Gulfport salutes its fallen officers

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The City of Gulfport paused Friday to remember its fallen police officers. People gathered in front of the Robert J. Curry Public Safety Center to salute their sacrifice.

They also gave thanks to those men and women who still walk "the thin blue line".

"We should take time to remember the individuals who served in our police department. And died while doing so," said Deputy Chief Leonard Papania.

Eight Gulfport police officers have died in the line of duty since 1900. Their names were recalled as a wreath was placed near the fallen officers' monument.

"We just thank you for this agency that would take the time out Lord to just remember all those Lord that they would never be forgotten. That they would forever be in our hearts," Chaplain Brian Smith prayed.

Police Chief Alan Weatherford recalled attending the police memorial service in Washington D.C. following the death of Rob Curry, the most recent Gulfport office killed while on duty.

"I ask you in the upcoming week to stop a police officer, law enforcement officer, deputy sheriff and thank him for the job that he's doing," said the chief.

The "end of watch" ceremony involved officers placing a rose near the monument for each of their fallen brothers.

"Rob was a 14 year veteran and the officer in charge of the traffic unit at the time of his death," one officer read.

Peggy Blanchard has faithfully attended this observance for years, remembering her nephew, Woodrow Scarborough.

"He had such a future ahead of him. The day he was killed he had received a letter from the FBI academy saying he had been accepted that day. I'll always keep his memory in my heart," she said.

"As we go about our daily lives, we sometimes take for granted the fact that there are people who every day are putting their lives on the line so we can enjoy what we enjoy in this country," Mayor George Schloegel told the crowd.

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