Rallying to remember Rizzo

Friends and family sport vintage Rizzo campaign buttons during the 20th annual memorial service for former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo on Saturday afternoon. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)
Friends and family sport vintage Rizzo campaign buttons during the 20th annual memorial service for former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo on Saturday afternoon. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 16, 2011

Dozens of people stood in the mid-afternoon heat today in front of the Frank L. Rizzo statue on JFK Boulevard to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the former Philadelphia mayor's death.

Just after noon, a motorcade of police motorcycles and members of the GOP Riders motorcycle club arrived at the site of Rizzo's statue across from City Hall. String band Quaker City was playing and people began to kiss cheeks, shake hands and catch up.

Everyone from former Police Commissioner Joseph O'Neill to former District Attorney Lynne Abraham and several police officers gathered to remember the man they all so admired.

"He guided and protected the City of Brotherly Love in some of its most difficult times," said Father Edward Brady as he opened the ceremony with a prayer.

Some dignitaries got up to simply say they missed him, others made the crowd laugh with quotes and anecdotes.

"He roared like a lion but he had a heart like a soft marshmallow," said brother Joe Rizzo, former fire commissioner.

A remembrance mass will be held at 5 p.m. today at St. Monica Parish at 17th and Ritner streets in South Philadelphia.


Contact Claudia Vargas at cvargas@phillynews.com or 267-815-1953.

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