Calgary fallen firefighters remembered at annual memorial service
In the plaza beside Old City Hall, the noon bell rang out signalling the start of the 10th annual Calgary Fire Department Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Mayor Naheed Nenshi, members of City Council and citizens joined the Calgary Fire Department and families of the fallen in remembering 43 Calgary firefighters who gave their lives in service to their community.
“Today we honour those firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Mayor Nenshi. “We remember Calgary’s fallen firefighters—important public servants—who died due to the hazards they faced protecting the citizens of this city.”
The annual memorial event began at 11 a.m. at the Mewata Armoury where the Calgary Fire Department Honour Guard, Pipes and Drums and firefighters marched down Stephen Ave. to the Police Officers and Firefighters Tribute Plaza, located in front of the Calgary Municipal Building. The ceremony followed at noon and included a moment of silence, laying of wreaths and ringing of the bell in honour of each fallen firefighter.
“Every day, across this city, the men and women of the Calgary Fire Department give their best in service to their neighbours, and to their communities,” said Fire Chief Steve Dongworth. “Many times, that means risking their lives to protect and save others. And sometimes, it means giving their lives to keep us safe.”
The base of the outdoor memorial, which includes a three-story monument called Walls of Memory/Lantern of Light, is inscribed with the names and photos of the nine Calgary firefighters who lost their lives on active duty. Firefighters who have died from work-related illnesses have their names inscribed on plaques, which were included in today’s ceremony. During the year, the plaques are displayed at fire department headquarters.
Sadly, the Calgary Fire Department Honour Guard displayed yet another plaque this year for Francois J. Rivest, who died in 2015 from occupational cancer.
In recognition of the memorial service, fire stations across the city have lowered their flags to half-mast from sunrise to sunset. The flags will also be lowered on Sept. 11 and 17, in honour of both the Canadian Firefighters Annual Memorial Ceremony in Ottawa, Ontario, and the International Association of Fire Fighters Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
For more information on the Calgary Fire Department and our fallen firefighters, visit calgary.ca/fire.