Farm Progress

Missouri Mile slideshow: Memorial honors fallen firefighters and connects us to 9/11.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

January 26, 2018

12 Slides

Kingdom City, Mo. Population 130. Complete with two truck fueling centers, it is a common stopping point for travelers to fill their gas tanks or grab a bite to eat. But if that is all they do, they are missing a very moving tribute to those who lost their lives while serving as firefighters.

It is hard to miss the 6-foot-tall kneeling firefighter atop a brick wall. He sits just north of Interstate 70 at the Fire Fighters Memorial, which was dedicated in 2002. Today, it serves as a tribute to those firefighters who died in the line of duty. They represent the thousands of volunteer, rural and city firefighters.

Visitors are often drawn to the base of the statue. Below it is an inscription, “Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends,” and the words of “A Fire Fighter’s Prayer.” However, this was not the original sculpture.

The kneeling firefighter statue’s history is entwined with the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Originally commissioned by the Firefighters Association of Missouri and cast in Parma, Italy, the first statue landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Sept. 9, en route to Missouri. Then the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center began halting all air travel, including the flight scheduled for the statue.

With all that transpired during those days, Missouri’s firefighters decided to leave that first statue behind and present it to the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation as a gift to all New Yorkers. Today, the second statue graces the memorial wall.

Inside City Hall in Kingdom City, adjacent to the memorial, is part of the bumper of Engine 28, which was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. It was presented to Greg Frost, a Mercer, Mo., volunteer firefighter with the Cainsville Fire Protection District. He went to New York to help with the recovery efforts. Cainsville FPD displayed the bumper until 2014. Then it was given to the Fire Fighters Historical Preservation Foundation of Missouri, and now is a part of a small museum.

Outside, surrounding the statue are large black, granite walls. They are inscribed with names and form a Wall of Honor. Some of these are from fallen firefighters and date back to 1838. Visitors can walk through time and perhaps find a name of a loved one or family friend.

Whether you visit or drive by, the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri is a sight that makes us pause to remember those who paid the ultimate price for service to humankind.

Here’s a link to the location of the Fire Fighters Memorial of Missouri.

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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