Ceremony salutes police and fire service

In a special ceremony Sunday morning, firefighters and police will be given a place of honour alongside war veterans in a downtown Penticton park.

In a special ceremony Sunday morning, firefighters and police will be given a place of honour alongside war veterans in a downtown Penticton park.

A new cairn will be dedicated in Veterans Park to honour members of those services, joining the First and Second World War cenotaphs and other cairns already standing in the grassy park.

“The Air Force has their cairn, the Navy has their cairn and now the firefighters and the RCMP are on their own cairn,” said Dennis Hill, a member of the veterans committee that oversees the park, located next to the courthouse on Main Street.

“We feel quite honoured that they are part of the park,” said Hill. “They serve the country the same as the troops did. It’s a way of recognizing their service. The police have done overseas service with peacekeeping and the firefighters are international. Every since the Second World War, the fire service has been recognized as the fourth military service.”

Sunday also marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, and the day will begin with the firefighters holding a private service, honouring both their international comrades who perished in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers as well as the men and women of the fire service everywhere who have fallen in the line of duty, including, at the urging of Penticton Fire Chief Wayne Williams, all emergency first responders.

That will end with a minute of silence at 9:59 a.m., the moment the first tower fell. After the closed ceremony, the firefighters will muster in front of the fire hall and, joining with RCMP members, march to the Veterans Park for the public service, which begins at 10:30 a.m.

“They’re having a service there and then they are marching over to Nanaimo Square, picking up the RCMP and continuing their march down to the cenotaph,” said Hill. “There will be a service, the laying of the wreathes for past firefighters and RCMP and a talk on the history of the cairns built in the park.“