It's officially Red Lodge's annual Christmas Stroll this Friday and Saturday with plenty of holiday festivities going on downtown, but that's not the only focus during this event.
For the last 8 years Red Lodge has held a special tree lighting using blue Christmas lights in honor of policeman who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The pushing force behind this ceremony is the COPS organization, which stands for concerns of police survivors. Their goal being to provide resources and assist in the rebuilding of the lives of families who have lost somebody in the police force.
The ceremony in Red Lodge specifically honors those policeman who have passed away and served in the state of Montana, and more importantly within the town of Red Lodge.
The community of Red Lodge shows an unmatched level of respect for the ceremony and understands the importance of supporting those families who have lost close ones or relatives in the line of duty.
From the local police to everyday citizens of Red Lodge, attendance is never in question.
The Chief of Police in Red Lodge, Jason Wells, said, "It's important I think...like you said we have family that were here that their families members names were read and for them it helps them understand that they are not forgotten and that their sacrifice wasn't for nothing. That their sacrifice is important. It's important to our community, it's important to our state. And I think that that's important for all of us, not just their family."
"Each year it has grown and I was just talking with Maureen from the Elks and she said it just warms her heart how the community comes out and now there's even more attendance and it's very honorable," explained Joyce Kramer, head of the COPS Montana Chapter and mother of an officer who passed away in 2006.
The COPS organization will be holding another ceremony for those policeman who lost their lives in the line of duty this Tuesday at the Yellowstone County courthouse here in Billings. The event starts at 5 P.M.