Under threatening skies with a brisk breeze out of the northeast, Bedford firefighters joined fire departments across the Commonwealth to pay tribute to their fallen brethren on the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The ceremony followed a familiar pattern that has evolved over the year, shared by State Fire Marshall Peter J. Ostroskey.
Freshly washed fire apparatus rolled onto the apron in front of the Bedford fire station shortly before 10 am and the fire bell rang 5-5-5-5, a code in use since 1870 that tells firefighters to lower the flag to half-staff. Rung in four sets, the chimes honor ‘all lost and never found.’
That would be at least three generations of apparatus since Chief David Grunes joined the force. He noted, “We have moved it from the 78 Maxim to the 97 Piece, and it now resides on the 14 KME.” The bell’s journey indicates the importance of history and tradition within the Department.
After the 5-5-5-5 chimes rang, Firefighter Matt Busa lowered the flag to half-staff and after a moment of silence, he read the Firefighters Prayer.
When I am called to duty, wherever flames may rage, give me the strength to save a life, whatever be its age. Help me embrace a little child before it is too late, or save an older person from the horror of that fate. Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout, and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out. I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me, to guard my every neighbor, and protect his property. And if according to God’s will, I must answer death’s call, bless with your protecting hand, my family, one and all. AMEN.
The 5-5-5-5 code rang again, the flag returned to the top of its pole, and the firefighters returned to service