Why We Remember...
Why We Remember...
October 13th, 2012 // By davidb
Today is the day we remember those Los Angeles Firefighters who gave their lives so that others might live. On occasion, someone will ask why we do this? After all, these aren't soldiers fighting to protect freedom. These are firefighters - we see them nearly every day. So, why do we need a day to remember them?
Your Los Angeles Fire Department is more than 125 years old now. And during that period of time, the Department has saved the lives of thousands of people in and around Los Angeles. Often, the people saved have suffered a stroke, been hit by a bus, or have collapsed due to a heart attack. In Los Angeles, with more than 1,000 emergency responses per day, and more than 500 transports to local hospitals in an average 24-hour period, you might think the process of saving lives is routine. It may seem that way, but it isn't.
For people watching the freeway rescue taking place on March 23, 1998, it seemed that Fire 3, the air ambulance that picked up a young patient was just doing what it normally did. Minutes later, the helicopter crashed, within minutes of its destination. The young patient, along with LAFD members Michael McComb, Eric Reiner, and Michael Butler were killed. Not an ordinary day.
When the Naval Reserve Training Center's attic was discovered to be fully involved with fire on September 27, 1980, the fire attack initiated by the LAFD seemed to be managed with the military precision that the Department is known for. When firefighter Frank Hotchkin stepped onto the roof to provide support, it collapsed, sending young Hotchkin to his death. Not an ordinary day.
The stories continue - and there are nearly 200 of them. Each one is personal. Each one involves a parent, a sibling, a friend, and co-workers. On February 18, 2011, firefighters responded to a structure fire in the Hollywood Hills. After a few minutes, the living area of the home appeared to be clear of smoke, and the size up suggested a stubborn fire might be in one of the walls. Without warning, the ceiling collapsed, burying firefighters in the rubble, and mortally wounding Glen Allen. To many watching, it was just another routine fire on an ordinary day. It was not an ordinary day for the LAFD.
Every October, the LAFD gathers in Hollywood, at the Fallen Firefighter Memorial outside of the LAFD Museum. Fire officials speak. Historians remember. Taps are played. Bells are rung and names are read. And we remember. We remember that every day is a special day for the people who live in Los Angeles. The weather is nearly always perfect. The ocean is close by. The clubs are filled with party-goers. The film industry cranks out blockbusters. And the LAFD responds - every day, 24/7/365. And every one of its 3,400+ members wears a badge that reads "LAFD." That badge represents a commitment - a commitment to give up their life at any time to protect lives and property. That's why we remember.
Learn more about those members who died in the line of duty. [ Learn More ]
Support the LAFD Museum and Memorial. Give Generously. [ Donate ]
The Museum and Memorial Plaza are open every weekend from 10A to 4P in Hollywood. Please visit and discover the remarkable history of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
"LAFD Heroes" video produced by David and Cameron Barrett. Used with the courtesy of the LAFD Foundation.
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November 20th, 2012 // By Ugg Boots
Great piece and beautiful "Here's to the Heroes" video. Brought tears to my eyes and made me proup once again to have belonged to such a great Fire Department. Thanks David and Cameron
February 15th, 2013 // By Roger Gillis
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