Honoring a Brother

"Why did you go?" a reporter asked…

The morning of December 15th was overcast with temperatures in the 40’s, and showers were expected.

At 0810 hours, the bus pulled up to Marlborough Fire Headquarters. Firefighters from my community and surrounding towns arrived to make a trip that we have made far too many times… to attend the funeral of a fallen Brother. As part of the statewide mobilization, Marlborough Engine 1 was sent to Worcester’s Park Avenue station to provide coverage so the Worcester FD personnel could attend the funeral. Retired Worcester Jakes volunteered their service to be pilots for the out of town companies.

As we pulled into Worcester, we joined a sea of dress blue uniforms all there for the same reason. They came from all over the United States and Canada. Career jakes, Call and Volunteer Firefighters gathered together, 12,000- + strong and totally forgetting the rivalries that occur between all three factions of the Fire Service. We forgot our differences to honor a Brother:  Firefighter Jon Davies, Worcester Fire Department, Rescue Company 1.

News helicopters and remote broadcast units from all of the major Boston television station were there to cover the funeral live on television.

The busses arrived at the staging area and everyone dispersed to the area of the church. Two Worcester Ladder companies were set up with a large American Flag hung between them.  The Funeral procession began with an escort of motorcycle units from the Worcester PD and surrounding communities, followed by a procession of Worcester Fire apparatus. Worcester Engine 12 bore the casket of Brother Davies to his service and final resting place.

There was not enough room in the church for everyone, so many Brothers and Sisters there to pay their respects either waited outside, where units of the Providence Canteen , American Red Cross  and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services Rehab unit were giving out coffee, bottled water, pastries and snacks or to one of the local restaurants, who opened early to accommodate the firefighters with food and their favorite beverages.

After the service, it started to rain… as if Mother Nature were shedding tears for FF Jon Davies. We all lined up again to give our Fallen Brother one final salute, then we proceeded to a collation at the DCU Center.

Firefighter funerals are like family reunions.  I met friends from all over the region and other parts of the country who were there to honor Jon Davies.  At the restaurants, rehab areas and collation, one could not swing a dead cat in a circle without hitting someone you knew.

Up on my return, I called by a reporter for one of the local newspapers and asked why we went to Worcester. I answered her question with three words….

Duty.  Honor.  Brotherhood.

Need I say more?

Rest east Brother Jon Davies…rest easy.

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