IAFF’s fallen fire fighter memorial adds over 500 names

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Over 500 fire fighters honoured at IAFF memorial

The IAFF’s Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial has newly inscribed more than 500 names on its granite walls.

These names represent the members who bravely gave their lives between 2021 and 2022.

The tribute took place in a solemn ceremony in Colorado Springs on September 16.

A tribute to the heroes

General President Edward Kelly spoke during the ceremony: “It’s not how they died, but how they lived. Every fire fighter, regardless of background or birth, is united by a common purpose: the desire to serve.”

He acknowledged the various risks fire fighters undertake, from occupational cancer to fatal injuries.

Kelly said: “This job, this calling of ours, takes far too many lives far too soon. Our union, this IAFF, honours their sacrifice by promising to make our dangerous job as safe as possible.”

Local community pride in the IAFF memorial

Curt Crumb, Colorado Springs Local 5 President, expressed the immense pride and responsibility that Local 5 feels in overseeing the IAFF Memorial.

He conveyed his sentiments: “We are blessed to be here for you; we are honoured to be a part of this ceremony with you.

“Know that when you choose to come back, you can expect the men and women of Local 5 to be here for you then, just as we are now.”

Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade emphasised the need to prioritise the safety of our fire fighters: “One fire fighter lost is one too many. All communities here and beyond must continue to work to ensure our fire fighters can operate under the safest conditions possible.”

Honouring the fallen

Following Mayor Mobolade’s remarks, IAFF Honor Guard members read out the names of the departed, ringing a bell for each name and presenting flags to the families.

The bell rang 572 times, honouring each individual who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the inclusion of line-of-duty deaths from both 2021 (243 members) and 2022 (211 members).

Additionally, 118 line-of-duty deaths, spanning from 1918 to 2020, were added this year.

These members had succumbed to occupational diseases that were only recently acknowledged as line-of-duty fatalities.

The memorial now bears the names of 9,224 IAFF members.

Edward Kelly closed the ceremony with a heartfelt message: “Men and women who, regardless of their station in life, were united in the most important way: they were fire fighters.

“May we always tell their stories, honour their memories, and celebrate their lives.”

IFSJ Comment

The act of commemorating fallen fire fighters serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made daily by these heroes.

The IAFF memorial in Colorado Springs stands as a testament to the bravery and dedication of thousands.

By updating the memorial with the names of those who gave their lives, we not only remember their service but also recommit to ensuring a safer future for all fire fighters.

Keeping their stories alive underscores the commitment, passion, and community spirit that epitomises the fire fighting profession.

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