Former President George W. Bush addressed the memorial service Tuesday for the five Dallas police officers killed last week in a mass shooting, saying the community had "five deaths in the family."
Bush said the slain officers were the "best among us." They were Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, Sgt. Michael Smith, Officer Michael Krol, Officer Brent Thompson, and Officer Patrick Zamarripa.
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"With their deaths, we have lost so much," Bush said. "We are grief-stricken, heartbroken, and forever grateful. Every officer has accepted a calling that sets them apart. Most of us imagine if the moment called for [it], that we would risk our lives to protect a spouse or a child. Those wearing the uniform assume that risk for the safety of strangers."
Bush called the massacre enacted by Micah Smith, who said he wanted to kill white police officers before himself being killed by police, one of "hatred and malice." He spoke also against the divisive elements in American society
"At times, it seems like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together," Bush said. "Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates too quickly into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions."
The crowd interrupted to applaud his remark.
"This has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose, but Americans, I think, have a great advantage," he said. "To renew our unity we only need to remember our values. We have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the spirit, by shared commitments to common ideals."
At the country's best, Bush said, Americans honor the image of God they see in others.
"At our best we know we have one country, one future, one destiny. We do not want the unity of grief, nor do we want the unity of fear," he said. "We want the unity of hope, affection, and high purpose."