COLORADO SPRINGS — A ceremony to honor fallen firefighters and their families was held Saturday morning at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs. Thousands of people from across the United States and Canada attend The International Association Of Firefighters, Fallen Firefighter Memorial.
The ceremony started with a motorcycle parade, followed by the color guard and the bagpipes.
patches from New York, San Antonio, and Baltimore county represent just a few of the fire departments that traveled far and wide to be here in Colorado Springs for the fallen firefighter memorial.
The Colorado Springs mayor and a spokesperson for The International Association Of Firefighters, made a powerful speech highlighting the courage and sacrifice men and women firefighters make throughout their careers.
The ceremony honored more than 500 firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty. their name and where they were from was announced to the crowd. Then a flag was presented to the The Verzi family.
“Overwhelming is an understatement, very bittersweet,” Denise Verzi said.
Denise and her daughters travel all the way from New York to be at the ceremony. The family is in Colorado Springs to honor and remember their husband and father Michael Verzi.
“We are proud of him, we are really proud of him. He would not have changed anything. There was not anyone saying we have to be here, but we wanted to be here,” Denise Verzi said.
Michael Verzi passed away last May, after serving in New York's Fire Department for 25 years. Denise Verzi said her husband got called into work on September 11, 2001. She said it was because of the things he ingested that day, they took his life 21 years later. Denise said, it's horrible to think about, but her husband loved his job and would do it all again.
“To the day he passed, he was a firefighter for life,” Aria Verzi said.
Denise and Michael Verzi are Aria’s parents. She said the ceremony was emotional but it brought up good memories for her.
"He would come to my sister's school. It was the greatest thing ever. He would teach all the kids to stop, drop and roll and come with all the gear and we would go up with him, so we are always very proud of him," Aria Verzi said.
The Verzi’s said they felt a lot of support from other firefighters' families at the ceremony.
"You know you just start talking to people and you're hugging each other and giving each other support. That's what really this all is, I feel like, it's a lot of community. We are supporting each other, we are here for each other, it is really special,” Denise Verzi said.
Michael Verzi’s name and 571 others were added to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial.
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