Branscome and East were shot and killed on the night of Feb. 3, 1969, along the side of the Old Highway 52 Bypass behind East Surry High School after they had stopped a vehicle containing four men who were suspected of armed robberies earlier that evening in Forsyth County.
The fourth annual Memorial Walk will begin with a brief ceremony in the Network Dynamics parking lot, believed to be the location where the officers first sighted and began following the suspects.
Walkers will then follow the 1.7-mile route used by Branscome and East as they followed the suspect vehicle before stopping it. Van transportation will be provided for those who wish to participate but do not feel they can walk any or part of the 1.7-mile distance.
At the conclusion of the walk, transportation will also be provided for all participants back to the Network Dynamics parking lot.
“We do this each year on the Saturday on or before the anniversary of when these officers were killed to remember their service and sacrifice,” explained Chet Jessup, a state Alcohol Law Enforcement agent who has served as primary organizer for the walks. “A lot of people have passed on or moved from the area and we want the new generation that’s here to know about and remember this tragedy.
“Some people think this can only happen in a big town,” Jessup continued, “but that’s not the case. It has happened here and it could happen again. What happened to Officers Branscome and East led the state Education and Training Standards Commission to implement new training procedures that are still being followed today. This tragedy has gone on to save other officers’ lives.
“This community owes a debt of gratitude to these officers and their families for their sacrifice,” he added. “Family members still live in the area and attend the walk. This is a small thing to do to honor the memory of these officers.”
Anyone requesting additional information may contact Jessup at 374-5409.