Families of firefighters who died in the line of duty gathered Saturday for the dedication of the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial.
The ceremony included the marching of colors by bagpipers, drums and honor guard, the unveiling of the statue, reading of the 1958 A. W. "Smokey" Linn's Firefighter’s Prayer, the ringing of bells for each fallen firefighter and the laying of a rose on top of memorial wall for each name.
Governor Mike Beebe was on hand and thanked the families of fallen firefighters.
“The men and women of the fire service chose that. That’s their love, that’s their life, that’s their profession. But those loved ones who stay at home and worry, those loved ones who wake up at night and wonder, those loved ones who gave every bit as much, don’t have the training and didn’t choose that life but they love and support their loved ones who did,” Beebe said.
“To the families: thank you for what you’ve sacrificed and who you’ve given. Words aren’t enough, plaques aren’t enough, statues aren’t enough, but it’s all we have. It’s all we know how to do other than to really feel, to feel from our hearts how Arkansas loves you and the loved one you sacrificed for others.”
The name more recently added was Oak Grove Fire Chief Randy Pogue, who died in Feb. 19, 2014 after responding to an accident and hitting a patch of ice. Josie Pogue is his daughter and she said this memorial means everything to her.
“It’s a huge remembrance and honor of him and everything he has done to sacrifice for people,” Pogue said.
Firefighter David Curlin died four years ago in Pine Bluff after a wall from a burning building fell on him. His father, George Curlin, Jr., has been helping in the last few years with the completion of the memorial.
“It was very good for me to get involved to help move on with my life,” Curlin said. “I’ve gone back to the International Memorial in Colorado Springs every year since David’s accident and volunteered up there and I knew that this would be a great place to have his name that I can come in touch when I need to.”
The Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial, which is located on the state Capitol grounds, took 28 years to raise funds for and complete.
Click here to view the list of 104 Arkansas fallen firefighters whose names engraved at the memorial.