California Firefighters Memorial
Memorial and 15th anniversary tribute honors California's fallen heroes
Uniformed firefighters, family members, and dignitaries from throughout California gathered on the grounds of the State Capitol on Saturday, September 30, to pay tribute to those who gave their lives to protect the state and its citizens.
This year’s ceremony, which saw the names of 31 fallen firefighters added to the Memorial Wall, also commemorated the Memorial’s 15th anniversary, and was accompanied by an evening tribute that honored the memory of the more than 1,300 firefighters whose names are etched upon the Memorial Wall.
“Today and here after, the people of California will come to this hallowed place. They will gaze upon these walls, they will run their fingers across your loved ones names and admire their courage and they will never forget what the last true measure of devotion is,” said Lou Paulson, chair of the California Fire Foundation and president of California Professional Firefighters.” Yes, we will miss them more than words can say, but we are so proud of them for their duty, courage and sacrifice.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was among those paying their respects at the ceremony, which featured a solemn procession of uniformed firefighters and the presentation of flags to representatives and family members of the 31 honorees.
“We can never say thank you enough to the brave men and women who give service – and their life – to keep us safe,” Becerra said. “Today we memorialize 31 firefighters who answered the call to keep our promise that their courage and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
During this year’s ceremony, Dave Clark, a firefighter-paramedic with the Ventura County Fire Department paid tribute to his fallen friend and fellow firefighter Ryan Osler, who was killed while battling the Canyon Fire in 2014, while also honoring the hundreds of heroes who fell before him.
“We will never forget them or the sacrifices they have made,” Clark said. “This monument, etched with the names of the fallen is a reminder of those who paid the ultimate price. It’s standstrong and steadfast.”
The evening before the ceremony, more than 500 firefighters, family members and dignitaries gathered on the steps of the California Capitol for a solemn candle-lit tribute to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the memorial.
“A decade-long journey brought this memorial into reality in 2002. Since then, its brushed limestone wall has been inscribed with the names of over 1,300 of our fallen,” Paulson said. “Tonight, we look back on the history of this memorial and the lives of all of those whose names are etched in our state’s history.”
Unveiled in April of 2002, the California Firefighters Memorial features two stunning statues and a dramatic Memorial Wall on which the names of 1,325 fallen firefighters are engraved. The Memorial was created without any state funding through private contributions to the California Fire Foundation, most of them directly from firefighters.
Save the date for the 2018 Memorial which will be held on Saturday, September 29th. For additional information, visit www.cafirefoundation.org/memorial.