IAFF Memorial Service Set for Sept. 20

COLORADO SPEINGS, CO - Seventy-seven fire fighters who died in the line of duty over the last year who will be honored on Saturday, September 20 by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), as families and firefighters gather in Colorado Springs for the union's 17th annual IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Ceremony.

"This annual ceremony is a fitting and respectful tribute to the firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice," said Harold Schaitberger, General President of the 260,000 member IAFF. "It is a time for us to honor the families of these fallen heroes to recognize the tremendous loss they have suffered and the sacrifices they have made."

The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. at IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Memorial Park, located at the corner of Pikes Peak and Hancock Avenues in Colorado Springs. The ceremony, which will feature fire fighter pipes and drums, music, and celebratory comments about the heroism and accomplishments of the fallen fire fighters, is designed to be an uplifting event.

This year's ceremony will honor fire fighters killed in the line of duty between June 2002 and June 2003. Nearly 400 families and hundreds of fire fighters from across North America are scheduled to attend. Last year, more than 12,000 families and fire fighters attended the IAFF memorial observance.

The mission of the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, which is located in the shadow of Pike's Peak, is to honor the sacrifice made by professional fire fighters and paramedics who have given their lives while trying to save others. Since its creation in 1976, the names of 1,552 fallen fire fighters have been engraved into the Wall of Honor located behind the memorial.

The International Association of Fire Fighters (www.iaff.org) represents the nation's professional fire fighters. More than 260,000 IAFF members protect 80 percent of the nation's population across all 50 states. Formed in 1918 and Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the IAFF has more than 2,900 local union affiliates in the United States and Canada. Colorado Springs fire fighters are members of IAFF Local 5.