PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Families of fallen Philadelphia police officers and firefighters gathered to remember the sacrifices of their loved ones Wednesday during the annual Living Flame Memorial Service in Franklin Square.
There was a police rifle salute for fallen comrades, and the sounding of the final bell.READ MORE: 14-Year-Old, Samir Jefferson, Shot Nearly 20 Times, Killed While Waiting For SEPTA Bus In North Philadelphia, Police Say
Wreaths were placed and family members laid red or white carnations on the monuments bearing the names of their loved ones.
Fifty-five-year-old Police Officer Walter DeWitt III, a 33-year, decorated veteran of the force – who died last year after surgery to correct complications from shoulder injuries he suffered in a 1995 accident with a police car, was added this year.
“To get the phone call from my mom telling me my dad is in ICU after I said, ‘Bye dad, love you’ at six o’clock the past evening really hit me hard,” said his son, 18-year-old Walter DeWitt IV.READ MORE: Philadelphia Firefighters Rescue 2 People From Fairmount House Fire
Mayor Jim Kenney presided over the ceremonies for the first time as mayor.
“The number of lives – the loss of our brave people – have caused such change in so many lives,” Kenney said.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross also addressed the families of the fallen.MORE NEWS: Crash Involving Tractor-Trailer, SUV On Route 130 North In Bordentown Leaves Man Dead, Police Say
“I pray that God gives you the strength and that he places a hedge of protection around each and every one of you to get through those tough days that you undoubtedly must have,” Ross said.