Firefighters are a group of our Nation’s unsung heroes that we all take for granted everyday. In every city or town, paid or volunteer, they answer the call not knowing if it will be their last. They risk their own lives to save lives and help protect and preserve property. To honor our Fallen Firefighters, communities all across America build Firefighter memorials to reflect on their courage and pay our respects. But more so, these Firefighter monuments are in place to never forget their sacrifice.
I grew up as a volunteer firefighter’s kid. My stepfather answered calls from house fires to vehicle accident rescues. Almost every weekend, there was always something to do to support the firemen (all men back then) and their families. I remember every summer, spending my time traveling to Firemen’s Festivals in northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern New York along the shores of Lake Erie.
Small town volunteer fire department firefighters held fundraisers and competed in events. And every Saturday, they got to show off their red shiny fire and rescue apparatus’. Local town fire departments also competed in parade marching. Their dress uniforms were impeccable; a vast difference from their turnout gear.
In fact, as a Firefighter’s daughter, one of my own support roles was to carry our Fire Company’s banner in the parades. So, it was instilled in me to have a deepened sense of gratitude and appreciation for our Nation’s bravest.
But, there’s always those sad moments, especially Memorial Day, when we honor our fallen firefighters; the men and women in turnout gear who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In large cities and small communities across the United States, Firefighter Memorials of every shape and size are there for us to pay our respects. Anytime we find them through our travels, we make it a point to stop to visit them.
So, we’ll show you just a handful of heartfelt life-size sculptures, granite monuments, and walls with the names of Fallen Firefighters. We hope that this article entices you to visit and pay your respect to them.
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75+ Must Visit Firefighter Memorials and Monuments in the U.S.
Before we spotlight some of the most impressive Firefighter Memorials, let’s first learn a little about what happens after a Firefighter’s last call?
What is the symbol for a Fallen Firefighter?
The Maltese Cross is the Firefighters’ symbol of protection. It’s their badge of courage, honor and respect to the profession and the family. The Firefighter’s Maltese Cross signifies to those brave men and women that they are willing to lay down their lives for others.
The Firefighters Maltese Cross can be seen on monuments, fire truck and fire apparatus, and firefighter’s badges. Some of our Nation’s bravest will also memorialize their Fallen Brothers and Sisters with a permanent tattoo.
What is a full Fireman’s funeral?
I hardly wish for anyone to watch or take part in a Fireman’s funeral. It’s incredibly sad and gut wrenching. But it’s a necessary honor to bestow on a Fallen Firefighter as they gave their all so we all could sleep safely in our homes and live our lives to our fullest.
A Firefighter funeral is a quiet and somber moving exhibit that honors the Fallen. Firefighters from the Fallen’s Company or Ladder escort their Brother or Sister followed by other Fire Department Companies from all over the Country and even globally. The Fire Apparatus in which the Fallen served on will also be part of the somber escort.
Each Firefighter wears their best Class A uniform and shrouded badge. There will be bagpipers and drums will be the sound you will hear along with the footsteps of the marchers.
At the Fallen Firefighter’s final resting place, there will be a memorial service, folding of the Flag and a bell rang to signify their Last Call or Last Alarm. Then, they all depart, the family returns to their empty home in hopes their husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, brother or sister won’t ever be forgotten.
This is why Fire Departments, Ladders and Hose Companies enact Firefighter Memorials. So, they won’t be forgotten. These monuments are a place for family, friends and their Brothers and Sisters to reflect, remember and pay their respects. And, we should too.
Highlights of Firefighters Memorials Monuments we’ve visited
National Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Emmitsburg, Maryland
In May 2015, we visited the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial and Fallen Firefighters Chapel in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Just short drive across the state line from Gettyburg, Pennsylvania, it’s a monumental destination that every American should visit.
Constructed in 1981 on the same grounds as the National Firefighter Academy, the Fallen Firefighter Memorial memorializes every Firefighter who served anywhere in the United States. It’s officially designated as a National Memorial paying tribute to the Americana Fire Service.
Whenever a Firefighter falls in the line of duty, fire officials from his or her department contacts the U.S. Fire Administration. Immediately, flags are flown half mast over the Memorial to honor the Fallen Firefighter. Soon after, the Fallen’s name is name is included on the memorial wall for the year of his or her ultimate sacrifice.
Having visited there myself, I encourage you to spend at least a couple hours at the Memorial. Visit the National Memorial Park. Read and say the countless names of the Fallen. Stroll and read the names on the Walk of Honor and visit the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel and the huge 9/11 Memorial. And, don’t miss the Pre-1981 Memorial.
The National Fallen Firefighter Memorial is free of charge and open to the Public year round. However, be advise that it’s located inside the security-fenced campus. Therefore, be prepared to show proper identification for admittance.
Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park – Yarnell, Arizona
If you’ve take the time to watch the movie, Only the Brave, you’d know the yellow-shirt Hotshot Firefighters heart-wrenching story of their ultimate sacrifice fighting a wildfire on Granite Mountain, also called the Yarnell Hill Fire.
