WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Blue skies, calm waters and a quiet breeze are a stark contrast from what Waveland and the rest of the coast experienced exactly four years ago.
"It's hard to believe looking around you and looking at the Gulf; that the worst disaster in the history of the United States could befall us," Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo said.
On that horrifying day, 23 Waveland residents lost their lives, most victims of Katrina's storm surge. City leaders say the names of those people will never be forgotten.
Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame, Senator David Baria and Mayor Longo participated in reading the names of those people who lost their lives that day. A memorial wreath was placed in the water to honor those who are no longer with us.
Sarah Malmstrol, Diamondhead Resident, said, "I'm sad because I don't get to see them everyday, but I know they're in a better place."
Malmstrol lost her sister, brother in-law and two nephews during the storm.
"It was the shock of something you never could imagine," Malmstrol said. "For a long time, it never seemed real to us."
Whle it was a day to reflect, it was also a day to look to the future.
Governor Hailey Barbour said, "We're here to commemorate that hurricane but also to celebrate the progress that we've made, the recovery, the rebuilding and renewal of the Gulf Coast."
"Today all of the big debris piles are gone. You have construction going on all around you," said Mayor Longo. "Our friends and neighbors continue to return home, and our community is becoming whole once again."
It's progress some residents will unfortunitly never see. Shortly after that somber ceremony, state and local leaders broke ground on a new Waveland Municipal Complex. The $15 million facility will be located on Coleman Avenue. It will house city hall, a city hall annex and a fire station.
Waveland lost every city Government building during the storm. City leaders say after four years of waiting, city workers can look forward to some beautiful facilities.
"Our first responders, the people that have been here before, during and after the hurricane, they have not left their post. They've been working hard everyday," Longo said. "They deserve a home. And city hall and the police complex and the fire station will give our first responders and our administration a place to call home again. "
It's expected to take about a year to complete.