The New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial
I have written before about the various monuments and memorials that can be found at the Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York. This beautiful area that serves as the seat of government for New York State also pays a beautiful tribute to the past. One of these sites of remembrance is the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial, which can be found between the Justice Department and the Egg on the Empire State Plaza.
The New York State Firefighters Memorial was built to honor the men and women of the fire service who have lost their lives in the line of duty in the Empire State since 1811. Dedicated in 1988, the memorial includes a bronze statue backed by a granite wall inscribed with the names of around 1,800 firefighters who gave their lives to save others. According to the New York State Office of General Services, “The Wall is fifty-four feet long and fifteen feet high, with the names of the firefighters placed randomly to allow for additions.”
The ten-foot-high bronze statue depicts two firefighters rescuing a wounded comrade. It is the work of artist Robert Eccleston of Schuyler Falls, New York. The New York State Office of General Services writes,"In concept, the firefighters are dragging their comrade away from the wall of death."
The charcoal and red brick pavers on the ground form a Maltese Cross, a firefighter's symbol of protection and badge of honor.
During the dedication of the memorial in 1998, Governor George E. Pataki, whose father was a volunteer firefighter for 50 years, said, “Because of the danger and the risk they face, firefighters must be willing, each time they go out, to make the supreme sacrifice.” He added further, “A memorial to commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of such a vital service to our communities is the very least New York State can do.”
From distant battlefields, to the confines of our small communities, countless sacrifices have been made to build a better world. We must never break faith with those who have gone above and beyond for our safety. By visiting memorials and erecting symbols of remembrance, we ensure that the names of our heroes live on forever.