City officials gathered in front of City Hall on Tuesday for a ceremony honoring the city’s 43 service members who have died while serving in the line of duty.

The ceremony, which is held annually, highlights the dangers first responders face in their profession.

“Imagine what it takes to run into danger as others are running away,” Long Beach Fire Chief Dennis Buchanan said while addressing the family and loved ones of the fallen first responders. “To literally walk through fire knowing you might never make it out because you are trying to save people.”

Officers fire blanks during a 21-gun salute in front of City Hall Tuesday, May 3. Photo by Fernando Haro.

Since the inception of the city’s Fire and Police departments, 14 fire and 29 police service members have died in the line of duty.

Today, each of those first responders has their name engraved on a memorial in front of City Hall made up of small triangles meant to represent a flag that’s been folded over 13 times, which is traditionally given to the families of those who have died in the line of service.

“You remember them as dads, siblings, and spouses, friends, and brothers, today we remember them and salute them as the heroes that they were,” Buchanan said. “These are extraordinary people that we honor here today. They set an example for us all.”

An officer plays the bugle call “Taps,” meant to signal the end of the day or lights out for soldiers. Fernando Haro.

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