Nearly 10,000 people packed the Ferrell Center at Baylor University Thursday to honor the 12 first responders, who lost their lives in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
High in the air, a US flag hung between two ladder trucks as one by one, first responder vehicles from all over the state drove underneath. Firefighters and medics stood by, saluting each truck that passed.
"If it was one of us in our community, they would do the same thing. It was an honor. They gave their lives for us," said Bill Boyles, an Atascocita, TX firefighter.
The processional to honor the first responders killed in the West explosion lasted more than an hour. Through it all, retired firefighter Mark Turner stood with his hat over his heart and a Texas flag in hand.
"I am so proud of my state, I am so proud of my state. And I can't believe this, it's unreal. It's brought a lot of tears to my eyes today," Turner said.
By the time the processional was over, hundreds of first responder trucks packed the streets outside of the memorial site.
Inside, 12 caskets draped with flags were placed next to photos of the victims. There was silence as the thousands in attendance stood while family members filed in. Some of those family members spoke in an emotional video eulogy.
Texas Governor Rick Perry praised the courage of those fallen first responders.
"Ordinary individuals with extraordinary courage," Perry said.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were also at the memorial to pay their respects.
"Our hearts have been in Texas," President Obama said.
He assured the family members, friends, and community of West they are not alone.