As Glendale Firefighter/Paramedic Jeff Brooks watched the memorial service for 19 firefighters who lost their lives battling an Arizona wildfire unfold, a sense of finality came over him.
On Tuesday -- as hundreds gathered in Prescott, Ariz. to pay their respects to the members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew who perished June 30 while fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire -- tributes could be seen in throughout the city, he said.
“For a lot of people, it really hit home,” Brooks said.
He and eight fellow Glendale fire crew members attended the memorial service on Tuesday with hundreds of other firefighters from across the Los Angeles region, including Burbank and stations in La Cañada Flintridge.
In 2009, the hotshot crew was one several agencies that helped Glendale and Los Angeles County firefighters battle the massive Station fire, which blackened Deukmejian Wilderness Park and the Angeles National Forest.
Brooks watched as the families of the fallen firefighters received a bronze axe, a state and American flag, and afterward, stood alongside other firefighters to salute family members as they drove by the half-mile stretch of supporters.
“The right thing to do is pay our respect and honor them,” he said.
-- Veronica Rocha, firstname.lastname@example.org