Friday, September 16, 2016

To The Fallen

This past Sunday, September 11th, saw the annual National Firefighters Memorial ceremony here in Ottawa. I came down to attend, and as I approached the Garden of the Provinces, I could hear bagpipes playing. Firefighters were gathering here in the park, close to the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Memorial, with Christ Church Cathedral as a backdrop.

Heading over to the Memorial, there were two fire trucks were stationed here in a salute to the fallen. One was from the Ottawa department, the other from Carleton Place, which is a town to the west of the city. You can make out the distinctive spike of the War Museum beyond the first truck.

The Memorial incorporates a large bronze firefighter statue and fireman's pole on one side facing a granite wall on the other. There are over 1300 names on the wall, organized by province and territory, commemorating firefighters who have died in the line of duty throughout Canada since the first days of the calling, in the mid-19th century. The grounds are designed and landscaped with nods to the profession. Brass couplings from fire halls across the country have been incorporated into the Memorial.

For the ceremony, this bell was waiting, to be joined by twelve firefighter helmets, marking the twelve additional firefighters who have given their lives in the past year across the country, some in direct action, others as a result of illness directly attributable to the job.

Three of those new names can be seen in this section of British Columbia firefighters. Tom Slater, a fire captain, died of cancer related to the job. John Phare was a veteran danger tree faller killed on the job while fighting a forest fire. The last of these names is William Hilts, a B.C. bomber pilot who died in a crash last summer while fighting a forest fire in the Cold Lake, Alberta area. William was the son of Stewart and Maria Hilts; Stewart blogs as Furry Gnome at his blog Seasons In The Valley, which is where I know him from, and where some of you know him. You can find his posts about William by clicking on that name below the banner, as well as a post by him about the ceremony from earlier this week. He came across me before the service- it is the first time either of us had met another blogger, and it was good to meet him.

Elsewhere on the wall is an inscription of the Firefighter's Prayer, which was recited in English and French during the ceremony.

People were gathering for the service in this final shot, which also includes the much larger than life statue. I have more from the service over the next two days.


  1. Fitting way to remember the firemen who died in their line of duty

  2. A very important day William - they certainly deserve to be remembered

  3. A great tribute to the fallen. Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. A nice remembrance to the brave men.

  5. It is a tribute to those who died for their country, it is fine.


  6. how sad, but good to remember and memorialize.

  7. @Linda: it was.

    @Bill: I found it poignant.

    @Dianne: yes they do.

    @Nancy: thank you.

    @Marianne: it is a good memorial.

    @Tomas: that it is.

    @Tex: I agree.

  8. The firemen do such an amazing job under such dangerous conditions.. these lifesavers deserve all the respect they get. Nice to meet a fellow blogger also William, despite the sad circumstances.

  9. Thanks for your kind comments William. Nice to know another blogger personally.

  10. A fitting and beautiful tribute. And I love the way the sunlight appears at the top of the first of the photos!

  11. A very well deserved memorial and ceremony!

  12. It's a good reminder to think of the danger firefighters face in their daily work. I was following Furry Gnome when William was killed. Furry Gnome writes elegantly about his son William. It's well worth taking time to read and remember William.

  13. @Grace: it really is a calling.

    @Furry Gnome: you're quite welcome, and it is.

    @Karl: the organizers did a good job of the ceremony.

    @Norma: I did as well- we had pretty good weather that day.

    @Sharon: this was the first time I've seen a good many people there. Usually when you walk through you might be on your own, or there might be a handful of people. It's a good location, though, with the War Museum so close.

    @Red: he really does. I've been following him for a good while now.

  14. I love the shimmering light in your 2nd and 3rd photos. In response to your comment on my blog about how the kittens feel about Koko, from what I have heard, they love her! :)

  15. Nice tribute to some remarkable individuals, many of them are volunteers.

  16. looks like a nice tribute to the everyday women & men. ( ;

  17. What a great tribute to those who place their lives on the line. They are the real heroes.

  18. @Linda: thanks- I did too. I'm thinking the one with the pipers might be one of my favourite shots of the year thus far.

    @Linda: I've known some volunteer fire fighters. It's quite an experience for them.

    @RedPat: they are.

    @Beth: I think this was handled just right. There's a foundation, the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, that was formed up that handles a lot of the leg work on this, and they do good work.

    @Bill: they certainly are.

  19. Wonderful photos and a very nice tribute to firemen. They are so important!
    Hope they don't have to experience attacks and threw stones like what happens in Sweden nowadays.

  20. A fitting tribute to those who die to save others.

  21. Sorry to be getting to your blog so late. Sure glad we didn't miss this one. It is important to remember those who have sacrificed their life for others. Thank you/merci!


  22. I appreciate how Canada honors its fallen service people.

  23. A wonderful post and a beautiful, poignant tribute.

  24. Glad you got to meet Stewart. I felt so sad when his son died. Nice tribute.

  25. enjoy the vibrant in shot 3, I think I'm recalling right? ( :

  26. @Birgitta: I've never heard of that here.

    @Mari: that it is.

    @Janis: you're welcome.

    @Kay: I do as well.

    @Denise: thanks!

    @Linda: it was a poignant service.

    @Beth: thanks!