WASHINGTON -- One by one, the names of the officers who died in the line of duty in 2016 were read out loud in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
There were 394 of them.
Five of those names were officers killed in Dallas on July 7. It was an emotional moment for Rick Zamarripa, father of Dallas police officer, Patrick Zamarripa.
"I looked up at the sky, and I knew Patrick was looking down,” Rick said.
Dallas Deputy Police Chief Malik Aziz read the names of the fallen officers.
"It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life,” Chief Aziz said.
What happened on July 7 forever changed the city of Dallas when a gunman opened fire, injuring and killing officers during a protest.
“The rest of the nation and the world was looking, and we became the type of department known for standing up in the face of great tragedy,” said Chief Aziz.
Rick says he will never forget that night when he tried to text his son and he never responded.
"All I could think is 'please be alive, please be alive,'" he said.
He says he still can’t believe he's in Washington, D.C. this week, along with the families of the other officers, to memorialize his son.
He let KHOU sister station WFAA follow him as he journeyed to the memorial wall to find his son’s name among the more than 21,000 names forever etched in stone.
“Words cannot express how I feel. It hurts a lot," Zamarripa said.
He says he wishes this was all a dream. As painful as this has been, he says the one thing he holds onto is the final conversation he had with his son the day before he died.
“For some reason, I thought, 'I am going to tell him I love him.' So I grabbed him and I said, 'Pal, I love you.' And he said, 'I love you too, dad.'”
Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Smith, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens and Brent Thompson are names that will forever be remembered for their courage, bravery, and ultimate sacrifice.
Rick Zamarripa says he is going to push for a national law to make it a hate crime to target police officers.
© 2017 WFAA-TV