By Chandra Lye
Firefighters, emergency workers, police and even politicians in Edmonton paused Sunday to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty since 9/11.
Edmonton Fire Rescue hosted their annual remembrance service in Old Strathcona. The event was one to remember the fallen in New York on 9/11 but also to honour those closer to home that have died in the line of duty since 1922.
Although members of Edmonton Fire and Rescue dedicate their lives to serving others, even to sacrifice themselves if need be, the Chairman of the Edmonton Firefighters Memorial Society, Robb Kolvell, said they are well prepared.
“We have an amazingly well trained set of guys. We’ve got a fantastic relationship with our union, our management, our city councillors. We’ve got state of the art equipment and, not saying that it can happen, but we are always out there looking out for each other and God willing, every one of us will make it home at the end of our shift.”
He said that September 11 was the greatest tragedy the firefighting service has seen.
“I don’t anticipate any of those guys planned on not making it home that day.”
“It was horrific and tragic,” Kolvell said. “You couldn’t put it into words. It was surreal.”
“The feeling across the entire city was tremendous loss.”
And Edmonton has given more than most Canadian cities to the U.S. war on terror. Ward 2 Coun. Kim Krushell noted that the city has a huge military presence.
“Many of our military are coming back from Afghanistan who have also put their lives on the line as well.”
“I think the war on terror meant something for everybody worldwide,” she said.
“All of us came together. It wasn’t about citizenship it was ‘how can anybody do this’?”
Fifteen Edmonton firefighters have died since 1922 and each name was read out and the bell was rung in their honour. Each family was also given a flag to mark their loved ones’ sacrifice.
“We have to learn from their trials their tribulations so we can move forward,” Kolvell said.