LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - After a decade of hard work, the Arkansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial was dedicated on Saturday afternoon. Politicians, service members, families and spectators all gathered to say one big thank you to those who gave their lives in service.
"Whether it's Little Rock, North Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Los Angeles, Miami, or Washington D.C., they are a code of brothers and sisters," said Gov. Mike Beebe.
"It's taken a long, long time, but it means a lot to everybody," said Toni Perkins, Highway 15 South's Assistant Fire Chief. "None of us want to lose a firefighter, but as you can see on that wall, we've lost way too many."
"Let's take a minute to say thank you and God bless you to the family members who support every bit as well as the men in uniform," Beebe said.
Other attendees included Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Asa Hutchinson, and Memorial Chairman Johnny Reep. THV's Craig O'Neill served as the Master of Ceremonies.
"We are Arkansans; we show we care," O'Neill said. "You all are fabulous to turn out on this incredible day."
Lt. Ray McCormack with the New York City Fire Department was the event's keynote speaker.
"Firefighters are at the core of what is good about a society," he said. "The willingness to do more, to go above and beyond what people expect is what firefighters are willing to do every day of the year."
"It couldn't have been any better. It was so nice, such a fine tribute to the fallen firefighters and their families," said Shirley Conner, whose grandson was a fallen firefighter.
"The loss is constant," McCormack said. "The loss is forever. No firefighter dies in vain."