JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – A private memorial service was held Tuesday in Jackson for crew members of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig.
Loved ones came together for a moving tribute to the men who lost their lives in the gulf on April 20th.
A steady rain fell as family and friends left the memorial at the Jackson Convention Center honoring victims of the Deepwater Horizon Rig.
It was a chance to say goodbye and for families to find some comfort.
"It's really what the family needed," said Aaron Bryan, who traveled with relatives from Philadelphia for the service.
Aaron Dale Burkeen, of Neshoba County, who was one of the four Mississippi victims, was named after his uncle Aaron Bryan.
"This will never be closed because we didn't have the body to view and have something to say goodbye to other than just pictures and things, and this really was really touching to all of us," said Aaron Bryan.
Inside the convention center were live musical tributes by country music artists Diamond Rio, while video presentations recognized each of the 11 victims.
Four men, Aaron Dale Burkeen, Karl Kleppinger, Dewey Revette and Shane Roshto, were from Mississippi.
Country music star Trace Atkins appeared in a videotaped message for the families.
"I'm Trace Atkins. Sorry I couldn't be with you today. My heart goes out to you, and I feel your loss. Eleven men gone in an instant," said Atkins.
Aaron Dale Burkeen's uncle David Bryan was particularly moved by the country star's comments to the grieving relatives and friends.
"Trace Atkins when he mentioned the 11 and to know that he was out there on those rigs himself and he did that for six years and it really showed a lot of sympathy toward the family members, and that really helps," said David Bryan.
A hard hat representing each lost man was presented to the families.
"This is one of the most difficult days for many of us here, but for the families of our 11 lost colleagues this is just another of many difficult days," said Transocean CEO Steven Newman.
Barbie George and her husband Gerald, who works on a Transocean rig, drove eight hours from Tyler, Texas for the memorial.
She is a member of the Oil Field Wives Association and said survivors are frustrated that more attention is on the environmental impact of the explosion.
"The media is focusing on the spill and ecological damage, and there's only a brief mention that there were 11 men that died. And so for those wives of us that are sitting home dealing with that we're like 'Don't forget our men'," said Barbie George.
Hundreds attended the private service that also included soul stirring musical performances by the Joyful Gospel Choir.
The memorial was sponsored by Transocean, the contracting company that managed the oil rig.
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