GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - During a ceremony on Wednesday morning, the Gulfport Police Department remembered eight of its officers who died in the line of duty.
Police officers, community leaders and members of the public gathered for the annual Police Memorial Day observance.
"This is more than just a ceremony to us. It's how we honor the legacy of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice," said officer Chris Loposser. "We gather here today to honor those who didn't make it home at the end of the shift."
Their names are engraved in the memorial stone outside the police department.
"Thank you Lord for bringing us together today as a family. To pay tribute and honor those officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice," said officer David Montague, as he led the invocation.
Those who wear the uniform understand the inherent risk.
"And accept that they may be called upon to give their all so that others may live and our society retains order," said Loposser.
One by one, the eight names were read and their brief stories shared. The first recorded death of a Gulfport police officer dates back to 1900. The most recent was Lt. Rob Curry in August of 2008.
"On August 14th, 2008, Rob Curry was killed in a traffic accident on Highway 49," an officer read.
City Council President Ricky Dombrowski, who once served as a Gulfport police officer, recalled an incident when his life was in danger.
"Ask each one of these individual officers. I'm sure every one has experienced that in their lifetime at one point or another," said the council president.
Gulfport's new police chief spoke about the noble calling that is the police profession. He talked of duty, service and sacrifice.
"To achieve success, each man and woman who wears a Gulfport police badge, must be willing and prepared to make sacrifices of themselves," said Chief Leonard Papania.
Eight Gulfport officers have already answered that call.