Boston, and all of Massachusetts, paused on Wednesday to honor a fallen hero. Lt. Edward Walsh, 43, was one of the two firefighters who died last week in a 9-alarm blaze in the city’s historic Back Bay neighborhood. Michael Kennedy, 33, also perished in the inferno and will be celebrated on Thursday.
Hundreds of bagpipes and drummers led the somber procession through the streets to St Patrick’s church in nearby Watertown, according to NBC News on April 2.
Thousands of fire fighters and first responders decked out in their blue dress uniforms, many from across the country, saluted along the route.
Michael Walsh carried his brother’s helmet. Engine 33, from Lt. Walsh’s fire house, bore the coffin which was draped in a fire department flag.
Unfortunately, Boston will have to pause again on Thursday to honor Edward's fallen colleague, firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, who also died on that tragic day.
Boston hadn't lost two firefighters in the line of duty since 2007. What made today's funeral worse was the fact that Walsh and Kennedy died just a short distance from the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where two bombs exploded just a year ago.
Many of the firefighters grieving today were among the first responders on that scene. Kennedy, who responded to the bombing, had been training to run the race this year.
Boston Deputy Chief Joe Finn said in his 30 years he’d never seen a fire, "create such havoc in such a short period of time."
One factor that added to the tragedy was the weather. It was a very stormy New England afternoon,with winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour.
Walsh and Kennedy led the charge into the apartment building's basement, where the fire supposedly started and was the most intense.
"We stand in awe of what he did last week," Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said as he tried to comfort the Walsh family at today's services. "Let us be inspired by his example, and let us try to bring his spirit of service to our communities."
Walsh and his wife Kristen are proud parents to two boys and a girl, all under the age of 10. "I’ve never seen him happier than when he spent time with them," said his sister Kathy Malone at the funeral.
When his brothers broke the news of Lt. Ed Walsh’s death to his wife, she had one request - her husband's wedding ring. The band fell off his finger while he battled the fire.
His brethren searched for hours, and just as they began to lose hope, firefighter Patty Donovan found what they were looking for, according to CBS Boston.
Firefighters brought the wedding ring to Lt. Walsh's wife as she sat in the front pew at St. Patrick's Tuesday night.