2018 IAFF Fallen Firefighters Memorial Observance

October 31, 2018

On September 13th, the names of David Moorman and Kelly Wong were added to the Wall at the IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial. Relief Association Trustees, along with the LAFRA Family Support Group, traveled with Amy Moorman and Danielle Wong, and their family and friends to Colorado Springs. They were joined there by more of the LAFD contingent: UFLAC, the Fire Hogs, and more of our own firefighters.

This event is more than a one-day affair. It kicked off with a dinner on Thursday evening at the Hotel Eleganté. The “Meatball Dinner” is hosted by Rose, whose son was a FDNY firefighter killed on 9/11. In 2002, Rose began a tradition where she personally made, by hand, a meatball for every person attending the memorial dinner. She wanted something where everyone traveling from far away could sit down to dinner together as a family. But unfortunately, this was the last time that Rose will host the dinner. We will miss Rose’s warm, maternal smile, but hopefully the tradition will be carried on by someone new.

Thursday is also the first opportunity to visit the Memorial at night. All lit up, the Wall at night is something very special to see. Amy and Danielle both had private time to spend with their loved ones there.

On Friday evening, there has been a long tradition of closing off the downtown streets as the Pipes and Drums Band takes over. The families gather for dinner at a downtown restaurant and the Pipes and Drum parade spills into the restaurant for a special performance.

A procession on a very warm Saturday morning wound through the town and poured into Memorial Park, with a beautiful view of Pikes Peak setting the backdrop. Thousands lined the streets and then jammed the park, while more than 1,200 honor guard members from across the country marched in the procession. Even the LAFD Fire Hogs participated in the procession, riding their bikes all the way from LA.

In a very moving ceremony, 271 firefighter’s names were read out. Of those, 19 died of illnesses associated with the aftermath of the 9/11 attack when firefighters were called upon to dig through the toxic rubble at ground zero. At the conclusion of the ceremony, family and colleagues had an opportunity to approach the Wall to pay their respects on this very hallow ground.

We were honored that Jan Graff (widow of Jay Graff) and Karen Prosser (widow of Darrayle Prosser) were able to attend this year’s Memorial along with many LAFD firefighters. The entire Memorial event is a stirring and touching experience that you will not soon forget. Every firefighter should attend at least once in their life.

“The IAFF will ensure that the ceremony remains an uplifting one for the families, friends and loved ones, and that it celebrates the lives, heroism and accomplishments of our union’s bravest of the brave,” says a post on the website for the Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 5.

By Diane Vigil, LAFRA Family Support Group

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