Boston's "Forgotten Fire"
By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner
I have always believed that one of the greatest human desires is to not be forgotten once we have died. To live a life of meaning. This sense of purpose can come from our families, forging strong bonds that survive generations. It may come from a dedication to work, a true sense of vocation. However, I believe that through it all, there is a strong need for a human connection, great and small.
Last week on November 15, 2012, the Boston Fire Department along with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center remembered six fire fighters who died in the line of duty. They died when a brick wall collapsed while fighting the Luongo Restaurant Fire. The fire had been contained and was almost under control when the wall collapsed. Although it made headlines for a few days, it was quickly overshadowed by the Cocoanut Grove tragedy 13 days later. Thus, their sacrifice, and East Boston’s sorrow, became known locally as the “forgotten fire.”
On Thursday, a blustery cold day, the fire department hung a large American flag between two fire engine ladders. It billowed majestically in the breeze. An antique fire engine was also present. The fire department dedicated a beautiful memorial to the fallen six, with descendents of the fallen six present to place white roses on top of the memorial. A bell chimed after each name was read aloud.
There were speeches by politicians and by family members. Through it all, the work and sacrifice of the six men who died was remembered. Finally, after 70 years, the Luongo Fire is no longer the “forgotten fire.”
© Ramona Flightner