GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - They may be gone, but will never be forgotten. That is the promise Gulfport police officers have made to their comrades who died in the line of duty. At a police memorial ceremony on Thursday, officers said they want to do more to honor fallen officers than read a list of names.
Since 1900, eight Gulfport police officers have died in the line of duty. Gulfport police officers said for them, it's not enough to read the names of the fallen. They wanted to tell these brave men's stories.
"Every one of those names was a person, and they were dads. They were brothers. They were sons," said Police Chief Leonard Papania.
The last rose placed was for Lt. Robert Curry. Curry died in a motorcycle accident in 2008.
"I was on scene when Gulfport firefighters tried desperately to save Rob after he was mortally wounded in a crash on Highway 49," said Papania. "I have at many times closed my eyes and relived that moment. Rob's name on this memorial and this building will always be more than a name for me."
Curry's family said they appreciate the tribute to him and all of the fallen.
"He was a wonderful, wonderful man. A great husband, a great son-in-law and never to be forgotten," said Chris Lau, Curry's father-in-law. "He loved his job. He loved the people he worked with. He loved his community. This is what he wanted to do."
"People die twice in life; once when their physical body dies and a second time when they're forgotten," said Papania. "You can't prevent that first death, but we can certainly prevent that other."
Officials said last year in this country, 42 police officers were killed in the line of duty with most dying by gunfire.