In a solemn remembrance echoing centuries of firehouse tradition, uniformed firefighters, family members and grateful citizens gathered in the heart of California’s capital Saturday, paying tribute to those who paid the ultimate price.
The 16th Annual California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony, held Saturday, September 29, 2018, recognized 37 California firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Their names were added to nearly 1,400 inscribed on the brushed limestone wall of the California Firefighters Memorial in in Sacramento’s Capitol Park, recognizing California firefighters who have died in the line of duty since California became a state in 1850.
“These 37 fallen heroes are now inscribed into the history of California,” said Brian K. Rice, president of California Professional Firefighters and chair of the California Fire Foundation “Forever after, our fellow citizens will look at this wall, touch the names etched into it and admire their courage. We miss them terribly, but we will never forget what they gave to all of us.””
The midday ceremony includes a solemn procession of uniformed firefighters and the presentation of flags to family members of the 37 honorees. The ceremony also featured the traditional ringing of the “Last Alarm” and tributes from firefighters and dignitaries alike.
“California firefighters represent the very best our state has to offer,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, one of those who addressed the Memorial. “We owe a debt to these 37 heroes and their families. We can do that best by giving our firefighters every resource they need to do their job well and safely.”
The California Firefighters Memorial honors firefighters who died in the line of duty, whether from traumatic injury or job-related illness. In addition to remarks from fire service dignitaries, Long Beach Battalion Chief Jeff Hardin also spoke in remembrance of a fallen colleague, Long Beach Fire Captain David Rosa. Rosa was gunned down this past June while responding to an explosion and fire.
The Memorial Ceremony comes at a time where the cost of the job has been especially steep. Among those being added to the Memorial is Cory Iverson, a CAL FIRE firefighter who lost his life battling last December’s Thomas Fire. This past summer, four more firefighters lost their lives battling California’s ferocious wildfires. These heroes will be honored at next year’s California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony.
Unveiled in April of 2002, the California Firefighters Memorial features two stunning statues and a dramatic Memorial Wall on which the names of nearly 1,400 fallen firefighters are now engraved. The Memorial was created without any state funding through private contributions to the California Fire Foundation, most of them directly from firefighters.
The annual ceremony is conducted by the California Fire Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization created by California Professional Firefighters in 1987. The Foundation’s mission is to aid fallen firefighter families and the communities they protect through an array of public education and victim assistance projects. California Professional Firefighters (CPF) represents 30,000 career firefighters and paramedics. It has over 170 affiliated local unions, and is the State Council for the International Association of Fire Fighters.
MEDIA: Downloadable photos, video from the ceremony, links to photos and bios of honorees, and background on the Memorial at www.cafirefoundation.org/media.
Photos and video may be used and published without restriction. Please credit: California Fire Foundation.