PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - They gave their lives protecting the public. Now the city is honoring them with a special ceremony. A tribute to fallen heroes.
The city of Philadelphia showed its unending appreciation and respect for its fallen firefighters and police officers May 2.
The Living Flame Memorial service at Franklin Square Park, remembering the brave men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty.
“Your loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the city and we are forever grateful to them for that,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross.
A special tribute was offered to Fire Captains Kenneth Greene and Matt LeTourneau whose names, sadly, were added to the memorial.
Greene, who was 60, lost his life in September of 2017 after being rushed to the hospital while on duty at Engine 37. His family was deeply touched by the outpouring of support.
“It made me feel honored to call such a dedicated man my father,” said Minesha Greene, Captain Greene’s daughter.
Captain Matt LeTourneau, was a firefighter since he was 16, and a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department for the last 11 years. The 42-year-old died four months ago, on January 6, while fighting a fire on Colorado Street.
“For his family and I, the loss is just unfathomable. Matt was just an amazing, amazing person,” said Mary Kury, Captain LeTourneau’s girlfriend.
Kury said she could feel his spirit at the service.
“This is exactly where he would be today if he was with us, so I feel in coming here, it makes me closer to him,” Kury explained.
The solemn ceremony, which takes place the first week of May each year, was marked by wreath presentations and a rifle salute.
Three doves were released to commemorate the passing of those who lost their lives in service to the city.
The most memorable moment was the long line of family members placing carnations on the memorial for their deceased loved ones.
Anne Skerski’s husband, Police Officer Gary Skerski, was gunned down while responding to a robbery. It happened in May of 2006.
“It’s sad to see how many people are actually here. So, how many people have lost someone in the line of duty. We pray for all the officers out here today,” said Anne Skerski.