The Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service
The annual Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service is held each year on the last Sunday in September, which has been designated as the state’s official day to honor Minnesota’s fallen firefighters. Each event recognizes dozens of people, including newly discovered line of duty deaths and families the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation was able to track down since last year’s memorial service. The foundation coordinates the effort to recognize the state’s firefighters who died in the line of duty and provides support and resources to fire departments, firefighters and their families throughout Minnesota.
Learn More about past memorial ceremonies, firefighters’ stories and Minnesota media coverage.
The 2016 Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service ceremony will take place on the grounds of the State Capitol starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 25.
This year's event will be held on Sunday, September 25, 2016. Please register in advance so we can comfortably accommodate all in attendance.
- 10:45 - 11:15 Interfaith Service
- 11:30 - 12:15 Honor Roll
- 12:45 Escort Through the Sea of Uniforms
- 1:00 - 2:30 Memorial Service
The day begins with an interfaith service after which, honor guard personnel will read the honor roll. Families will enter the Capitol grounds through a sea of uniforms, and be escorted to their seats. Bells across Minnesota will ring to honor the state’s fallen firefighters. Family members and the public are welcome to spend time within the Fallen Firefighter Memorial and make etchings of their loved-one’s name.
Firefighters from across the state are expected to attend in order to show support for their fallen colleagues and the families they left behind.
This event is free, but please register so the foundation can plan accordingly.
Since 1881, 217 Minnesota firefighters have died in the line of duty. In 2011, the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation launched an initiative to move the Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial from the baggage claim area at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and create a larger, more accessible and interactive memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol. The new memorial gives families, friends, co-workers and community members a permanent location to pay tribute to these men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
International architecture/engineering firm LEO A DALY provided design, project management and cost estimation services to create the new memorial while Westwood Professional Services was responsible for survey and civil engineering. The firms partnered on a pro-bono basis with the Minnesota Fire Service Foundation. The approximately 6,000-square-foot memorial, which was dedicated on Sept. 30, 2012, incorporates several distinctive design features within a landscaped garden and paved assembly area. The main focal point is a large monolith supported by a grid of steel columns that houses the Minnesota Fire Service Memorial Statue. This bronze, figurative sculpture of a firefighter rescuing a child, which was previously on display at the MSP International Airport, is lit by natural light through a circular void in the monolith. The 19,000-pound monolith, measuring 22 by 28 feet, was fabricated by EDR, Ltd., of Siren, Wis. The bronze statue at the center of the memorial was refinished by its original sculptor, Douglas O. Freeman, at Casting Creations of Minnesota, a foundry in Howard Lake.
The monolith is made of weathering steel, which over time rusts to form a protective coating – a process analogous to the oxidation of fire. The organizing grid of 100 potential pavilion columns embodies a repeating century of years – 10 decades by 10 years per decade. Currently, a constellation of 86 columns are mapped on the grid, recording the years in which Minnesota firefighters have died in the line of duty. The names of each of Minnesota’s fallen firefighters are inscribed on the columns. The design allows for new columns to be added onto the grid for additional inscriptions in the future, making it a living monument instead of a snapshot in time.
Also, the memorial ground rises to present approaching visitors with a wall inscribed with names of the 791 fire departments throughout the state. The site’s landscaped garden and paved area provides a space for quiet contemplation, and also serves as the ceremonial location for large annual memorial services. Additionally, a sculpted wooden bench with a burned finish provides a place for people to sit and reflect on the dangers firefighters face in their lives.