Pierce County residents sing in New Year and put tragedy behind them




Posted on December 31, 2009 at 11:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 31 at 11:20 PM

TACOMA, Wash. - Pierce County residents rang in the New Year by trying to move past a tragic few weeks for county law enforcement.

Five Pierce County law enforcement officers have been killed since November 29.

The mood was more festive tonight at Tacoma's First Night New Years Party. Hundreds of families packed Broadway Street to watch a parade of drum groups. Karen Worley and her family were eating downtown and decided to check out the festivities.

"It's good for families," she said.

KING 5's Rich Marriott emceed the event from the Main Stage. Several local musical groups entertained the crowds who braved a light drizzle to be here. Jackie Brown called the celebration "better than it was last year."

The centerpiece to the celebration was a dream tree where residents could write wishes and tied them to the branches. At midnight, the tree was lit on fire.
"We burn it ceremonially. It's like sending the wish out into the universe," said Olympia artist and tree creator Debbie Shane.

Tacoma resident Melissa Brown wrote she wanted a better year for her family.

She said the death of the deputy and four officers caused her to have "a heavy heart. I pray for the families."

At midnight, fireworks lit up the sky. For the crowds here, it was a good way to ring in, what is hoped to be, a better year.