Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fallen Firefighters and Police Honored

The annual Living Flame Memorial Service honoring police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Fallen Firefighters and Police Honored

Living Flame Memorial Service Video: Living Flame Memorial Service

The annual Living Flame Memorial Service honoring police and firefighters killed in the line of duty was held Wednesday at Franklin Square.

During the speeches before the wreath-laying ceremony, I was wandering in the rear of the crowd when I saw Police Crpl. Robert Pawlowski and a young boy meandering among the uniformed officers just as I was doing.

Pawlowski seemed to know everybody, but the youngster wasn't as outgoing.

After photographing them for a while, I introduced myself.

The Corporal an instructor at the Police Academy, and his brother, John Pawlowski, also a cop, was murdered in 2009, shot with a gun hidden in the killer's pocket as he and his partner responded to a taxi cab dispute in Logan.

John, Jr. was born a few months after his dad died.

Reaching his hand out is Inspector Aaron Horne, who was Pawlowski's commanding officer. Later I photographed John, Jr. with his mother placing flowers on his name on the memorial.

Since records were kept in the Philadelphia Fire Department in 1871, 288 members of the department have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Since 1828, at least 250 Philadelphia police officers have died while on duty.

Names added this year were Fire Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney, killed last month in a fire at an abandoned warehouse in Kensington. No active police personnel have died in the line of duty since last year’s service. More photos from the service here. The video is below.

Inquirer Staff Photographer
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About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

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Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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