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Firefighters' annual mass at Holy Family Church

May 27, 2013 3:24:56 PM PDT
Chicago firefighters honored their lost brethren Monday at their annual mass at Holy Family Church on the near West Side.

Inside the packed church, firefighters, family members, and friends honored the men and women lost this year as part of an 80-year tradition in Chicago.

A bell tolled for each life lost, including Captain Herbie Johnson, who was killed while fighting a fire, and Walter Patmon, Jr. who went into cardiac arrest hours after fighting a fire.

Their families and the families of many others use the Memorial Day mass to honor their loved ones.

"My father passed away July 14th and he was a Chicago fireman, and my brother is a Chicago fireman, and I worry about him all the time, too," said Pam Hormanski. "It's a wonderful ceremony to acknowledge their existence."

Charlie Boyd, a retired lieutenant with the Chicago Fire Department, has been taking part in the service for 40 years.

"It's a brotherhood, and I lost a nephew this year," said Boyd. "It's in my heart."

After mass, there was a 21-gun salute, and bagpipes played in front of uniformed fire department members.


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