On April 24, 1996, the worst case of workplace violence in the fire service of the United States struck at the heart of the Jackson, Mississippi Fire Department. At 3:15 p.m. four of the finest fire service personnel were killed while they attended a staff meeting.
It was during the funeral services for these four men that mention was made that Jackson needed a Fallen Firefighter's Memorial. While the fire department had been in existence since 1904, and had experienced seven earlier lines of duty deaths, there was not a memorial or a place of honor where the names of Jacksons Fallen Firefighters were listed. Without such a memorial, time has a tendency to erase our memories of those who gave so much. In the case of these men no one should ever forget the contributions, that during their lives, they made to the citizens of Jackson. Nor should we forget the loss experienced by the families of these men
The first funds raised for such a memorial were obtained in June of 1996, when a memorial golf tournament raised almost four thousand dollars. In July, a non-profit organization was formed to provide the vehicle by which funds could be raised and a tax-exempt status could be obtained. In September, officers were elected and a plan was set in motion to build Jackson's Fallen Firefighter's Memorial.
During 1997, another golf tournament was held and plans were made to hold the first Memorial Bass Tournament. The funds generated by these events as well as tee-shirt sales and donations by the public and businesses put this project on track.
It was obvious that both the golf tournament and bass tournament would be the answer to raising the needed funds for this project. The bass tournament took off like a rocket.
Four years after our first fundraiser, ground was broken adjacent to Jackson's first fire station built in 1904. This historic building and grounds are located on the corner of Pearl and President Streets. The completion of Jackson's Fallen Fallen Firefighter's Memorial was about to become a reality.
Dedicated October 29, 2000, Jackson's Fallen Firefighter's Memorial is an all-inspiring site. Standing over ten feet tall, the bronze Firefighter's Memorial graces an area of ground that will always be sacred to those who worked so hard to raise the funds for such a project. Flanked by sidewalks on both sides, visitors can take a close look at the bronze detail of a Jackson Firefighter rescuing a small child from the ravages of fire. The names of those Jackson Firefighters who have given so much to the department and the city of Jackson are forever etched in the black granite base.
Artist and sculptor Dr. Steve Glaze from Clinton, Mississippi accomplished the detailed bronze work. Working with committee members, Dr. Glaze has made this a one-of-a-kind memorial, a vision of compassion and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
While the initial project has been completed, The Fallen Firefighter's Memorial Fund continues to raise funds for worthy causes. The compassion firefighters have for others in the community continues.
A special thanks to all sponsors of events, including the fishermen, golfers, and all who contributed so much. Without your help, this memorial would not have become a reality.