Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Answering The Call Of Duty

I wanted to get these shots in sooner rather than later, so I decided to have this and the next post here in my writer's blog. This past Sunday, a national service took place here in Ottawa at the Canadian Firefighters Memorial. This is the second year I have attended after last year, in which I met a fellow photoblogger, Stewart Hilts, who had come with his family to attend- his son William was one of the names added to the wall last year.

The second Sunday in September is a national day of remembrance in Canada for fallen firefighters- both those who have died while responding to fires and those who have died of workplace related illnesses. This year thirteen names were added to the memorial wall. The Memorial is set near the Canadian War Museum, and features three focal points: a six metre tall statue of a fire fighter and an 18 metre tall fire poll, made of recycled brass couplings from fire halls across the country. The third component is a granite wall engraved with the names of fire fighters who have died in the line of duty across the country since the earliest days of the job. When I arrived, two fire trucks, one from Ottawa and one from the nearby town of Perth, were parked here, with a large Canadian flag suspended from their ladders.

This is a view of the wall from the other side. The concept has two designers: artist Douglas Coupland and landscape architect Mary Tremain, incorporating flowers and maple trees from across the country.  As you can see, some of the leaves are turning.

There were many fire fighters and their families in attendance this year, from all over the country. Thirteen names were added to the wall this year.

The service is overseen by fire fighters, with one of their own as master of ceremonies, with remarks in English and French, as well as prayers. It also features an honorary host- this year the acting fire chief in Halifax, as this year marks the centennial of the Halifax Explosion. The Minister of Public Safety participates with remarks, and the names of new fallen fire fighters are read out during the service as their families receive helmets.

As the ceremony starts to draw to a close, a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace is featured.

And then a march past of the fire fighters en masse begins, around the parkland here and past the wall. Afterwards things are a bit less formal, as I'll show you in my post on Monday.


  1. You shared a marvelous ceremony William. Photos are great. I am always very grateful to our firefighters.

  2. What a beautiful ceremony. You honour them. It's amazing what they do. All of our firefighters, rurally, are volunteers. Heroes, all.

    1. I know a volunteer fire fighter out in Muskoka. He owns a hardware store, and always has someone else on the job if he has to take a call.

  3. I think this is wonderful. While all firefighters are not heroes, anymore than all military people are, the firefighters do not get the recognition they deserve for the dangers they face on a daily basis. I don't see how they do it. I remember having to "fight" a fire while in boot camp in the Navy. I also remember it was no fun at all! Beautiful photos, William!

  4. Those men risk their lives to keep the people in the community safe. A great way to honor the dead and the living.

  5. Lovely but I am in tears.

    cheers, parsnip

  6. Superb tribute.

    The patron saint of firefighters is St. Florian. Here's a prayer.

    Dear God, through the intercession of our patron, Saint Florian, have mercy on the souls of our comrades who have made the supreme sacrifice in the performance of their duty, and on all who have gone before us after years of faithful discharge of their responsibilities which now rest on ourselves. Give us Grace to prepare each day for our own summons to Thy tribunal of justice.

    Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my Spirit, wherever Thou callest me, I am ready to go. Merciful Father of all men, save me from all bodily harm, if it be thy will, but above all, help me to be loyal and true, respectful and honorable, obedient and valiant. Thus fortified by virtue, I shall have no fear, for I shall then belong to Thee and shall never be separated from Thee.


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