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Thread: 'This Heroism Will Live Forever"

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    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    'This Heroism Will Live Forever"

    Tens of Thousands Pay Respects

    LON SLEPICKA, HEATHER CASPI, DAVE J. IANNONE AND CHRIS HEBERT
    Firehouse.com News

    NEW YORK -- A driving rain fell on an especially somber day in Manhattan as tens of thousands of firefighters from around the world came to pay tribute to the fallen heroes of the Fire Department of the City of New York.

    "I wish we could turn the clock back and make it all go away," former New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani said in his remarks. "This is an act of heroism that will live forever. Our act of mourning will live until we die but this heroism will live for ever."

    In a process of tens of thousands of firefighters from around the world that consumed at least 20 city blocks, 356 flag-bearing firefighters represented each of the FDNY members who were lost in the line of duty since October 2000.

    Last year's ceremony was postponed following September 11th. Among those honored were the 343 firefighters killed in the World Trade Center attacks, nine paramedics and firefighters killed in other incidents, three retirees who perished Sept. 11 and a member of the New York Fire Patrol.

    A procession of tens of thousands of firefighters from around the world consumed at least twenty city blocks, led by 356 firefighters, including some from as Japan, France and Australia, who each bore an American flag representing an FDNY member lost in the line of duty since October 2000.


    The massive sea of blue, rain soaked, froze in silence as big screen monitors along Eighth Avenue played a video of the national anthem, sung by Firefighter Vernon Cherry, among the Bravest lost Sept. 11 on Manhattan Box 8087. Firefighters from every state marched in groups, many led by honor guards and bag pipers. More than 700 firefighters came from Toronto alone, plus large groups of dozens and hundreds from many departments.

    Inside Madison Square Garden, the arena was filled with family members and thousands of FDNY's firefighters. They watched, many teary-eyed, listening to stirring musical tributes and speeches talking of courage, valor and family from local politicians and fire service leaders.

    Among those in attendance were New York Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomburg, who opened his remarks by saying he was honored to take part in a ceremony not because the FDNY Bravest died, but what they did when they were alive.

    "Their actions have forever rewritten the history of New York City history of New York City," he said.

    In fire stations throughout the city where Bravest were lost, plaques commemorating the heroes were placed simultaneously as the service began.

    Banners with an artistic rendition of each firefighter hung from the rafters of the Garden over the crowd of some 25,000 family members, friends and FDNY Bravest.

    For more than 45 minutes, those inside the arena and tens of thousands more watched silently as the names of all those lost were read, and their names and photos displayed against an American flag image.

    When the last name -- Fire Patrolman Keith Roma -- was read, a rousing standing ovation inside the Garden lasted some five minutes, ending in clapping by the crowd in unison, as tears fell from the faces of the family and friends of those lost ... and then one final, rancous, cheer, as the emcees tried to move the service forward.

    The families of all of those lost received posthumous Medals of Valor from the FDNY, the IAFF's Memorial Media, the UFA/UFOA Medal of Supreme Sacrifice and the FDNY EMS Medal of Supreme Sacrifice for those emergency medical personnel lost.

    Also, for those lost in the Sept. 11 tragedy, families were given a special World Trade Center Medal of Valor, portraying three firefighters on one site and the firefighters name, rank and company on the opposite site. The medal was commissioned to Tiffany & Co. by FDNY. In addition, family members received a commemorative portrait of their loved one.

    The escorts for each family presented the medals to the family members present. A hand salute by all fire service personnel to the families as a bell was rung, signaling 5-5-5-5 -- a firefighter lost.

    The FDNY Emerald Society's Pipes and Drums, which has played at every funeral and memorial service for an FDNY fallen hero since Sept. 11, played its rendition of 'America the Beautiful," a musical tribute and prayer concluded the three-hour long ceremony.

    The families were then escorted out of the arena by honor guards to waiting limousines which brought them to the ceremony. Around the city, private remembrances were held at fire stations and on street corners and thousands of every day citizens watched the procession and ceremony.

    Crowd estimates were not immediately available, but including those inside the Garden, the final numbers easily could top 50,000 fire sevice personnel, friends and family.

    A parade of 356 firefighters from around the world -- each bearing an American flag representing a colleague lost in the line of duty -- marched through New York on Saturday in a massive ceremony to honor the city's fallen firefighters.

    Firehouse.com Photos
    Slide Show Photo Link Below

    http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2002se...?directory=msg


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    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    Honor Deputy Chief Raymond Downey FDNY

    AP/Chad Rachman
    A photo of a fallen New York City firefighter, Deputy Chief Raymond Downey, flashes on a screen during a memorial service at New York's Madison Square Garden Saturday, Oct. 12, 2002, honoring FDNY members lost in the line of duty over the past two years.

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