Artifacts and photographs honor the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots killed nearly a year ago fighting a wildfire as part of a memorial exhibit being to mark the year anniversary of their deaths on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Prescott, Ariz.
Photo credit: Hundreds of flags have been saved from a makeshift memorial now part of the Tribute Fence Preservation Project honoring the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who were killed nearly a year ago fighting an Arizona wildfire on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Prescott, Ariz.
Photo credit: A painted mural by Juliana Hutchins covers a retaining wall at the Classic Car Wash adjacent to the Pioneer Cemetery where a gravesite memorial honors the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died nearly a year ago fighting an Arizona wildfire on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Prescott, Ariz.
PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — Dusty boots, weathered flowers, boxes of stuffed animals, hundreds of American flags and T-shirts off the backs of firefighters from around the country: The chain-link fence surrounding the former fire station of the Granite Mountain Hotshots became a massive memorial in the days and weeks after 19 of them died a year ago in northern Arizona.
Children entrusted toy fire trucks to watch over their teddy bears, strangers hung up prayers, and the community wept for the firefighters they honored as heroes.
The memorial fence was dismantled in September, and volunteers worked for months to meticulously sort, photograph and catalog the items before storing them away on shelves. They are being displayed in a virtual museum.
Artists reflected the Hotshots' deaths in paintings, songs, and poems. Others left foot powder, mugs, rosaries, crosses and candles. One person who was part of a Hotshot crew in 1974 sent a broken shovel — something Hotshots would do when someone wasn't coming back the next year, said Katie Cornelius, who led the cataloging of items.
"It didn't matter what your abilities were or your economic situation, you brought what you could," she said.
The fence inspired a play, and part of it was re-created for an exhibit at a Prescott hotel as part of the events marking the one-year anniversary of the Hotshots' deaths on Monday.
All photos by Ross D. Franklin/AP