Firefighters honored during memorial ceremony in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Crowds of nearly 7,000 people showed up for the fallen firefighter memorial ceremony in Memorial Park.
The memorial honors those who died in the line of duty or from illnesses contracted while on duty.
Flowers and pictures that line the walls full of names may not seem like much to some, but for others it's everything.
"Now there is closure and he's recognized as being a hero with all the other heroes on the wall," said Barbara White from Toronto.
These walls are filled with thousands of names of fallen firefighters from all over the country.
All of them have a story, all of them have families and friends.
"Capt. Dowling. He was one of my best friends in life," said David Armstrong, a firefighter for the City of Houston.
"Kelly Wong's passing, me and him are both first house rookies together," said Robert Tapia, a firefighter for the City of Los Angeles.
Two hundred seventy-one names are being added this year. Of those,
211 firefighters succumbed to fire-service related cancers.
Something White knows all too well.
"My kids were just teenagers when he died and our lives really changed a lot," she said.
While there are dozens of departments here, they all have one thing in common.
"You don't become a fireman, you're born a fireman. It's in you, you either got it or you don't," said Armstrong.
"No matter where you come from, everyone has a respect for each other," said Tapia.
"It lets you know that you're not alone in the struggle, in this journey," said Latonya Foster, whose husband is a fallen firefighter.
Many of these families don't call Colorado Springs home, but a piece of them will forever remain here.

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