Fallen Firefighters Memorial
|By: John Darmanin, Director|
|On September 21, 2002 I had the distinct honor of traveling to Colorado Springs to represent the Union and its members in honoring our fallen brothers and sisters in the Fire Service. There were 499 fallen firefighters who were honored this year, which included the 343 brothers who gave their lives on September 11, 2001. 74 of the honorees were actually part of last years ceremonies on September 15, however due to airline travel restrictions only 13 families were able to attend. So they were honored again this year with their family, friends and co-workers in attendance.
The remaining 85 honorees were brothers and sisters in the fire service who either gave their lives in
|the line of duty this past year or firefighters who have died in preceding years whose names have been previously omitted. This year, San Francisco had three firefighters officially honored at the memorial ceremony: William J. Moore (1988); John Jack P. Conway (1991); and James R. McDonagh (1999). Their names were read to the 10,000 persons in attendance along with the other 497 fallen firefighters who were honored this year.
There were over 10,000 people in attendance. The US Air Force performed a fly by and there was a procession of fire trucks and engines from departments across the country.
Hundreds of members from a national firefighters motorcycle club called WIND AND FIRE attended the memorial. The local chapter of this motorcycle club named the Barbary Coast were well represented by many of our own brothers which included: John Voelker, Pat Gardner, Tony Smerdel, Dave Carroll, Phil Buckley, Tim Neely, Mike Bayliss, George Smith, Jerry Gray, Warren House, Phil Leanio, Bob Hanlon, and Gino Rinaldi. Our brothers in the Barbary Coast traveled from San Francisco to New York then on to Colorado Springs for the Memorial event to conclude their journey honoring fallen firefighters. They traveled over 6,000 miles in their trip and I was told that they were enthusiastically welcomed wherever they went. They represented our Union and our Department with pride and honor. The Barbary Coast chapter of the Wind and Fire motorcycle club ensured that our Union and our Department were represented.