On June 30, 2013, the wildfire caused by dry lightening resulted in 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots to perish at the scene. The wildland fire crew died as they were overrun by flames in a box canyon. The fire became too intense and moving too quickly for their shelters to protect them.
Dedicated in 2016, shortly after Yarnell’s devastating loss in 2013, the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park has become a 7 mile round trip hike to remember. With every step, hikers will better understand each of these men’s experience. But also, to honor each of the Fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots as a fire team and as individual firefighters.
The park contains two hiking trails, the 2.85-mile Hotshots Trail from the parking lot to the Observation Deck, and the Journey Trail, a .75-mile trail down to the Fatality Site. Entrance and exit from the park can only be done at the Hotshots parking lot, you must hike 7-miles round trip to return.
An important note, the trail can be challenging. It can take up to five hours to complete, so be prepared for your hike. Depending on what time of you year, take plenty of water. Visiting hikers can leave moments on the remembrance wall. There is a shuttle service available since parking is minimal.
The Firemen’s Memorial – Boston, Massachusetts
One of the most impressive monuments in New York City’s Manhattan district is the Fireman’s Memorial in Riverside Park along the Hudson River. Dedicated in 1913, the Fireman’s Memorial stands to remind and educate the city’s residents about the selfless courage of New York’s bravest. It’s a monstrous 20′ tall, 37′ wide and 10′ deep with groups of life-size sculptures on either end of the monument.
The marble monument sets upon a terraced concrete staircase leading to a plaza, and fountain basin. It has a massive bronze bas-relief of horses drawn fire apparatus to a fire with the words “Duty” and “Sacrifice”.
Every Fall, the city recognizes the heroic acts and loss of New York’s Fallen Firefighters at the Memorial. The Mayor and thousands of local Firefighters gather for a ceremonial visit to pay their respects.
Following the days and weeks of 9/11, the Fireman’s Memorial became a shrine and place of vigil for mourners.
FDNY Memorial Wall – New York City, New York
The FDNY Memorial Wall, located at FDNY Engine 10 Ladder 10 directly across from what was Ground Zero. It’s been dedicated to the 343 members of the NYC Fire Department and to Glenn J. Winuk, volunteer firefighter and partner of Holland & Knight who died in the line of duty on 9-11.
The memorial was unveiled 5 years later on the side of “10 House,” home to Engine Company 10 and Ladder Company 10. It is the first large-scale monument erected at ground zero, spanning 56 feet end to end.
This memorial will be etched in the minds of visitors who step forth for a closer look. The Firefighters Memorial displays the burning twin towers as the second jet hit the World Trade Center. There’s several depictions of what the FDNY Firefighters endured that tragic day of the attack.
Today, visitors can get pencil scrubbings on paper of the names of the Fallen Firefighters lost that tragic day to help bring closure and solace.
Fallen Firefighter Memorial – Colorado Springs, Colorado
In Colorado Springs, the International Association of Fallen Firefighters Memorial depicting a firefighter carrying a child while scaling a ladder overlooks Pikes Peak. More than 170 Colorado Fallen Firefighter’s names are engraved to remind us of their ultimate sacrifice and honor the men and women who died doing with they loved.
Erected in 1986, the firefighter’s monument is visited by thousands every year. Later, a memorial wall was added to the memorial that displays about 3000 names of Fallen Firefighters who died in the line of duty.
Each September, visitors from all over gather to honor and remember firefighters and first responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
Charleston 9 Memorial Park – South Carolina
Four days following their tragic sacrifices, a procession of more than 300 fire and rescue apparatus’ rolled silently along a 7.5 mile somber stretch. Passing each of the three fire stations of the Fallen Firefighters, the march also passed the grim site that took their lives. Firefighters and Peace Officers from afar all paid their respects. More than 30,000 grieving firefighters and civilians wept as they saluted or held their hands over their hearts as the procession honoring the Fallen passed silently.
Today, a decade and a half later, located at 1807 Savannah Highway, the humble Charleston 9 Memorial Park’s pathway leads visitors from the parking area to the flagpole and plaque located in the center of the park. The 9 markers in the park represent the location of each of the Fallen Firefighters.
The City of Charleston is planning to further improve the Memorial Park which is adjacent of the new Charleston Fire Station 11. The Station that looks out to the Charleston 9 Memorial Park has 9 windows.
Worcester Firefighter’s Memorial – Massachusetts
On a frigidly cold December 3, 1999, a five-alarm fire at the Worcester Cold Storage & Warehouse Co. building claimed the lives of six of Worcester Massachusetts’ bravest who responded to the call. The Worcester 6, sacrificed their lives while trying to rescue two individuals who were thought to be trapped in the raging fire.
Today, the Worcester Firefighter’s Memorial is a tribute to the Worcester 6 on the very spot where the warehouse once stood.
