Gone, But Not Forgotten: City Pays Homage To Fallen Police & Fire Officers At Living Flame Memorial Service

Filed under: Featured News,Photo Gallery,Subject Categories |

By RORY McGLASSON

It’s been 23 days since the city lost two firefighters in a Kensington blaze, so this year’s tribute to fallen police and fire officials was more somber than usual.

Two Philadelphia Fire Department firefighters – Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney –died in the line of duty, following a five-alarm fire at the former Thomas Buck Hosiery Factory – a six-story vacant building — at 1827 E. York St. (York and Jasper Avenue) in Kensington on April 9, 2012.

Neary and Sweeney were added to the roll call at the annual Living Flame Memorial Service honors police officers and firefighters who have died in the line of duty.

“I hope this city will realize the importance of these men and will help them in any way that they can to make their job safer so that they can come home to their families as I now will have to come home…with just memories of my husband,” said Dianne Neary, wife of Lieutenant Neary.

Dianne Neary, wife of Lieutenant Lt. Robert Neary today at Living Flame Memorial honoring her husband and Philadelphia fallen police and fire officials.

Both the Neary and Sweeney families attended the ceremony at Franklin Square Park, 6th and Race Street this afternoon.

Lt. Neary and Sweeney, both of the Ladder 10 Company in Kensington, sustained fatal injures due to a building collapse inside the adjacent Giamari Furniture Store.

“I always felt like he was good and would never get into a situation,” said Mrs. Neary. Unfortunately his situation occurred, and now I have to go on. God has given me the grace, and has also surrounded me with my angels… my Fire Department.”

Lieutenant Neary, 60, was a 37-year-veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department. Firefighter Daniel Sweeney, 25, was a five-year-member of the Philadelphia Fire Department. He comes from a family of fire fighters. Their names were added to the roster of deceased firefighters at the Living Flame Memorial in Franklin Square Park and their families.

CITY OFFCIALS stand to salute fallen heroes at Living Flame Memorial, Franklin Square Park. . Photo: Rory McGlasson

Mayor Michael Nutter, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey led a procession of family members of the fallen Philadelphia police officers and firefighters who died over the years in service to the City. They placed wreaths and carnations at the Living Flame Memorial in Franklin Square Park.
Among the program participants from the law-enforcement community were John McNesby, Pres. of Fraternal Order of Police/Philadelphia Lodge #5; and Bill Gault, Philadelphia Firefighters Union, Local 22.

Kimberley Pawlowski and son, John, lay flowers on his father's name at police and fire tribute at Franklin Square. Photo: Rory McGlasson.

During the one-hour ceremony, Philadelphia Police and Fire Pipes and Drums played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, and doves were released into the overcast sky at the end of the event to symbolically honor fallen firefighters Neary and Sweeney.

No active police personnel have died in the line of duty since last year’s service. Since records were kept by the Philadelphia Fire Department in 1871, 288 members of the Philadelphia Fire Department have made the ultimate sacrifice in the official line of duty. Since 1828, at least 250 Philadelphia police officers have been identified as dying on duty.

Detective John Hallaghan plays trumpet during Living Flame Memorial Service at Franklin Field. Photo: Rory McGlasson

Dianne Neary, wife of Lieutenant Lt. Robert Neary today at Living Memorial honoring her husband and Philadelphia fallen police and fire officials.

Gavin Hayes, 2, shields himself from light rain after attending Living Flame ceremony at Franklin Field. Gavin, who lost his grandfather Robert Hayes in 1993, attended event with his family. Photo: Rory McGlasson

Two trained doves are released into the overcast sky to symbolically honor fallen firefighters Neary and Sweeney at the conclusion of the event. Photo: Rory McGlasson

JOIN OUR NEWSPAPER
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.
Share
PDF Printer    Send article as PDF