Hundreds gathered on City Hall Plaza Friday afternoon to honor the two firefighters who died Wednesday battling a nine-alarm fire in Boston’s Back Bay.
Lt. Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy died when they were fighting a fire in a brownstone apartment building in the Back Bay area on Wednesday.
Mayor Martin Walsh said Friday the courage of Walsh and Kennedy will never be forgotten, and “words cannot repay the debt of gratitude” the city owes them and their families.
“Lt. Walsh and firefighter Kennedy will be remembered in Boston’s history as men who embodied the highest virtues of this city and this nation,” Walsh said during Friday’s ceremony. “They were devoted to their families and they lived in service to their communities.”
Fire Commissioner John Hasson said the compassion and kindness of their fellow citizens has lifted the spirits of firefighters.
Bagpipers played the hymn “Amazing Grace” as the red flag of the Boston Fire Department, and the blue flag of the firefighters’ union, were raised.
A minute of silence was observed by the crowd that included some family members of the men who died.
Officials on Friday also announced the establishment of a memorial fund to help the Walsh and Kennedy families, as well as arrangements for the two men’s funerals.
A wake and funeral Mass for Walsh will be held at St. Patrick’s Church in the suburb of Watertown, where he grew up. The wake will be from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Kennedy’s wake will be Wednesday from 2:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at P.E. Murray Funeral Home in the West Roxbury neighborhood. His funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Holy Name church in West Roxbury.