Hundreds pay tribute to fallen Boston firefighters

Mayor: 'Words cannot repay the debt of gratitude that we owe these men and their loved ones.... They put themselves in harm's way so that others may be safe.'

By Richard Weir
The Boston Herald

BOSTON — Relatives of two firefighters killed Wednesday in a Beacon Street blaze stood in City Hall Plaza today for a solemn ceremony as members of their sons' firehouse raised the Fire Department's red flag to half-staff.

"Today we pay tribute to Lieutenant Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy, heroes who gave up their lives to protect our city and its people," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh to a large crowed of uniformed firefighters and family members of the two fallen jakes, including the fallen firefighters' mothers Joanie Walsh and Kathy Crosby.

"Their courage will never be forgotten," the mayor continued. "Words cannot repay the debt of gratitude that we owe these men and their loved ones for the sacrifice they gave... They put themselves in harm's way so that others may be safe."

Richard Paris, president of Boston Firefighters Local 718, spoke of how the firefighters' dedication showed how the city continues to be "Boston strong." He added, "As the firefighters out there know when we put our right hand up, we take a pledge to put our life on the line to save the civilians. That is what Lieutenant Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy did last Wednesday."

Paris later told reporters that Walsh's widow did not attend the ceremony because she was tending to her husband's funeral arrangements.

After the ceremony, Edward A. Kelly, president of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, a statewide union said, "As you can imagine all of our hearts are broken. The firefighters of this city will answer the call when the bell comes in just like Eddy and Michael would want us to do. They were two of the best firefighters we could ever have, big tough kids... I'd like to think that their legacy is that the firefighters still here answering the call will be as good as they were."

"I've had a knot in my stomach the last couple of days just thinking about the fact that we have lost two fine young men who lost their lives trying to save others," said City Councilor Michael Flaherty, who was widely supported by firefighters when he ran for mayor 2009. "As people are running out of burning buildings, the members of the Boston Fire Department are running into them to protect citizens."


(c)2014 the Boston Herald

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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