Yes, it's been a crazy week for the Gloucester Fire Department, with a change in acting leadership, questions swirling around the qualifications of the incoming chief as well, and an ongoing investigation into the actions of the department's honor guard on Memorial Day.
Yet all of those and any other political issues should be cast aside by firefighters, residents and officials alike when the Gloucester Firefighters' Relief Association hosts its annual Firefighters Memorial Sunday program this Sunday starting at 8:45 a.m.
The Gloucester program — with similar events set for Sunday in Rockport and Essex as well — begins with a parade by the full department from the Public Works yard on Poplar Street to the firefighters memorial in Cherry Hill Cemetery near Addison Gilbert Hospital. Dating to the 1800s, it is held each June to honor firefighters who have died in action or otherwise.
Coordinated by relief Association President and firefighter Mike Chipperini, and it is indeed a chance for firefighters to honor those who have gone before them. Yet it is also a chance for residents to turn out and show their gratitude and support for these public servants who put themselves in harm's way at fires and other emergency scenes.
Let's show that support this weekend — and please, kick the politics to the curb for this special day.