(Owen O'Rourke)
News, Police/Fire

Saugus community comes together to remember fallen heroes on Firefighter Memorial Day

SAUGUS -- Each year on the second Sunday in June, local fire departments honor and remember those who have come before them on Firefighter Memorial Day.

The scene was no different in Saugus as firefighters donned their uniforms and local community members gathered to pay respects to fallen department members.

"We gather with pride on the second Sunday in June to reflect on the lives and efforts of those who have served this community as firefighters," said firefighter Anthony Arone of the Saugus Firefighters Relief Association. "This day, no matter how brief or minuscule it may seem, gives us reason to take time out of our busy schedules and reflect on the braves souls that have given themselves in the various forms of sacrifice for the betterment of others."

The ceremony included a performance by the North Shore Pipe Band, presentation of a commemorative wreath, and the reading of each fallen firefighter's name from the departments past, followed by the ringing of a bell.

Since last year's ceremony, the department lost one retired firefighter, Larry White, who joined the department in 1968. Chief Michael Newbury took extra time to honor White.

Newbury read a letter that White had written in England during his time in the U.S. Air Force to then-Saugus Fire Chief Thomas Nolan, where White talked about his wishes to serve as a Saugus firefighter after his service.

"That kind of dedication to one's country and then to one's town is what Larry's life was all about," Newbury said.

"I'm proud to stand here today and call him a friend. I remember a devoted father. I remember a devoted stepfather and I remember him a proud husband," he said. "Not only was he a friend, but he became a friend of the fire department."

The Saugus Fire ended the ceremony by honoring former Deputy Fire Chief Donald Shea with a plaque that included a  glass-encased chief emblem similar to the one seen on his fire helmet.

"They caught me totally by surprise," Shea said. "It's enough of an honor just to have worked with these guys, all the memories I have, it's humbling and I appreciate it very much."

Chief Newbury closed out his speech with a poem that he said fit well with the memory of White and with the day itself.

"Our job is to save lives. As many lives as we can at the cost of our own lives if need be. There is no particular logic to the mathematics and damn little glory," he read. "But there is tradition and there is honor and that is enough."

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