Sunday, March 20, 2016

Memorial Monday - IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial

"Somewhere, Everyday" bronze statue and granite walls of the memorial overlooking Pikes Peak
The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I first saw it a couple years ago when I went to a hot air balloon festival with my family. I always meant to come back to it and give it a closer look. It's in downtown Colorado Springs near Memorial Park and driving downtown isn't one of my favorite things, so it kept getting pushed down on my priority list until very recently. My cousin's husband, Scott Carroll, died unexpectedly. He became ill while on a call and died a day or two later. His name will be going up on this monument in September and I'll get to see my cousin for the first time in nearly 40 years (gosh did I really just type that?). It's not the best way to get to see family and it's certainly not how we thought it would happen, but I am glad that Scott's name will be listed with all of these other brave men and women.

Entry to the Memorial transcribed in this post
I'm a veteran. When we think of memorials we often just associate them with the military, but there are so many others that have given so much. So many that have given their all, and they should be remembered. So the other week the assignment for the photography class I'm taking was themed "Around Town" and the first place I thought of going was the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial. I took pictures of the monuments that comprise the memorial and the first set of panels. I will start sharing those panels next week. They begin with 1918 so there are quite a lot of names. Today though I would like to share the information on the entrance to the memorial. I was out photographing it in the morning so the light was too harsh on the panel that talks about the memorial so I'll just share it without a picture of the actual words (you'll just have to trust me). Perhaps when I go back next time the sun will be in a better position.

"International Association of Fire Fighters Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial

The International Association of Fire Fighters Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial honors the sacrifice made by IAFF members - professional fire fighters, paramedics, and emergency medical personnel in the United States and Canada - who gave their lives while serving their country and community.

"Somewhere, Everyday" is a bronze statue of
a fire fight cradling an infant as he descends
a ladder
In 1989, the IAFF erected the first of two granite walls on this site, where the names of fallen IAFF members were etched as a silent tribute to their dedication above and beyond the call of duty. In 2015, the Memorial was rebuilt to renew these grounds and site, and to ensure all those who have fallen in the line of duty in the future are properly honored.

Each September, the IAFF conducts a ceremony to celebrate and pay tribute to their sacrifice and to provide support and comfort to the families of the fallen.

The centerpiece of the Memorial is an original bronze sculpture of a fire fighter descending a ladder while cradling an infant in one arm. Towering 20 feet above the Memorial, 'Somewhere, Everyday,' epitomizes the courage and bravery displayed daily by IAFF members across North America. The granite walls are a lasting tribute to those brave men and women so that they are always remember, never forgotten."

So the Memorial was first erected in 1989, but redone and rededicated in 2015. I was surprised that Colorado Springs, my new home, was the location for this Memorial, but the rededication in 2015 didn't surprise me. Colorado Springs was the site of two terrible fires in recent years. In the summer of 2012 the Waldo Canyon Fire filled the city with smoke as a huge fire blazed on the mountain range. Mountain fires are notoriously difficult to contain because of the terrain and winds that frequently come off the mountains during summer storms. It took nearly 3 weeks to contain and was the most destructive fire in Colorado's history (as measured by number of homes destroyed)...until the following year.

In the summer of 2013 almost exactly one year from the start of the Waldo Canyon Fire, the Black Forrest Fire started. It took nine days to contain which was much quicker than the previous year's fire, but there were more homes destroyed. Both fires terrified the region. Both fires made international headlines. Both fires caused a community that is notoriously stingy with their tax dollars to dig a bit deeper into their pockets to support their firemen and women. So the rebuilding/rededication of the memorial after two horrific fires isn't surprising. They did a beautiful job with the Memorial and it truly is a tranquil place.

Next week I'll share the names on the first panel of the fallen.