After years of taking time to honour firefighters across Canada, there is now an official day.
On Aug. 25, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, was in Regina to make the proclamation establishing the formal Firefighters’ National Memorial Day.
The day has been designated as the second Sunday in September and is in recognition of the memory and in tribute of those firefighters that have fallen in the line of duty, risking their lives to keep Canadians safe.
As it is now been officially recognized by the federal government, flags at all federal buildings and operations will be lowered to half-mast on that day.
“Firefighters put their safety on the line in service to Canadians,” stated Goodale.
“Firefighters’ National Memorial Day will allow us to commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and with the new grant program created in our last budget, we will demonstrate our support for their loved ones on a national scale.”
Goodale was joined by several other dignitaries including Robert Kirkpatrick, president of the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation; Edmonton Fire Chief Ken Block representing the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and Graham Pawlett, national president of the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association.
“In honour of Canada’s fallen firefighters and on behalf of their families, we are truly grateful for the proclamation to name the second Sunday of every September, the date of our annual ceremony, as ‘Firefighters National Memorial Day,’” stated Kirkpatrick.
“We sincerely appreciate the efforts of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Ralph Goodale who have demonstrated our government’s appreciation of the sacrifice and commitment of firefighters in this country, and what they do for their local communities.”
Previously, services on that day were held across the country, but was not formally recognized. With the proclamation, the government is commemorating the courage, selflessness and unwavering commitment to serving their communities, while facing often times dangerous duties and sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice.
According to the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, more than 1,300 firefighters have died in the line of duty since 1848.
As for the federal government, it has committed $80 million over the next five years to establish a grant program to help support families of public safety officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
More information is available by going to www.publicsafety.gc.ca.