Emotional memorial service held for West explosion victims

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by KVUE.com and Associated Press

kvue.com

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 25 at 5:41 PM

WACO, Texas -- Thousands arrived at Baylor University in Waco to say goodbye to the 14 people killed in last week's fertilizer plant explosion.

A procession of hundreds of firefighters from as far as New York and British Columbia made their way to Waco Thursday morning for what was an emotional service. Many people lined up as early as 4 a.m. to watch the procession.

The memorial service began around 2:30 p.m. with music and personal video tributes to the first responders who lost their lives helping others. They talked about their friendships, their families and their selfless love for the job. The message over and over again was service above self.

President Barack Obama, Governor Rick Perry and Senator John Cornyn spoke.

Security was tight and everyone was screened and searched before the memorial service began at Baylor's Ferrell Center. KVUE spoke with a fire chief from Corpus Christi. He said the support being seen is a powerful representation of what it means to be a firefighter.

Firefighters and other first responders were among those killed when the plant exploded. Hundreds were injured and part of the town was leveled, destroying many homes.

President Obama ordered the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff Thursday at federal buildings and military facilities in Texas.

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