Jacksonville’s first responders remembered their fallen Thursday morning with a ceremony at Fire Station #1 in downtown Jacksonville.
Current and former members of the Jacksonville Fire/Rescue Department came to pay their respects as did many of the families of the fallen.
"It's a great tribute to all the families of the fallen firefighters, not just to us but to everybody," says Jody Cowart, whose father Edgar died in 1986 when he became trapped underneath a fire rescue boat that had struck a bridge piling while responding to a distress call near the Hart Bridge.
Jody Cowart says while it’s a sad day he’s also grateful his father died doing what he loved. Jody's sister says even so, they still miss their dad dearly.
"He had a good heart," says Bettie Samford.
Mayor Alvin Brown spoke and paid tribute to the fallen as did fire chief Marty Senterfitt.
"Fire/rescue is the noblest of all professions. A profession focused on saving lives and saving property. A profession built around the concept of noble sacrifice. Today, ladies and gentlemen, we remember."
Taps was played, the memorial bell was rung 22 times as each fallen firefighter’s name was read, and there was a 21 gun salute from JSO’s honor guard.
Mayor Alvin Brown declared October 10th 2013 Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day in Jacksonville.