Firefighters risk their lives every day to protect our communities, and sometimes they fall in the line of duty. For these tragic losses, the best way to honor a firefighter’s memory is to memorialize him or her in a firefighter-specific way. Below, you’ll find a few of the best ways to remember a fallen firefighter.
Memorial Service Display
Contribute to the funeral or memorial ceremony by creating a display. Such collections can include the deceased’s personal effects, including his or her firefighter badge, a framed firefighter picture, a favorite pair of boots or helmet, and more. Encouraging others to bring something that reminds them of the deceased will create a community of support. For variety, encourage attendees to bring a piece of artwork or a poem for the memorial service display.
Memorial Service Gifts
Memorial gifts are small mementos distributed at memorial or funeral services. Attendees cherish them, as they are lasting reminders of the deceased. Personalized firefighter challenge coins are a great example of memorial service gifts. These coins can bear the insignia of the deceased’s fire department, as well as a favorite quote, prayer or scripture. Firefighter challenge coins are an inexpensive and thoughtful way of honoring your fallen loved one.
If you’re looking for a lasting memorial, consider giving to a charity donation in the name of the deceased. This can be done at the same time as the memorial service, allowing attendees to make a donation on the spot or at a later time. If no charity strikes you as especially appropriate, you can always set up a donation fund for the entire fire department.
Online Memorial Pages
Online memorials are becoming more and more popular, and with good reason. Not only do they provide a permanent memorial outlet; they also allow people to continuously make donations to a memorial charity or fire department. One good way such memorial sites do this is by selling memorial items, such as firefighter challenge coins or a firefighter badge. Later, the proceeds of such sales are donated to the memorial charity.
Nothing honors a firefighter more than setting up a scholarship in his or her name. Scholarships allow countless opportunities for underprivileged students to achieve their dreams. Firefighter memorial scholarships can be department-specific, or they can be available to only a specific type of student.
Lastly, encourage friends and family members to create an artistic memorial themselves. This can be a poem, a song, a painting, or anything else they can think of. These pieces of art can be shared at the memorial service, or on the online memorial page. This honors the memory of the departed while encouraging everyone involved in that person’s life to reflect on the memories they had with him or her.
The death of firefighter, be it friend or family, is a very difficult thing to deal with. One of the best ways to get through the pain of grief is to honor that person’s memory, and the above examples are all great ways to do just that.
~Jeff Burkman, 2011