We remember and honour Canadian firefighters on September 11
Over 1,100 Canadian firefighters have lost their lives serving Canada.
Every day, courageous firefighters put their lives at risk to fight fires, like the massive one in Fort McMurray. Sometimes when things go wrong, they pay the ultimate price.
Every September 11, Canadian firefighters, their families and supporters pause at the monument to honour and remember their fallen. The Canadian Firefighters Memorial on Parliament Hill is the work of Canadian artist and author Douglas Coupland. Completed in 2012, it already has more than 1,100 names engraved.
“What an honour to be at the point of creation of a memory that’s going to last for 1,000 years and beyond,” — Douglas Coupland.
A focus at the annual memorial is the red ceremonial table. It holds the helmets representing each of the fallen firefighters being honoured. There are different types: black for structural, yellow for wildland firefighters or caps for wildland pilots. A Headdress Party is made up of firefighters from all parts of Canada. They march, carrying the helmets or caps, to the ceremonial table. The fallen firefighter’s own fire service and Foundation members are purposely excluded from presenting. The presentation is symbolically from the entire Canadian Fire Service.
The helmets and medals are presented to the families of the fallen during the ceremony. At the corners of the ceremonial table are silent sentries, who carry an item that has some symbolic and spiritual significance. The Firefighter’s prayer and three rings of the bell three times are part of 200 year old traditions.
Ontario Fire Marshall is 2016 Honorary Host
In Ottawa this year, the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation will host The 2016 Memorial Ceremony on Sunday September 11th. Each year, an Honorary Host is named. This year it will be the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshall and Emergency Management.
Since 1848, a tradition of leaving an extra helmet placed on a raised pedestal to represent all Canadian line of duty deaths since 1848. This helmet remains from year to year with the hopes that no other helmet or cap will accompany it at the annual ceremony.
Helping the families
Aside from the annual ceremonies, the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation works to help the families of the fallen firefighters. They offer scholarships and bursaries to help promote post secondary education for the children or partner of a firefighter who lost their life in the line of duty.
Trimtag is honoured to support the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and their 2016 Canadian Firefighter’s Memorial Weekend.