LETHBRIDGE: More than 100 people gathered at Lethbridge city hall Sunday to honour those who died in service during the past year and to mark the 10-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
The event started with a parade of service workers from the new downtown fire hall to city hall. It was the first time the city started the memorial with a parade. Organizers said they wanted to increase its visibility to the public.
Though spectators along the parade route were few, a larger crowd assembled at city hall where representatives from the RCMP, Lethbridge Regional Police and Lethbridge Fire Department as well as local, provincial and federal governments came to pay tribute to 130 people lost in duty during the past year.
"We never think of ourselves as never coming home but it definitely has the potential in this line of work," said Doug Ginther, a Lethbridge paramedic firefighter who read the "firefighters' prayer" during the ceremony.
Speakers also paid special tribute to the five local firefighters lost in the line of duty, as well as the firefighters lost after the September 11th attacks. The International Association of Firefighters recorded its biggest loss in one day on 9/11: 344 firefighters died when the twin towers fell.
"We know those families who lost those loved ones have had their lives changed forever," said Lethbridge Fire Chief Brian Cornforth, his voice breaking over his next words. "We recognize your loss." He closed his speech with a promise. "We will always focus and acknowledge this date for those that have been lost."