Firefighters’ memorial service streaming live on Internet

The memorial service at Dodger Stadium for the two firefighters killed on the Station Fire, Tedmund Hall and Arnaldo Quinones, is being streamed live on the Internet by the ABC station in Los Angeles. It is also available on Directv on channel 393. The service started at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

According to the program, speakers will include Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, County Supervisor Don Knabe, County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman and leaders of two firefighter associations.

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UPDATE during the service:

The comments from all of the speakers were moving. A couple of quotes from the Vice President, a past chair of the Congressional Fire Service Caucus, were especially memorable:

It’s an awful fraternity to belong to … the fraternity of the fallen.

All men are created equal. A few become firefighters.

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UPDATE after the service:

The LA Times covered the service HERE. Below is an excerpt from their article:

“There is very little we can do today that is going to provide genuine solace,” Biden told the firefighters’ families. But noting the firefighting brotherhood that was in evidence at the ceremony, he promised them that eventually they would “draw strength from this, if not today, tomorrow, next week, next year.”

“We all say things like, ‘We never forget.’ These guys mean it,” he said, gesturing to the firefighters in the crowd. “They will never forget – any time, any problem, under any circumstances, you will have a family bigger than your own to go to.”

The stadium was silent as Biden descended into the visitors’ dugout after his speech. Fire officials could be seen patting him on the back in the dugout; Biden watched the rest of the ceremony there.

Dodger Stadium had taken on a somber tone. Hundreds of red, yellow and green firetrucks cruised under two large American flags hanging from firefighters’ ladders and ringed the stadium. Flags lining the upper deck of the stadium were lowered to half-staff. A speaker’s platform had been set up over home plate, flanked by huge shocks of flowers and stands that were holding the firefighters’ helmets and boots.

“We are blind to the fact that we are all from different agencies,” said U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Anthony Powers, who worked frequently with Hall. “We’re all here for the same reason – to support the families and because we all lost somebody…. It’s like losing a family member.”

After the service, firefighters embraced and many lingered in their seats and watched a slide show of Hall and Quinones on the large screens that typically show highlights, scores and players’ statistics.

“Family is what this is,” Asst. Chief Gary Burden said on the way out. “These guys made the ultimate sacrifice and it touches every one of us to the core.”

A video report from MSNBC:

(THE VIDEO IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+