"The sun won't rise as high today. Our badges won't shine as bright."
Police Chief Kerry Belk fought to hold back tears as he eulogized officer Rodger Blades, remembering him as a gentleman, a true Christian, and a man who never ceased to smile.
"With God's help, we will forget the pain of Rodger's passing, [but] we will always remember the joy of his life," Belk said.
A mile-long precession of fellow law enforcers led Blades into the Orange Grove Cemetery. There family, friends and those who share a badge said their final goodbyes.
"He always had a smile about him, no matter what the situation was. He could walk into any room and he could just brighten it up. He just had a peaceful sense about him," Officer T.J. Moran said.
The sorrowful sound taps filled the warm April air. Together the family cried as Richie, Blades' only living brother, received the flag from the casket.
"He was always the family caretaker and not only the family, but everyone," Blades' cousin Amy Williams cried.
Williams couldn't say goodbye without leaving Rodger something he always loved.
"He was a very special person and I'm going to miss him dearly, but I had to leave him his candy," she said.
A sweet and gentle man who will be remembered for his service to Jackson County.
"Goodbye Rodger, from all of us, we love you," Chief Belk said.
Many of those mourning the loss of officer Blades are still reeling from the death of Pascagoula Police Officer Terry Michael Byrd. The son of Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd died in a motorcycle accident in March.