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Saturday ceremony to honor slain officers

PILOT MOUNTAIN — Area residents will have the opportunity on Saturday to take part in an annual ceremony to honor the memory of fallen Pilot Mountain Police Officers Glenn Branscome and Ralph East.

This year, for the first time in over a decade, the ceremony will not include a walk but will focus on the memorial ceremony.

The brief ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. as residents gather alongside a large granite monument memorializing the tragedy and the fallen officers. The monument is located behind East Surry High School, near Highway 52 Bypass, Branscome-East Highway, in Pilot Mountain.

Officers Branscome and East were shot and killed on the night of Feb. 3, 1969, along the side of Highway 52 Bypass behind East Surry High School after they had stopped a vehicle matching the description of one used in two Forsyth County armed robberies earlier that night.

At the time, the Pilot Mountain Police Department was made up of four officers, including Branscome and East.

Residents, police department representatives and town officials have been gathering for to remember the two for more than a decade, on the Saturday nearest the date that officers Branscome and East lost their lives in service. All past observances have included a walk to the location. In planning for this year, organizers and family members decided to forego the walk and focus on the memorial ceremony.

Members of both the East and the Branscome families have supported the observance since its inception and are expected to take part on Saturday.

Local resident Chet Jessup, a retired law enforcement veteran who has been instrumental in honoring the memories of the fallen officers, has served each year as the event’s primary organizer. He organized the first gathering in 2007, in conjunction with the section of road being dedicated as the Officer Glenn Branscome-Officer Ralph East Highway.

“In talking with family members, we thought this format might encourage more to turn out and take part,” Jessup said. “We hope to see a larger crowd. We want to see people take the time to come out, dress comfortable and dress warm, and be a part of this remembrance. And we wanted to make it possible for officers and emergency personnel who normally have to direct traffic for the walk to be able to attend the ceremony.”

“It’s been over 50 years now since this happened, and we want to make sure people continue to remember these men and the sacrifices they made.”

Anyone requesting additional information may contact Jessup at 336-374-5409.

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Pilot Mountain Police Officers Glenn Branscome and Ralph East were killed in the line of duty on Feb. 3, 1969. Saturday morning they will be honored with an annual ceremony memorializing them.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/web1_Bransco-2-2-.jpgPilot Mountain Police Officers Glenn Branscome and Ralph East were killed in the line of duty on Feb. 3, 1969. Saturday morning they will be honored with an annual ceremony memorializing them. File photo

The Saturday morning ceremony will take place beside this granite monument honoring the memories of Pilot Mountain Police Officers Glenn Branscome and Ralph East. The monument, located near the sight of the fatal confrontation, recounts the events of the evening when both lost their lives in the line of duty.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/web1_IMG_5345-1-1-.jpgThe Saturday morning ceremony will take place beside this granite monument honoring the memories of Pilot Mountain Police Officers Glenn Branscome and Ralph East. The monument, located near the sight of the fatal confrontation, recounts the events of the evening when both lost their lives in the line of duty. File photo

By Dean Palmer

Special to the News

Source


Source: https://www.mtairynews.com

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