HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The pews inside West Point Baptist Church just weren't enough to contain the love and support of a community Saturday. With an overflow crowd, family members, friends, strangers and officers from across the state and country rallied around the life and legacy of Hattiesburg police officer Liquori Tate. Officers from New York, California, Iowa and Louisiana were all wearing different uniforms with the same meaning.
"No matter how many state lines are between brothers in blue, there's always one thin blue line," said Eric Hatten with the Grayson County Sherriff's Department in Texas.
Hatten use to work for HPD and worked with officer Benjamin Deen on the K-9 unit. Hatten says officer Tate is just as much of a brother in blue.
"It takes something from everybody when something senseless like this happens," said Hatten.
The love on the inside was just a glimpse of what was happening outside the church doors, along the procession route. From the sky, to the ground, folks lined Highway 98 and Weathersby Road. One of them, Devon Yoder, who says the last time he flew his flag was on 9/11.
"I thought this was a worthy time to fly it again. I hope after today, I never have to fly it again," said Yoder.
With a lot of eyes on the Hattiesburg community, folks along the route say it's a good time to pause and think about what it means to serve and protect.
"It's so important to support our officers that defend us everyday and we don't take the time to probably appreciate them until it's almost too late," said Jennifer Powell, who brought her daughter to the procession.
"Law enforcement is getting a raw deal and we need to support them all that we can," said Milton Mosher who was watching the procession.
With some still in shock, it's that support, coupled with the undying spirit of community, helping to make life a lot easier.
"After the hurricane, we came together. After the tornado, we came together. Hattiesburg always comes together instead of falls apart when something bad happens," said Jacquelyn Wallace.