Charleston, SC (WVLT/CBS) - Today is a day of mourning in Charleston, South Carolina, as the nine firefighters lost earlier this week are honored during a memorial service.
As Claire Leka reports, thousands of firefighters from near and far, including several firefighters from Knoxville, have come to pay their respects.
A solemn procession of grief and solidarity, as thousands of firefighters from across the nation and Canada gather in Charleston to pay tribute to nine brethren killed Monday night.
"It always hits home, if it's one person, it hits home. if it's one of brothers, it hits home. And certainly nine is a devastating tragedy,” says retired NYC firefighter Larry Tracy.
Inside the North Charleston Coliseum, family members and well wishers remembered the men lost in a furniture store inferno, the deadliest firefighting tragedy since 9/11.
sot Mayor Joseph Riley / Charleston
"They did what they and every firefighter is prepared to do,” Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley says. “Everyday they put on their badge, to risk their life, and if necessary to give their life to make their community safer."
So many came to honor the fallen firefighters and their families officials set up a jumbo screen outside the Coliseum for those who couldn’t get a seat inside.
"I thought about their families and what they must be going through, having to have somebody pull up in front of their house and tell them that their loved ones weren't coming home to them and what a miserable feeling that must be,” says Dallas firefighter Scott Clumpner.
Numerous prominent dignitaries came to mourn, including several presidential candidates, but officials here in South Carolina promised politics will take a backseat so families and the community can grieve and focus on the firefighters who gave their lives to make the city of Charleston safer.