IAFF and Families Honor Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice
September 16, 2012 – IAFF General President Harold
Schaitberger honored the lives of 154 fire fighters who died in the line of duty
at the 26th Annual Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial service in Colorado Springs on
An estimated 5,000 people attended the annual service to honor those who made
the ultimate sacrifice, including 700 IAFF affiliate Honor Guard and Pipe and
Drum corps from locals throughout North America.
Click here to watch
video of the service.
In his address to the families, President Schaitberger noted that he was in
Colorado Springs just weeks ago to survey the devastation caused by the
wildfires that destroyed nearly 350 homes in the mountain city. The damage and
suffering caused by the wildfires serve as a metaphor for the families who lost
a loved one in the line of duty, he said.
“Like these hills and these mountain neighborhoods, the landscape of your lives
has also been altered. And that feeling of adoration that this community had for
its fire fighters during that fateful time is the same feeling of love and faith
that brings us here today," he said. "We have come together here for renewal of
our spirit. We have come to reflect on the memories of those we have lost. As
the landscape surrounding this city will restore itself, so too will the scars
of your loss and of our loss.”
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach praised Local 5 members for their response to
the Waldo Canyon fire, which “came into our city like a blow torch.”
“It could have been much worse” if not for the hard work of Local 5 members and
fire fighters from surrounding areas who assisted in the response, the mayor
Prior to the formal ceremony, hundreds of family members of fallen fire fighters
huddled at the Wall of Honor, wiping tears, snapping photos and tracing the
names of their loved ones on paper provided by the Colorado Springs Fire
Department Fire Explorers.
President Schaitberger and IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer Thomas Miller then
laid a wreath at the Wall of Honor to begin the ceremony.
In his remarks, Colorado Springs Local 5 President Jeremy Kroto said he hoped
that the hundreds of families in attendance would take comfort in the ceremony
and in Memorial Park.
“While feelings of sorrow are to be expected when considering your loss, we hope
that through this ceremony and this standing memorial to selfless public service
you will find comfort in knowing that this IAFF and Local 5 will never forget
what you and your loved ones sacrificed for their communities,” he said.
Kroto said the annual ceremony at Memorial Park represents the IAFF’s enduring
commitment the memory of their fallen brothers and sisters as well as to
families of the fallen.