DALLAS — Grief plays out in many ways. Some donate, others hug, and still more just cry it out.
Here in Dallas, all of those things have happened in abundance following the ambush deaths of five of our officers, but one big thing in Big D has been to leave a keepsake at the DPD Memorial.
“It looks to me like it had a lot of love already,” Dallas Public Library Director Jo Giudice said while handling a white and pink stuffed Snoopy. “It might have been a real sacrifice for the child that gave this one up.”
With the makeshift memorial at DPD coming down Tuesday, the question is what will happen to the hundreds of Police patches and cards or the dozens of stuffed animals and flags.
“Back in 1963, Lillian Bradshaw did the same thing after Kennedy was shot,” Giudice said. “I knew when the memorial went up that that would be our role going forward as a city department to preserve the history that people were leaving.”
The Dallas Public Library has already started that process by drying and sorting many items taken when rain storms hit Friday, but before they can be displayed or archived they have an important stop to make.
“We’re going to bring it back to the Police Department so that they have time to sit with it in private and read all of these messages,” Giudice said.
The mementos could stay with a Police for a month, six months, or more. However long it takes for them to sink in the love of their community is how long the items will stay. Then, they’ll be prepared for their future by bagging items, placing them in acid-free boxes and mainly just keeping them out of the elements.
“There are a lot of poignant statements people have made,” said Dallas History and Archives Manager Brian Collins. “I think it would be appropriate to incorporate that into some sort of memorial that we might have in the future.”
As far as future memorials go, the library is going to do whatever the Police Departments ask them to do, but there’s no doubt these thousands of pieces of Dallas history and American history will live on.