Photos: Thousands Attend Tribute And Memorial Service For Houston's Four Fallen Firefighters
by: Pat Hernandez, June 5, 2013 1:06:00 pm
The nearly three hour service at Reliant Stadium was attended by hundreds of firefighters from across the country, Canada and Mexico. Dignitaries included federal officials, state lawmakers, including Gov. Rick Perry, and local civic leaders.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker said the oath that firefighters live by isn't to come when it's convenient or safe — it is to come.
"I know you can't force someone to be a firefighter. You can't make someone be a firefighters. You can train a firefighter. You can educate a firefighter, but it is a job one chooses. Firefighter is a calling. All four of our loved ones chose to be firefighters."
Family members of Capt. Matthew Renaud, Engineer-Operator Robert Bebee and firefighters Robert Garner and Anne Sullivan, offered messages on their behalf.
Mary Moore Sillivan said Anne was three things to her: a loving daughter, best friend and her hero.
"It wasn't until Friday that my family and I fully understood why Anne so loved being a part of the firefighting family. They're forever now family members of mine, as well as, the entire firefighting community, who promised to always remember and celebrate the lives of the four that we honor here today."
Houston Fire Chief Terry Garrison spoke words of comfort to the men and women in the department, and to the families of the firefighter lost.
"This tragically resulted in the most catastrophic loss of lives in the history of our department. We lost four very, very brave members. There is little we can do to help heal the hurt we feel and you feel. However, we can stay strong in spirit, celebrate their lives and honor their service."
In their final call on earth, the fire department rang the bell to symbolize the devotion the four had for their duty.
Flags that flew in Washington last Friday — the deadliest day in the department's 118 year history — were also presented to the families of the four firefighters.