Three coast redwoods at Cogswell Plaza in Palo Alto were officially dedicated Thursday as a memorial grove for the city's fallen police officers.
Located near the corner of Lytton Avenue and Ramona Street, the "Palo Alto Peace Officers Memorial Grove" pays tribute to Lester Cole, Gene Clifton and Theodore Brassinga.
"It means a great deal to me," Angela Brassinga said. Theordore, her husband of eight years, was accidentally shot and killed May 15, 1994, during a multiagency training exercise aboard an Amtrak train for the World Cup.
"Losing my husband was heartbreaking," the Redwood City resident said. "It was sudden and unexpected. But with the love of my family and the support of Palo Alto, I'm here today."
Cole was struck and killed by an automobile while setting flares at an accident scene on Jan. 31, 1969, and Clifton suffered a fatal gunshot wound while helping serve a warrant on Oct. 1, 1971.
The figurative seed for the memorial grove was planted by Urban Cummings of the environmental nonprofit organization Canopy. After seeing plaques for the fallen officers at the police department, he wanted to plant trees in their honor. He encountered the three coast redwoods at Cogswell Plaza while scouting potential locations and concluded they would make a more fitting tribute.
"These trees are already planted, but we wanted to do what we could," said Cummings, who credited Palo Alto police Chief Dennis Burns with making the memorial grove a reality.
Angela said she planned to return to the memorial grove with her son, Andrew, when he returns home from college in Arizona. He was just 14 months old when Theodore was killed.
"No one will ever forget them or the things they've done for their community," she said about the fallen officers.