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IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service, 2002

Colorado Springs, CO, Sept. 21


Photos/videos from Memorial Service

List of Fallen Firefighters Honored

The Last Alarm, dedicated to children of the fallen

Lt. John Napolitano, FDNY, deceased

Interview with Lt. John E. Coburn, Jr., IAFF Local 366, Matteson, IL

IAFF website

IAFF Memorial website

Fire Safety Resource Directory, USFA site, links to fire safety education

IAFF Local 386, Matteson IL

Sparky the Fire Dog, NFPA site, kids learn about fire safety

Back in March, 2002, I received a call from my brother, Lt. John E. Coburn, Jr., (we call him Jay).  He is a paramedic in the Matteson, IL Fire Dept., and a member of the International Assn. of Firefighters (IAFF) Honor Guard for the state of Illinois.  He told me that every year in September, the IAFF holds a memorial service for the firefighters who had fallen in the previous year, from June to June.  He said that because of the WTC bombings in Sept. 2001, there had been very few who had been able to attend that year's service, because the planes were grounded, (I learned later that only 13 families were in attendance out of 74) and that this year, 2002, the IAFF was planning to re-honor the fallen of 2000, in addition to the 343 dead from the World Trade Center  and the other 82 fallen from 2001.  "Bill, I lost 400 of my firemen brothers this year, and I'd like to have my blood brothers with me there when we honor them if you can make it."  It's not every day that you get an invitation like that.  And I feel sure I'm speaking for thousands of firefighter's families around the country when I say thank God that it's not.  So in any event, I knew I'd be going to Colorado Springs in September for the memorial, but I had no idea how I'd get there, or how I'd be able to afford it, or even if I would be able to afford it.  I just knew I'd be there.  When I spoke with my brother Pat, he told me he'd gotten the same call.  Before long, a plan was formulated, and while it didn't actually get finalized until September, it came to pass that Pat and I joined my brothers-in-law Wayne, Joe and Jim, and we hopped in a motor home for a trip to Colorado.  The trip was an eye-opener in numerous ways, and the kind of trip that causes one to reflect upon one's life, one's goals, one's choices, and how they reflect upon oneself, as well as the lives, goals, and choices of others and how they reflect upon these others, and how each of these same actions effect each of us and how we live.  In short, it was thought provoking, it was moving, it was difficult, it was emotional, it was sad, it was uplifting, it was an amazing experience, and I'm glad I went.  Please feel free to move around among these pages, and I'm sure you'll get a glimpse, though only on a minor scale, of what some of us who were there felt. 

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