MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - It was a solemn fanfare, as friends, family and fellow officers gathered to honor their own.
Officer Larry DeWayne Lee died in the line of duty October 17, 2002, when he was thrown from his patrol car after a head-on collision on Highway 63. The other driver was being chased by an officer, and Lee was on his way to assist.
The State of Mississippi and the City of Moss Point are honoring his sacrifice by naming a portion of I-10 in Lee's memory. The area spans from Highway 63 West to the Veteran's Memorial Bridge, which will be named in his honor.
"We owe a great debt of gratitude to Officer Lee," said Moss Point Mayor Xavier Bishop to the crowd. "We are here tonight to make yet another installment on that debt. Thank you, Officer Larry DeWayne Lee.
A state Senate bill, penned by Sen. Michael Watson (R-Pascagoula), etched the highway's new name into state law.
The Highway's new name marks the emotional end of an era for Officer Lee's family.
"Larry would have turned 50 this year and we have something really to keep us going, thinking Larry's still with us," said Malta Lee, Officer Lee's mother. "To have this after him, after losing him, his father can sleep at night now. Because this is what his dream was. To have his son remembered.
When you see the signs on the interstate marking Officer Larry DeWayne Lee Memorial Highway, you'll see a memory shared by friends, family and law enforcement alike.
"Larry will never be forgotten as long as there is a badge to be worn," Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd told the crowd.
"Thank you, and God bless you," Moss Point Police Chief Sheila Smallman said. "And to the Lee family, I miss Larry, and may God bless you."
The resolution was passed in the legislature's regular session earlier this year.