July 13, 2013

Granite Hills Hotshots Memorial

Where the memorial service was held. 
A lightening strike hit near the town of Yarnell, AZ and started a wildfire.  The Granite Hills Hotshots firefighters were called into action.  A swift change in the wind and 19 men never had a chance.  On June 30, 2013, these brave men were killed doing what they have done many times before.  Along with family, friends and people from all over, we were grieving their lost.  The town of Yarnell lost over 100 homes with half the town ravished by the fire.

I could not get a handle on why this happened.  I watched the beautiful memorial service on TV and cried the entire time.  Seeing pictures of these vibrant men enjoying life was heart wrenching.  A memorial was started at the firehouse in Prescott where the men were from.  This touching tribute started out small and grew quickly.  My sister and I decided to visit the memorial as part of our healing.  I was totally blown away by how big it was.  So many items were along the entire fence surrounding the building and parking lot.  We started on one end taking pictures and reading all the wonderful things others have written.  There were tee shirts hanging on the fence representing almost every fire, law, and other municipalities.  Family and friends added photos of the men along with many handmade items.  It took us over an hour to see the entire tribute.

After having lunch with friends, we decided to take the back roads home which would take us through Yarnell.  The first burnt area we came upon was near Prescott.  It was very sad to see such a large area totally destroyed by fire.  We could still smell the chard wood and dirt.  It wasn't until we got near Peeples Valley when we could see the red markings from the fire retardant with the chard black mountains behind it.  Coming from Peeples Valley direction and driving into Yarnell, we didn't notice much damage.  It wasn't until we drove past the main part of town when we saw the destruction the fire had left.  We saw where homes once stood, where other homes were not touched, and where the fire jumped the highway.  We decided not to stop, but just to head on home.

My heart and prayers go out to all the family and friends of the 19 men who lost their lives, and to all the people who live in Yarnell whether they lost their homes or not.

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