This year has been a very busy year for the Firefighters Memorial Trust and 2011 represented a landmark anniversary in two ways, reports Secretary Paul Settle.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the formal formation of the original Firefighters Memorial Charitable Trust Fund, now renamed the Firefighters Memorial Trust following the grant of a Royal Charter in 2010.
The Trust is now directly responsible for:
- The National Memorial near St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London
- The National Monument and garden at the National Memorial Arboretum
- The National Fire Service Chapel at the Fire Service College
- The National Book of Remembrance at the Fire Service Chapel
- The annual International Service of Remembrance in London in September and the associated annual wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial
- The annual Service of Thanksgiving at the National Monument in May.
It is also the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City. The huge loss of life that arose from that incident included 343 firefighters.
Sunday 11th September was an eventful day in London and The Firefighters Memorial Trust and firefighters from across the Nation were privileged to be a part of two major events.
At 1100 St Pauls Cathedral hosted a special Service of Remembrance to mark both anniversaries. The service was entitled 'Remembering with Hope'. There were well over 2,000 people inside the cathedral and their arrival was marked by a Guard of Honour provided by Fire and Rescue Service Standard Bearers and ceremonial personnel from around the nation.
Prior to the commencement of the service, inside the Cathedral the band of the West Midlands Fire Service, directed by Patrick Ryan, played three specially selected pieces for the congregation.
The Union Flag, the Stars and Stripes and the Firefighters Memorial Trust Standard were received at the Dome Alter. Colour parties being found from members of the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, the London Fire Brigade, the West Midlands Fire Service and the US Marine Corps.
Representatives of the Firefighters Memorial Trust, The Worshipful Company of Fire Fighters, the Fire and Rescue Services Chaplains' Association, the Awareness Foundation, BGC Partners, Disaster Action and the September 11th UK families group and numerous other individuals associated with the United States, the City of London and the nation's emergency services were joined by the Home Secretary Theresa May, Fire Minister Bob Neill, The Lord Mayor Locum Tenens Ian Luder and the American Ambassador Louis B Susman.
A very moving service ensued. The Sermon was delivered by The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley which he concluded with the words: "When this service has ended, we will all go home. We will have remembered with love and pride those whose lives were taken away and that part of our lives that went with them. We will have remembered those who made sacrifices in and beyond duty. And if we remember with hope, then all that they were to us and all that was so clearly seen on that day, not the brokenness of a society but its very pulse and life, will be our inspiration. And later today when silence is kept by the families of the lost to remember in Grosvenor Square, even if there are some who will seek to disturb them, they will never be able to take away or shake what we ultimately celebrate today - the resilience and beauty of love and of the lives built on it. Where we remember this, there will be hope."
A full text can be found at http://www.stpauls.co.uk/Worship-Music/Join-us-in-worship/Sermons/Sermon-preached-at-the-Remembering-with-Hope-service-on-Sunday-11-September-2011-by-The-Reverend-Canon-Mark-Oakley
Bob Neill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell, a Trustee, and the Revd Canon Dr Peter Mortimer, Chaplain to the Trust, also played significant parts in the service.
Following the service many members of the congregation moved outside and joined with others already at the National Firefighters Memorial in Sermon Lane to the south side of the Cathedral. Some 42 Standards associated with the nation's fire services were 'On Parade'. Music was played by members of the Avon F&RS Band, the Pipes and Drums from Tyne and Wear F&RS and, for the very first time in a ceremonial event, the Lincolnshire F&RS band.
A short service and Act of Remembrance was led the Trust Chaplain Revd Canon Dr Peter Mortimer. A wreath was laid on behalf of the Firefighters Memorial Trust Patron, HRH The Princess Royal. Many others followed to represent national, regional and local government, fire and rescue authorities, fire and rescue services, and other fire institutions. Very importantly wreaths were also laid by relatives of some of those named on the National Memorial.
The Firefighters Memorial Trust also laid a special wreath to remember the 343 American firefighters who died dealing with the events of 9/11.
Additional assistance in marshalling the event was provided by members of Avon F&RS, Greater Manchester F&RS and the London Fire Brigade in particular. The assistance of the Corporation of the City of London and the City of London Police is also very much appreciated.
Pictures of the day are available via the Trust website: www.firefightersmemorial.co.uk
Posted September 21st, 2011 at 0935 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org