The names of 35 fallen firefighters were added to the California Firefighters Memorial wall at the state Capitol this weekend as part of an annual ceremony and procession.
Ceremonies begin Friday, when a traditional bagpiper will solemnly perform at the memorial wall in Capitol Park.
“A lot of firefighters, as we get older we have more friends and colleagues on this wall than we knew when you started your career,” said Brian Rice, president of the California Professional Firefighter.
Saturday, there will be a memorial procession from 4:30 – 5:30 pm with a dozen fire engines lining 13th Street.
Rice said of the 35 names added to the wall, 50% died of cancer.
“We’ve learned over time that your skin is the largest system in your body and your skin absorbs all these toxins and carcinogens and a lot of them stay in your system,” Rice said.
A woman reflecting on the wall said her brother died almost a year ago after losing his battle with cancer.
“He fought. He went through chemo. He went through radiation. He had surgery and it got more complicated after that, but maybe it was some of the chemicals he took as a firefighter,” said Cynthia Bollinger.
Bollinger said he was proud of his brother and the legacy he left behind.
“I think he’s proud and honored because he loves what he does. He loves the excitement. He loves the company. He loves the camaraderie,” Bollinger said.
The families of the fallen firefighters will also be presented with US flags during the ceremonies.
The memorial ceremony will be livestreamed in high definition on YouTube @thecafirefoundation and Facebook @cafirefound.