The memorial consists of 3 elements to memorialize the Brave. A detailed firefighter sculpture looks onto a folded fireman’s topcoat with a fireman’s helmet resting on top. A 12′ x 6′ granite wall depicting six firefighters all working together finishes the monument. And finally, there’s a plaque affixed to the front of the pedestal the that reads, “On this site on December 3, 1999, six brave Worcester firefighters lost their lives in the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse Fire.“
Another monument joined the Worcester 6 in the same park. It displays a single bronze helmet replicating that of Fallen Firefighter, Jon Davies. His plaque reads “From this Station, Firefighter Jon D. Davies, Sr. answered his Final Alarm. Box 12-07 for 49 Arlington St. December 8, 2011.”
A catastrophic building collapse claimed the life of Firefighter Jon D. Davies Sr. He selflessly laid down his life performing his firefighting and rescue duty on December 8, 2011.
You can learn about each of the heroic firemen on their website. Anyone wishing to pay their respects at the Worcester Firefighter’s Memorial may visit the Franklin Street Fire Station on 266 Franklin Street. Ironically, its the former site of Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse Fire. The tribute is located on the left-hand side of the main entrance.
The Wildlands Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Wildland Firefighters Monument – Boise, Idaho
Interagency Wildland Firefighter Monument – Boise Idaho
Fallen Firefighters Memorial Plaza – Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana Law Enforcement and Firefighters Memorial – Indianapolis, Indiana
Iowa Firefighters Memorial – Coralville, Iowa
Kansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial and Museum – Wichita, Kansas
Kentucky Fallen Firefighter Memorial – Frankfort, Kentucky
Louisiana Fallen Firefighter Memorial – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Maine Firefighters Memorial – Augusta, Maine (Capitol Park)
Maryland Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial – Annapolis, Maryland
Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Boston, Massachusetts
Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial – Pontiac, Michigan
Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial – St. Paul, Minnesota
Mississippi Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial – Jackson, Mississippi
Missouri State Fire Fighters Memorial – Kingdom City, Missouri
Montana State Firefighters Memorial – Laurel, Montana
Nebraska Firefighters & EMS Memorial – Kearney, Nebraska
Nevada Firefighters Memorial – Carson City, Nevada
New Hampshire Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Concord, New Hampshire
New Jersey Fallen Firefighter Memorial – Allentown, New Jersey
New Mexico does not have a state Fallen Firefighters Memorial
North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Raleigh, North Carolina
North Dakota Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial – Garrison, North Dakota
The Ohio Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial – Reynoldsburg, Ohio (no information found)
Ohio Police & Fire Memorial Park – Columbus, Ohio
Oklahoma State Fire Fighters Fallen and Living Memorial – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial – Salem, Oregon
Pennsylvania Fallen Fire Fighter’s Memorial – Harrisburg (yet to be erected)
Rhode Island Firefighters Memorial – Providence, Rhode Island
South Carolina Firemen’s Memorial Garden – Columbia, South Carolina
South Dakota Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial – Pierre, South Dakota
Tennessee Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Bell Buckle, Tennesee
Volunteer Firemen Monument – Austin, Texas
Utah Firefighter Museum and Memorial – Tooele, Utah
Public Safety Memorial – Pittsford, Vermont (no information found)
Commonwealth Public Safety Memorial – Richmond, Virginia
Washington State Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial – North Bend, Washington (no information found)
West Virginia Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial – Charleston, West Virginia
Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial – Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
Wyoming Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Riverton, Wyoming
City and Town Fallen Firefighter Memorials and Monuments
In most large cities in America, each has their own Fallen Firefighter memorial or monument. Even some smaller cities and towns honor America’s bravest as well. These are only a handful amongst thousands across the United States. We encourage you to look for them everywhere you travel.
Firemen’s Monument – Hoboken, New Jersey
New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Albany, New York
Cleveland Fire Fighters Memorial – Cleveland, Ohio
Butler County Fallen Firefighter and EMS Provider Memorial – Hamilton, Ohio
Fireman’s Drinking Fountain – Slatington, Pennsylvania
Firefighter Memorial – Pittston, Pennsylvania
Vigilant Fire Company Firemen’s Monument – Washington Township, Pennsylvania
Collyer Monument – Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Fallen Firefighters Memorial – Seattle, Washington
Peshtigo Fire Cemetery and Fire Museum – Peshtigo, Wisconsin
St. Maries 1910 Fire Memorial – St. Maries, Idaho
Wallace 1910 Fire Memorial – Wallace, Idaho
Michigan Firemen’s Memorial – Roscommon, Michigan
Coos Bay Firefighters Memorial – Coos Bay, Oregon
Final thoughts on visiting these Firefighter Memorials and Monuments
I have to say, this was one of the most profound articles to write. Our Nation’s brave Fallen Firefighters deserve our utmost respect and appreciation. These men and women take an oath to put others lives before their own to save life and property. Their sacrifice should never be forgotten.
Which is why every American needs to take time to pay their respects to these brave heroes. These firefighter memorials and monuments represent the firefighters who have tragically and heroically given their lives. They served with unimaginative courage and died in the line of duty. We will never forget.
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