In honor of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast gathered in Jones Park in Gulfport to recognize and thank the first responders.
The event began late Friday morning under the Barksdale Pavilion, which stands alongside the Gulfport Harbor. First responders received their reserved front row seating beneath the tall structure. As event goers anticipated the event’s key speaker, they were able to sit back and enjoy the gulf breeze while listening to live music.
Before President George W. Bush took the stage, former Governor Haley Barbour and Governor Phil Bryant made appearances at the event to delivery their own statements of gratitude to those who contributed to the
Governor Bryant was the first of the two to take the stage.
Barbour, who Bryant referred to as a “responder- in-chief,” called the storm a “terrible calamity.” Although Hurricane Katrina brought residents of the coast much devastation, Barbour didn’t fail to recognize the resiliency that followed.
“We remember it,” Barbour said. “But there are things about Katrina we should celebrate everyday.”
Former President George Bush also acknowledged the progress of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He recognized specific coastal community leaders by name and credited the coast as “a vibrant part of this country.”
“What most Americans can’t really get a feel of is the courage and the perseverance and dedication of the thousands who rushed into harms way, many of whom are in this audience,” Bush said.
Bush walked down the stage to personally greet and thank the first responders.