Mike Collinge says he was honoured to be chosen to escort the family of fallen Lone Butte firefighter Henry Van Kessel at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sept. 11.
Van Kessel met an untimely death on Nov. 20, 2010 in a vehicle accident while responding to a call at the Lone Butte Volunteer Fire Department hall, where he had been a volunteer since 2007.
Attending the Eighth Annual Canadian Firefighters Memorial Ceremony brought some closure for Van Kessel’s children, as well as for Collinge.
Van Kessel was honoured along with 13 other brave Canadians who died in the line of duty or from a work-related illness in the past year.
Much of the attention at the memorial ceremony is focused on the red ceremonial table, which holds the helmets or caps that represent each of the fallen who are being honoured.
These helmets, as well as an engraved medallion, are presented to the families of the fallen at the ceremony.
Silent sentries, known as the Headdress Party, who represent the Canadian Fire Service, are placed at each corner of the ceremonial table. Each carries items with symbolic meaning to the fire service.
As each of the fallen is remembered, there is a ringing of the bell, which called the firefighters into action, and at the memorial ceremony, the bell is rung three rings, three times, solemnly announcing a comrade’s passing.
Just as this national ceremony is to honour and give reverence to fallen Canadian firefighters, the Lone Butte Volunteer Fire Department is near completion of a memorial to Henry Van Kessel, so he will never be forgotten for his service and dedication to his own local community of Lone Butte.
Folks who would like to read more about the 2011Canadian Firefighters Annual Memorial Ceremony can go to email@example.com.