Gulfport ceremony celebrates five years after Katrina

By Jessica Bowman – email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Local and state dignitaries along with a member of the Obama Administration joined to applaud the rebuilding efforts of the Gulf Coast. They also recognized all those who have helped along the way. Hundreds of people gathered in front of Gulfport's City Hall to listen in as dignitaries praised their hard work and also took a look back at this day five years ago.

Sen Roger Wicker said, "My hat is off today to the resilient people of Mississippi. Particularly, South Mississippi for this time to rebuild."

Applause echoed through the streets as South Mississippians, volunteers and others gathered to remember the Katrina. Although Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was not here when the natural disaster struck, she re-assured the crowd that the Obama Administration feels the same pain.

"When President Obama entered office he made a commitment to stand with the people of the Gulf and finish the job of Katrina recovery. Over the past year and a half we have worked to uphold that promise.

Although South Mississippi shines bright once again, that devastating day five years ago plays back in the minds of many. First Lady Marsha Barbour was among many speakers to take the podium and share their personal experience with Katrina.

"A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance," said Sen. Wicker.

Bringing tears of pain back to life.

Marsha Barbour said, "We all know what a horrible week it was and how precious life can slip away so quickly."

As Barbour took a moment to recognize those who lost their life fighting during the storm, the crowd sympathized. But in the end those emotions turned into tears of happiness. Looking at where the coast has come 1,825 days later.

"We have a lot to be proud of, a lot to proud of and there are going to be many lessons learned all over the world because of Katrina," said Governor Haley Barbour.

Among the other speakers at the ceremony was Congressman Gene Taylor. Musician Paul Overstreet performed during the ceremony.

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