Firefighter memorial tradition


A special day in Cumberland County, Carlisle fire and rescue bringing back a tradition that started more than 100 years ago to honor firefighters for their service.

In the 1870's Cumberland Fire would honor the service of firefighters that passed with a special memorial day.

That service, forgotten for about 70 years, until today.

A bell ringing out for every firefighter that died this year to honor their service.

It's a memorial ceremony that dates back decades says local historian Randy Watts.

"They actually went to all the cemeteries and they placed markers on all their members who had died prior to that service," explained Watts. "They continued that up into the 1950s and with changes it kind of faded away."

A ritual brought to life again. This time also honoring every line of duty death in Carlisle says Michael Snyder with Carlisle Fire and Rescue.

"We feel like a plaque is the least that we can do. Many of these people had wives and children that they left behind." said Snyder. "We don't want those people to think that we've forgotten the sacrifices that those people have made in the spirt of serving their community."

The special plaque lists each firefighter's name.

"First fire death, line of duty death, was 1938," Watts explained. "Chief Dysart died from injuries he had received when he fell at a fire in 1936."

The plaque, now a reminder to everyone that takes up the call of a volunteer firefighter.

"We hope that our younger members as we train them and we show them the plaque they appreciate what the people did before them," Watts said. "The sacrifices that have been made the traditions that they represent."

Also honored today, those serving now.

"We need to make sure that while we remember our own members that have died, we need to remember that there are people out there providing services right now that make a difference in the lives of the community," Snyder said.

Carlisle Fire and Rescue says they plan on bringing back this tradition and holding this service annually.

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