(UPDATE at 7 p.m. MST, July 9, 2013)
The memorial service for the Granite Mountain 19 was conducted with dignity and professionalism today. It was very well organized and gave the firefighters the honor they deserved.
More is below:
We talked with Tom Harbour after the service. He told us that three buses containing U.S Forest Service employees and a few Department of Interior personnel traveled up to Prescott from Phoenix today. The passengers included representatives of each Regional Forester, each Regional Fire Director, and representatives of the 80-plus USFS Hotshot crews.
He said the Granite Mountain Hotshots spent about 90 percent of their fire time on Forest Service incidents, and:
As you know, we’ve never had this happen to a Hotshot crew. We put so much time and energy and effort into training and oversight — I never thought this would happen, I never thought this would happen.
There are reports that representatives from virtually all of the 111 hotshot crews in the United States sent representatives to the memorial service. The photos here and the images from the live video showed what appear to be entire crews at the event.
Vice President Biden seems to have a soft spot in his heart for cops and firefighters as we reported February 20 after he made some glowing remarks about firefighters during an awards ceremony in the White House. He followed up on that today, saying “I didn’t have the privilege of knowing any of these heroes personally, but I know them. I know them because they saved the lives of my two sons when a tractor-trailer broadsided my daughter, my wife and my two sons. My wife and daughter died They saved my guys….. There’s an old saying: All men are created equal, and then a few became firefighters. Thank God for you all.”
Brendan McDonough, the surviving member of the crew, received a standing ovation when he was introduced. took the stage. After climbing the steps, he hugged all of the other speakers, then read the Hot Shots’ Prayer.
(Originally published at 8:52 a.m. MST, July 9, 2013)
Below are some photos taken before the memorial service started, which honored the 19 firefighters that were killed on the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire June 30, 2013. You can download a .pdf copy of the program for the service.
UPDATE: Quick cell phone pic. The memorial statue sent from Boise to Prescott. (sent from Bill’s cell phone at 10:44 PDT).