I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the six Worcester firefighters who made the supreme sacrifice...
My name is Robert Beckwith and I am a Massachusetts State Police officer and a former firefighter with the Somerville Fire Dept.
I can relate to the suffering and the emotional stress these families are suffering.
I like most people have been following this tragic incident since the fire on last Friday. It has brought back many memories of the collapse of the Hotel Vendome in Boston on June 17, 1972, where nine Boston Firefighters lost their lives.
My brother Thomas Beckwith was one of the nine that was killed in the collapse.
These families will never get over the tragic and untimely death of their loved one. Wive's without husbands, children without father's and parent's without son's.
The media has focused in on the commradary of the fire dept. and how the fire dept. is the "extended family." I know from experience that the firefighting community will never forget these brave men.
Thursday's ceremony will be filled with emotion, and a difficult time for the grieving families.
As I write this, I think back twenty-seven years to the Vendome and I am filled with mixed emotions on the similarity of this tragedy. The tragic death, then the public support and sympathy to help the families. The funeral that the Vendome "nine" were given. I will never forget exiting the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston and seeing 10,000 firefighters from all over the country lined up and down Washington St. under the elevator tracks in the pouring rain. This show of support from the firefighters helped the families cope through difficult times.
As time goes on, I reflect back on that day of the funeral and I am so proud of the firefighters.
The ceremony Thursday will be heart wrenching, but years from now, I know the children and family will cherish these memories.

Robert Beckwith