(KYTX) - East Texas firefighters have returned home from what they describe as an emotional memorial service in Waco.
The 12 West first responders who died in the explosion were honored by thousands of their fellow comrades.
Pictures show a special brotherhood of firefighters standing under the American flag, remembering members of their professional family who are no longer with them.
Fire trucks and ambulances lined the streets of Waco Thursday, some of those from right here in East Texas.
"If you haven't been to a firefighter funeral, that was the one to be at, because that one will show you how respectful we are of our firefighter brothers and sisters," said Lance Harrod, Winona Firefighter.
East Texas firefighters participated in the processional, later attending the service where dignitaries, including the governor and president, offered words of comfort.
"It was just touching, you listen to the family talk, you listen to everyone talk about the firemen, they were just great guys," said Eric Lowry.
Eric Lowry works for the Dixie Volunteer Fire Department. He showed us the black bands that are now on their trucks and badges.
"A mourning band is what we call it. It just shows that we lost someone in the line of duty," explained Lowry.
A life lost, that hit home for Winona firefighter Ryan Cobb, when he looked down at the 12 flag draped coffins.
"It was just a very sad and surreal moment...that we can all face something similar to that," said Cobb.
These firefighters said they came together on Thursday, not to just be a part of a grand display, but, to show their support.
"That's what we're there for, as a brother to them, a shoulder to cry on, whatever we can do to help," said Lowry.
Our local firefighters have been raising money for the West Volunteer Fire Department. So far, in Smith County alone, they raised nearly $50,000 and they expect more donations to come in within the next week.