PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Every year, men and women from the Philadelphia Fire and Police departments gather at the annual Living Flame Memorial in Franklin Square to honor those who have died while in the line of duty.
“We pay tribute to their families,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.
“It takes a lot of courage to come out here. This their first year, but there are many families year after year that come out here and I don’t know how they do it some times, to be honest with you, but we are thankful to them for the service of their loved ones and we will always be here for them.”
Family members of those who have died this year, lay flowers on a plaque, next to where the names were inscribed.
“It’s just a good way for the families on both sides to come together and have that common bond that none of us have,” said Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby.
Those remembered from 2016:
Forty-seven-year-old Philadelphia Police Officer Raymond Diaz, who died from injury complications. He was in a car accident in North Philadelphia in 2016 while on duty. Diaz is also remembered for a bravery award he received when he ran into a burning building to rescue people trapped inside in 2013.
Forty-one-year-old Police Officer Douglas Bamberger died of a heart attack while on duty at the Criminal Justice Center at 13th and Filbert Streets. He had also won several awards for his service.
Forty-two-year-old Firefighter Lieutenant Gabriel Lee died of a heart attack while on duty, following a night of firefighting in North Philadelphia.
“We are together in death as we are together in life,” said Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel. “For us having this joint combine memorial really says so much about the city and says so much about the partnership that we have between the agencies out in the street.”
The annual event is held in May for National Law Enforcement Month.