worked side by side with the police officers," she said. "When I saw his [Moore's] age and his face and that he was gunned down, well, I felt like everyone was suffering alone, and the outcry I chose was a unifying candlelight vigil that does not divide, but unifies."
LoPiccolo noted an Idaho Police Department officer was shot and killed the same day as Moore. Greg Moore (no relation) left behind a wife and two children.
"Both instances enraged me, a young 25-year-old with the rest of his life ahead of him, and a 43-year-old father of two," LoPiccolo said. "Both losses are tragic and deserve a public outcry."
LoPiccolo said her "visceral reaction" is "truly in response to my connection to the NYPD, and 9/11.
"However, it is also my devotion to all first responders, being one myself at one time. I want our children to see a different way to handle injustice. To stand arm and arm in a respectful way."
Bagpipes will be played at Saturday's vigil in Mt. Juliet, and Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick will be a featured speaker.
"It will be a good event," he said. "Anytime this happens it's important to honor all our fallen officers. It's a good segue into National Police Week. It will be a peaceful event with our community."
Hambrick said he feels it's important to know that the police "are part of the community."
"We don't want to forget, and we want to respect the men and women who have given their lives in this profession," he said. "Also, in light of current national events like in Baltimore and Ferguson, it's even more important now for communities to come together for a time of healing.
"A few events should not, but I know they do, speak about all officers in that same light. It's important to come together as communities and pray for Missouri and Maryland and Moore."
Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.