May 05, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

This memorial in Temple, Texas is one of the first I stopped to really examine. For years I’d been noticing so many roadside markers and shrines, it finally occurred to me that there was something to be learned by looking more closely. That first visit was years ago, before my own son decided to become a police officer. Today, I was back in the area and with a new appreciation for the shrine, I decided to check and see how it was doing.


It hasn’t changed at all. The cross is in fine shape though the officer’s badge embedded in the metal has weathered. But the area around the cross has gotten a facelift. The stadium has been expanded and upgraded. The placement of cut stone blocks and a manicured lawn enhance the setting for the memorial. It’s as though the landscape architect for the school incorporated the monument into the outdoor setting for the grandstands.

Officer O'brien was killed on November 21, 2003. An on-line resource I didn’t know about on my first visit fills in the picture and offers even more of an emotional connection to this special place. The Officer Down Memorial Page is an honor roll listing of fallen police officers from all over this country. A quote on the site’s homepage from it's founder, Chris Cosgriff, offers an explanation: "When a police officer is killed, it's not an agency that loses an officer, it's an entire nation.”


The memorial page for Officer James O'brien is filled with deeply felt messages from friends and loved one’s. This memorial marks an event in 2003 that so many years later is still fresh in so many people’s minds and hearts.


Officer James O'brien memorial, N 31st St and Calhoun Ave., Temple, Texas

Suddenly Sacred