Tyler Rosenlund and his mother were one of 15 families to receive a folded and framed B.C. flag at the BC Fallen Fire Fighters’ Memorial service on Monday.
The commemorative event recognized B.C. firefighters who died in the line of duty.
The flag represented Rosenlund’s father, Cpt. Robert R. A. Rosenlund, who served the Vancouver Police Department until he died of cancer in 2017.
For Rosenlund, the day was even more significant for the fact that he too serves as a firefighter, for the Burnaby Fire Department.
“It was a proud moment for sure and obviously I want to follow in his footsteps. It was sad but proud,” Rosenlund said. “Coming to Victoria and seeing this many firefighters here showing their respect is obviously really nice and gives us a bit of closure, but also brings up a lot of memories as well.”
Rosenlund was at a loss for words as he tried to describe how his father would feel.
Five hundred uniformed firefighters from across B.C. marched through Victoria and gathered behind the B.C. Legislature for the memorial service
On a local level, the Victoria Fire Department recognized retired Victoria Fire Chief Richard Couch, who died from cancer last June.
In a sea of blue and after the ring of bagpipes and drums faded, B.C. Premier John Horgan spoke of the supreme sacrifices the fallen firefighters had made.
“It’s really an honor and a privilege to see so many people, first responders from around B.C. assembled here today to acknowledge that sacrifice, and to ensure that that sacrifice wasn’t in vain,” Horgan said. “We cannot ask more from the families assembled here than what you’ve given.”
B.C. Legislature Speaker of the House Darryl Plecas spoke of the heroism of firefighters, and of their families.
“All of us who have lost a loved one knows that the heartache never goes away; there is that void that we just can’t escape from and all we want to do is scream,” Plecas said. “So I guess the memorial here for all of us is a way of our saying ‘we scream with you,’ and that will be forever.”
Firefighters put their lives at risk in their day-to-day job, either from exposure to flames or to carcinogenic chemicals which gives them an extremely high chance of getting cancer.
“The dangers of our profession cannot be understated, for they are lifelong and many times invisible. Each firefighter enters this profession understanding each day they will risk their lives for the benefit of others,” said Gord Ditchburn, executive director of the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Association. “I can think of no greater distinction than gathering as we have today and recognizing our fallen.”
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