Gulfport Memorial Service Remembers Storm Victims - - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport Memorial Service Remembers Storm Victims

A beautiful sunrise over calm Gulf waters greeted the city's memorial service Tuesday morning.

The gathering gave residents a chance to reflect and remember.

"A time where we'll remember those who we've lost and begin to renew and recover and rebuild. And it's an especially beautiful morning," said Mayor Brent Warr.

The solemn ceremony honored the memories of the Gulfport residents who died in Katrina. Fourteen citizens lost their lives.

"But Father, we remember those that Hurricane Katrina took from us Lord, that they went to be with you," prayed the Rev. Eddie Williams from the North Carolina Baptist Men's association.

Mississippi's senior senator received a warm welcome. Keynote speaker, Sen. Thad Cochran, praised the storm survivors.

"Many of you experienced it firsthand, who came close to losing their lives. But for the grace of God would have died in this terrible disaster. We give thanks for those who survived. So many did, with close calls," said Sen. Cochran.

A presentation of roses by the public safety honor guard remembered those who died. Names were called and a bell rung for each of the fourteen Gulfport residents who died a year ago.

Gulfport resident Gretchen Pannell knows the pain of losing loved ones to Katrina.

"I lost my uncle and my aunt and two cousins in Ocean Springs," she recalled.

Pannell endured the deaths while facing the storm recovery shared by so many others.

"It's been very difficult. Living in a camper, trying to rebuild. I was here for Camille. And I was here for Katrina," she shared.

Many viewed the city service as yet another part of the healing process. Remembering the past, but still moving forward.

"Let's move on. Let's move forward. And let's do that together," urged Mayor Warr.

By Steve Phillips

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