BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A heartfelt memorial to remember the officers killed in the line of duty was held in Biloxi Thursday, honoring those who sacrificed and those who were left behind. Families of five officers and the law enforcement community came together for the department’s Fallen Officers Ceremony.
The event took on more significance in the wake of police officer Robert McKeithen’s death.
Police Chief John Miller talked about the pain of loss.
“The hopes and dreams that were crushed. The plans that suddenly had no meaning. Children forced to grow up without their influences,” Miller said.
Biloxi held its annual Fallen Officers Ceremony at the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center. The legacies of five Biloxi officers were remembered, and their public service honored. The South Mississippi law enforcement community showed support, and family members of those officers were recognized, including Robert McKeithen’s family. McKeithen was shot and killed at the police station on the night of May 5.
Miller presented them with a single white rose. The family of Emory Wilson, who was killed in 1970, wanted to show their support.
“My family understands the hurt and loss. Try and take comfort in knowing you’re not alone,” said Tina Wilson Jordan.
It was a vivid reminder that law enforcement is a dangerous business.
“When we leave our house in the morning and kiss our families goodbye, there is a possibility we may not come home. I think my family has known that for the last 25 years. The new men and women coming into this understand that,” said Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson.
Ceremonies like this one were held around the country as National Police Week wraps up. National Police Week was established by a proclamation by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. It falls every year during the week of May 15 which, according to the same proclamation, is Peace Officers Memorial Day.
The fallen officer memorials are designed to make sure we never forget about service and sacrifice.
“It’s important to hold on to the legacies of those officers and have a true understanding of what we do,” said Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania.
Miller closed out the ceremony with heartfelt appreciation.
“Thank you and God bless you for what you have endured. We are eternally grateful for your pain and suffering.” Miller said.