NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A somber service was held in Manhattan on Wednesday, for the men and women of the FDNY who died in the line of duty.
As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, this year’s FDNY Memorial Day ceremony was especially difficult for the bravest as they remembered one of their own.
Thousands of uniformed firefighters and emergency service personnel lined Riverside Drive at 100th Street near the base of the fireman’s monument.
They listened as their commissioner explained the importance of the day.
“Our brothers and sisters are honored here on our memorial day because they made a solemn oath to protect others in our city no matter the cost. They trained and prepared every day so that others would live. They went above and beyond fighting fires, providing urgent medical care, and teaching countless others to perform that same noble work just as others had done before them,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
In the past 12 months 5 active duty firefighters and emergency service personnel lost their lives.
One of the five people honored on Wednesday, died in the line of duty.
Deputy Chief Michael Fahy was killed by flying debris at a house explosion in the Bronx last month.
His wife was given the department flag, Medal of Valor, and Medal of Supreme Sacrifice during the service.
Mayor Bill de Blasio offered words of condolence to her and all the families of the fallen.
“We can only begin to understand the pain that you’ve been through, but we honor you. We mourn with you, and we will stand by you,” de Blasio said.
“To our families, I offer you my deepest thanks for all your loved ones did to contribute to our life-saving mission. Your loved ones were remarkable people who spent their careers helping others and striving to make our city a better and safer place,” Chief James Leonard said.
The service ended with a formal review where more than 7,000 firefighters, those still training to be firefighters, and emergency service personnel marched past the five families in mourning.
There were also dozens of retired firefighters who came out to pay their respects.
“This is more than a job, this is a way of life, being a fireman. That’s why I come here,” retired Battalion Chief Carlo Andersen said.
The annual memorial is so touching, a number of people brought their children to witness it. Even passersby stopped to watch the century old service, honoring some of New York’s bravest.