Vice-President Joe Biden joined Arizona’s U.S. representatives Congressman Paul Gosar, Trent Franks, Matt Salmon, Ann Kirkpatrick, Ron Barber, and Kyrsten Sinema and thousands of mourners today at the memorial service honoring 19 firefighters killed June 30 while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. Brendan McDonough, the lone survivor of the Granite Mountain hotshot crew, stoically recited the “The Hot Shot’s Prayer.”
McDonough prayed: “For if this day on the line … I should answer death’s call … Lord, bless my hot shot Crew … My family, one and all.” He concluded by telling the crowd: “Thank you, and I miss my brothers.”
Congressman Gosar, who represents Yarnell, a Yavapai County town, said, “Today we are all Arizonans, as the sadness touching the Yarnell community stretches across the country. Together, we mourn the loss of 19 fallen heroes and honor their courageous sacrifice. Let us never forget the stories of these brave firefighters and may we remain committed to preventing future tragedies such as this. My deepest thoughts and prayers remain with those who lost their lives, their families, and the Yarnell community.”
Congressman Trent Franks said, “Those who were tragically lost in the Yarnell wildfire were living demonstrations of love and heroism. Rushing toward life-threatening danger in order that those rushing away from it may live is the very noblest expression of self-sacrificing bravery. Jesus Himself said, ‘Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ My thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the firefighters who lost their lives, as well as with the hundreds of families who now find themselves without a home.”
“Arizona lost 19 heroes in the Yarnell blaze outside Prescott, Arizona. These brave firefighters fought on the front lines to protect our neighbors and families and their bravery and service to Arizona will be remembered forever. Tragedies like these remind us that our first responders so often sacrifice their own lives to protect their community. Today we honor these fallen heroes,” said Congressman Matt Salmon.
Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick said, “Today, Arizonans come together as one family. As we say farewell to 19 courageous firefighters, our hearts are with their loved ones. And our sleeves are rolled up for their community. We will never forget the sacrifices of the Yarnell 19. May their brave souls rest in peace.”
Congressman Ron Barber said, “Our lives are touched by firefighters daily. They are our family members, we see them alongside us in the community for various events, and on days like this, we have a sacred honor of thanking them and their families for their service on behalf of the people we represent.”
“Today, all of Arizona stands together to mourn our fallen firefighters,” said Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema. Nineteen of our state’s most courageous died in the line of duty – we will not forget their families’ loss and sacrifice. I extend my deepest gratitude to the firefighters and first responders whose continued service and dedication have guided us through this tragedy.”