The California Firefighters Memorial is a unique and stunning tribute to more than 1,400 firefighters who have died in the line of duty since California became a state in 1850. The Memorial is located in Capitol Park, the grounds adjacent to the State Capitol in Sacramento. Capitol Park is a state and national landmark.
About the Memorial
The California Firefighters Memorial features three elements, all of which work together seamlessly while maintaining the beauty and integrity of the park:
The Memorial Wall: A two-sided brushed limestone wall on which is inscribed the names of every firefighter who has died in the line of duty since California became a state. The wall is flanked by bronze statues of firefighter “turnouts” – the protective garments worn by firefighters in action
“Fallen Brother”: A bronze statue, directly adjacent to the wall, that honors our fallen heroes. It depicts an anguished firefighter removing a lifeless colleague from the flames. The statue was created by Jesus Romo, a retired Sacramento firefighter
“Holding the Line” – another bronze statue, this one honoring the profession of firefighting. It depicts four firefighters in action working a hose line. The statue was created by renown artist Lawrence Allen Noble.
The Memorial currently carries the names of more than 1,400 California fallen firefighters. Individuals qualify for placement on the wall if it is officially determined that their death occurred either on duty or as a result of illness or injury directly related to their job.
The Memorial was born in 1992 with the passage of legislation authorizing the California Firefighters’ Memorial in Capitol Park, the historic grounds of California’s State Capitol in Sacramento. The site was formally dedicated on May 31, 1995. From its inception, the Memorial was to include three basic elements – a Memorial Wall inscribed with the names of every California firefighter who has died in the line of duty; and two statues that would immortalize these fallen heroes.
Over the course of a decade, more than $2 million was raised privately for the construction and maintenance of the California Firefighters Memorial — no taxpayer dollars were spent. Most of the funding came from firefighters themselves, through the specialized Firefighter License Plates and The Firefighters’ Memorial Tax Check-off.
The California Fire Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization created by California Professional Firefighters, raised the money to construct the Memorial and is responsible for its ongoing upkeep. Ongoing fundraising ensures the continued maintenance of the Memorial with no taxpayer dollars.
The California Firefighters Memorial was unveiled on April 6, 2002, carrying the names of 855 fallen California firefighters. Since the unveiling, more than 400 names have been added at annual Memorial ceremonies.
California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony
In the autumn of each year, the California Fire Foundation hosts the annual California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony. The annual ceremony honors individuals whose names are being added to the Memorial Wall – either from the previous year, or from earlier years. As it did when the Memorial was unveiled, the ceremony features a solemn procession from the Capitol steps to the Memorial site. Every California governor, from Gray Davis to Gavin Newsom, has participated in Memorial ceremonies.
Find out more about the 2022 Memorial Ceremony HERE