Firefighter memorial will expand

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An artist's rendering of the new memorial. - COURTESY IAFF
  • Courtesy IAFF
  • An artist's rendering of the new memorial.

Although we're a little tardy in telling you about plans to expand the firefighter memorial in Memorial Park, it's worth noting, since this is a national monument with an annual ceremony that brings firefighters to Colorado Springs from across the country.

International Association of Fire Fighters Local 5 president Jeremy Kroto explains via e-mail: "After this year's ceremony, the reconstruction will commence in order to be completed by next year's ceremony. The project will be funded completely by the members of the IAFF across North America (no tax dollars, etc), with the project estimated to cost nearly $4 million. The work will be performed by local contractors, workers and resources with the exception of the granite, which will come from a North America quarry."

"The final project will capture all line of duty deaths for IAFF members since its founding in 1918 to present, estimated to be around 6,000 names," he continues. "Currently, the site as it exists is near capacity with roughly 3,000 LODDs [line of duty deaths] from 1976 to present. The new site will have room for all names with additional consideration for the unfortunate reality of future firefighter deaths."

Kroto says the city Parks Department has been supportive. The new memorial will occupy the same "footprint" as the current one, he adds, except the orientation will rotate so that audience members will face west rather than east.

Here's a news release issued on Wednesday:
Colorado Springs, Colo.—September 17th, 2014 - Earlier this year at the IAFF National Convention, a vote was passed by the membership to rebuild the Fallen Firefighter Memorial located in Memorial Park. Within the weeks following the 2014 Fallen Firefighter Memorial, construction will begin on the $3.5 million project funded solely by the IAFF.

The Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial would be reconfigured with Pikes Peak as the backdrop so families face the statue of a fire fighter descending a ladder holding a child. The shift would also allow the space to accommodate more than 5,000 seats. The plans include overarching themes of family, honor, pride and community. In addition, the entry will be more prominent and include more prestigious signage and landscaping to emphasize the park's integrity. Their will be new granite walls of varying sizes and heights to be raised in arcs around the main statue, and include all of the names etched in previous years with room for a total of 11,500. The final element is the Guardians–statues sculpted as Honor Guard members. These statues are designed to stand in the periphery as quiet overseers of guests and honorees. The IAFF estimates it would take up to 30 more years before these walls are filled. The former honor walls would then be repurposed for special paving to be known as the Family Ring to symbolize and embrace the families during the annual observance.

The goal is for members and families to feel they are honoring the fallen the minute they arrive at the Memorial.

About Colorado Springs Professional Fire Fighters, Local 5
Colorado Springs Professional Fire Fighters, Local 5, is a union-based organization that represents the majority of active line personnel on the Colorado Springs Fire Department. With an emphasis on firefighter safety and the fair treatment of its members, Local 5 works with fire department administration, city elected officials, and other public safety entities to effectively provide the citizens of Colorado Springs with professional fire, rescue and emergency medical care services. Founded in 1918, Local 5 is a charter member of The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the IAFF represents more than 300,000 full-time professional fire fighters and paramedics who provide emergency medical response to 80 percent of
the population in the United States and Canada. For more information, please visit www.iafflocal5.com.
This year's events begin today, and the memorial service is at 1 p.m. Saturday. Go here for more information.

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