Firefighters to hold 28th Annual Memorial  Services

Press Releases / 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7, 2009

RAMAPO - Ever since a tall, stone memorial of a firefighter bowing his head was placed at the front of the county's Fire Training Center, firefighters have come together at that site once a year to honor their own.

They continued the tradition with the 28th annual Rockland County Volunteer Firemen's All-Faiths Memorial Service.

Yesterday's event was held just before sundown, hours after another service dedicating Hillcrest Fire Department's new memorial, which honors the department's 235 members who have died since 1915.

"We have to remember. We have to honor those that have gone before," said Franklin Knower, chaplain of the county's Fire Advisory Board, which hosted the county event. "And if we don't remember, the entire significance of helping our neighbors in their time of need is gone."

Dozens of firefighters and ladies auxiliary members representing all of Rockland's 26 volunteer fire departments came out last night to pay respects to those who died and gave their time to fight fires.

There were few speeches at the ceremony. Instead, the firefighters took part in songs and prayers, and the Rockland County Firefighters Pipes & Drums band played two songs for the audience.

Toward the end of the event, individuals from each fire department and ladies auxiliary were called up to add flowers to a dedication board in front of a podium.

Knower explained that the board was mostly blue, symbolizing the lights in firefighters' personal cars, and the flowers were red and white, to represent the ladies auxiliaries and those firefighters who have died.

After all the flowers were added, they created the shape of a cross inside a Star of David.

Afterward, Bob Huslinger, a Stony Point firefighter, rang a bell three times, something done at the end of a firefighter's day or at the end of an alarm.

Earlier, the Hillcrest firefighters held a ceremony for their memorial, made to replace an outdated one. The memorial is made up of the department's original gong, two brick towers with the 235 names on them and a statue of a kneeling firefighter.

"We dedicated it to all those people who served this community, who gave their time for all these years to the community," said Pete Carney, a Hillcrest firefighter.

(image: Ben Rubin/The Journal News)

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Pomona, NY 10970

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