Only days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, the close knit Lethbridge firefighting community paid their respects to fallen brothers and sisters Friday morning.
Around the world, Sept. 11 has become a memorial for first responders. While Lethbridge firefighters may not have been on the ground that day, Fire Chief Richard Hildebrand said they remember exactly where they were when it happened, and how it has affected their lives since.
“It was just such a devastating day for the fire service,” Hildebrand said. “We knew that firefighters were entering those buildings. We knew they were in there when they were collapsing.
“Everyone was shocked.”
The march was led down 4 Avenue S to the Yates Theatre where the official ceremony took place.
There was a haunting moment when two firefighters read out the names of every man and woman in North America who lost their lives in the line of duty this year. One hundred sixty seven consecutive names were read, each followed by the ring of a bell.
Wreaths were laid to remember those lost far away, and here at home.
Bev Kurtz laid one for her late husband, Edward Kenneth Kurtz, who passed away from colon cancer in 2004 after 35 years of service with the Lethbridge Fire Department.
“It means a lot,” Kurtz said. “I’ve been to every one that they’ve had since it started and I think everybody should see it once.
“It’s a very touching ceremony. It brings back a lot of memories.”
It was a touching memorial service to pay tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and to honour those who continue to serve.