Community remembers fallen firefighters with vigil; memorial service

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by Tami Hoey

azfamily.com

Posted on July 1, 2013 at 10:49 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 4:19 PM

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PHOENIX -- Community members are coming together to remember the 19 firefighters who lost their lives fighting the Yarnell Hill Wildfire.

In Phoenix Monday night, hundreds gathered at a candlelight vigil organized by the Phoenix Fire Department.

The crowd assembled at 7th Ave. & Jefferson, near the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office, where the bodies of the firefighters were brought earlier today.

We spoke to some folks who say they felt compelled to be there to pay their respects. "It affects all of us," Cathy Cleveland told us. "Nationwide. Coast to coast. I have a family member in the fire department and I thought it was only right, in his honor, and for the rest of our boys that we lost, and their family members, that we be down here this evening to respect that."

Earlier Monday, a memorial service was held at Embry Riddle University in Prescott. Community members packed the gymnasium to cope with their grief, seeking comfort among friends and neighbors.

Almost 1,000 people filled the bleachers to capacity as they shared memories, prayers, hugs and tears. They wanted to offer each other comfort and show their support for the families of the 19 young heroes who lost their lives.

"I had to come and say thank you, and show our support," one woman told us. "I'd like to do anything I can for the families."

"They were all of our sons," say another woman. "Because we are a tight community."

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