Today's memorial service to celebrate lives of three slain officers
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This afternoon's memorial service for the three city police officers killed Saturday will be a somber but uplifting celebration of their lives, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chaplain John Welch said yesterday.
"We want to create time and space for the grieving families to come together and celebrate the memory of their loved ones in a personal way," said the Rev. Welch, dean of students at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and head of the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network.
The memorial service at the University of Pittsburgh's Petersen Events Center begins at 1 p.m. with a procession in which the families of the three officers will follow their loved one's casket into the auditorium.
In addition to state, county and city officials, the procession will include Catholic Bishop David Zubik, the Rev. Welch, and other religious leaders from throughout the city.
City officials, who expect 15,000 to 20,000 police officers from across the United States and Canada to attend, said the doors of the Petersen Events Center will open at 10 a.m., and members of the public will be seated after police and other officials. A number of rooms in the center have been designated for overflow seating for the crowd, according to Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Diane Richard.
Bishop Zubik will offer the invocation and closing prayers at the service, which is expected to last between two and three hours, said the Rev. Welch, who added that he will "offer a few words of comfort."
A quartet of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will perform throughout the service, and the key speakers include Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who is expected to give a welcoming address, and city Public Safety Director Mike Huss.
Each of the families of the deceased officers will have a family member or close friend make a few remarks on behalf of the family, and one religious leader -- two pastors in the United Methodist Church and a Catholic priest -- will speak on behalf of each of the slain officers.
Police Chief Nate Harper will eulogize all three officers. Also participating in the service will be Deputy Police Chief Paul Donaldson and a representative of the Fraternal Order of Police.
First Published April 9, 2009 12:00 am