On stage at the Palestra, amid the rows and rows of officers in dress uniforms and family members in black and the flowers that surrounded Officer Robert Wilson III's casket, a list of names was read.

Ten, including Wilson, in the last nine years. Cassidy, Nazario, McDonald, and Skerski. Lorenzo and Pawlowski, Simpson and Liczbinski. Moses Walker, who worked alongside Wilson in the 22d Police District. All killed in the line of duty. All with lives ahead of them.

And Officer Robert Wilson, Badge 9990: Two sons. Eight years on the force. A tight-knit family. A house in West Philadelphia. A home with the 22d District. An enormous, memorable, unmistakable smile.

And, speaker after speaker at his funeral said, a remarkable courage - so much so that city officials announced they would name the city's Medal of Valor after him.

On Saturday, Wilson was hailed as a hero and given a funeral fit for one. Before the sun rose, hundreds of officers followed the caisson carrying his body in the dark and the rain to the Palestra, where hundreds more stood at attention in the stands.

The members of the 22d District sat together. They had rushed to the scene of Wilson's death March 5 - to the video-game store where he had fought two armed robbers, drawing their fire away from customers until he was killed by a shot to the head.

On Saturday, members of the 22d District saluted his coffin. They listened to the speakers. They used their white dress gloves to wipe away tears.

Mayor Nutter spoke, quoting Romans 12:1: "Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice." He turned to Wilson's family:

"We will never leave you. We will never forget you. We will always be with you." He called Wilson an American hero.

A slide show played as he spoke: photos of Wilson as a boy, in enormous eyeglasses. Affecting a rare serious expression, in a graduation photo. Flashing that wide grin, next to his patrol car.

Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey spoke, without notes: "I don't think there's anybody in this room that wants to be here right now."

He talked about the security camera that captured Wilson's final moments - "a blessing and a curse." The video was haunting, he said. Painful. But it made him proud to have walked beside someone as brave as Robert Wilson.

He had met Wilson once, briefly, last summer.

"Little did I know I was shaking hands with someone I would come to admire so much," Ramsey said.

Wilson was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Medal of Valor that now bears his name - the department's highest honors. He was posthumously promoted to sergeant.

"I have never witnessed an act of bravery like that I saw that day. Never," Ramsey said. "It's one of the bravest days we've ever seen anyone live."

On the stage at the Palestra, colleagues choked up as they spoke about Wilson's familiar smile and his silly laugh. He loved to play video games, but hated when he lost. He doted on his sons. He had recently fallen in love.

"I miss my man," said his partner, Officer Damien Stevenson, who had been waiting outside for him during the fatal shooting and, pursuing Wilson's killers, shot one in the leg. He felt safe around Wilson, he said.

"All we did was have fun," he said.

His colleagues gave him a standing ovation as he sat down. Ramsey told Stevenson he was proud of him.

The day was marked by the trappings of an officer's funeral: the drone of bagpipes as Wilson's casket was carried to a hearse, the scores of officers saluting his casket, the roar of the motorcycle escort to the cemetery.

And in the midst of it all, Wilson's family: his sister, brother, and grandparents. The extended family members who lingered at his coffin and hugged his sons: Quahmier, who turned 10 on Monday, and Robert IV, just 1 year old.

Ramsey, speaking from the stage, said the family's strength had made him feel better.

He asked Quahmier to tell his brother what his dad had been like. How brave he had been. How much he had loved them.

It would take courage, Ramsey said. But he was confident Quahmier could do it.

"Because," Ramsey said, "you're your daddy's son."

When the commissioner left the stage, Quahmier Wilson got up from his seat. A relative hustled him toward an exit. His face twisted from the effort, but the little boy kept his composure all the way down the aisle until he was out of the cavernous auditorium and into the corridor.

Back inside, hundreds of officers stood and applauded as the commissioner stood in front of the casket with Robert Wilson's medals. Behind them, Quahmier Wilson's sobs echoed in the hall.

215-854-2961 @aubreyjwhelan