Memorial Remembers Public Safety Workers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

OFFICERS AND FIRE FIGHTERS REMEMBER FALLEN PEERS

Memorial Remembers Public Safety Workers

Under flags flying at half staff, police and firefighters came together at the Gulfport Police Department's memorial garden.

Wearing black tape over their badges, the service remembered the more than 200 firefighters and 50 police officers who haven't been accounted for in the aftermath of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

"Our prayers go out to their families, to our families because we're all family, firefighters, medics, police officers because of our chosen profession," Gulfport Chief Wayne Payne said.

"None of us would be here right now if we were in New York City. None of us would be here if we were on that scene, none of us would be here if we were in that aircraft or in that building, and this is just a small handful of the people that have probably perished," Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said.

Officers and firefighters say the attacks happened hundreds of miles away, but still, hit close to home.

"We will get through it, but all we can do now is to continue to pray that we will find some more survivors and that these families will be comforted and get on with their lives," Officer Paul Bennett said.

"This is just an indication right here to how we put our life on the line on a daily basis, and unfortunately these guys were caught in a bad situation and perished due to that and our hearts and our prayers go out to them and the family and the whole department," firefighter Jamie Jenkins said.

Firefighters say the number of emergency personnel who are still missing is just staggering.

"That would take our department, just with the firefighters that are missing right now. It would totally annihilate the Gulfport Fire Department, the numbers that were lost in New York. And it's just unfathomable to think of such a loss," firefighter Chris Henderson said.

Those at the service say we as Americans will survive the tragedy of lives lost and we will be a stronger nation because of their sacrifice.

by Marcia Hill

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