Every third day as we set out for work, we strap on our destiny and hope that it will lead us home the very next day. Each October we are given an opportunity to gather with great pride and respect to honor those whose destiny didnt lead them home. The Annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial is an event that brings people together from all over the state of Arizona to reflect upon and celebrate the lives of fallen fire fighters. We continue this time honored tradition for both the immediate families and for our fire fighter families who still grieve and celebrate those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
It is also in October that we pledge to replace all of the old crosses which have become weathered over the previous twelve months. These crosses have been symbolically placed at the location of each fallen fire fighters last moments of life. Each cross represents such admiration, appreciation, and love, not only for the fallen fire fighter, but for their unfinished lives which includes their family and friends who have been left behind.
Another tradition that continues to be carried on throughout all of the stations across the valley and at the Local 493 office is the pictures of the fallen fire fighters. This framed collage of their portraits is hung in every station and the union office. The Mountain Preserve Reception Center, along with the union office, has another unique display of the pictures of the fallen fire fighters. Their portraits are found in the rungs of a ladder hanging on the wall at each of these two locations.
All of these caring gestures are an attempt to remember those who gave their lives to help save others. It is very easy to go to work, process through each call, perform tasks and duties required of each of us. As we continue to do what we are trained and educated for, lets not forget those who came before us and who are no longer with us. They went to work one day and didnt go home to their families. Take time to look at their pictures, think of their lives, and remember that their families are our families, still.
Benevolently and Fraternally,