9-11 First Responders Badge

9-11 First Responders Badge

The Hall of Flame Fire Museum is another interesting museum located in the Phoenix area. George F. Getz received an unusual Christmas present in 1955 from his wife. Olive gave him a 1924 American La France Pumper. This fire engine had been retired from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In 1961, George, a volunteer Lake Geneva, Wisconsin fireman, established the National Historical Fire Foundation to promote fire safety and to preserve objects that tell the story of firefighting. The Hall of Flame moved with George in 1974 to Phoenix. It houses a large collection of firefighting equipment dating from 1725 in five galleries. We started our tour in the wildland gallery where an informative video displayed images of fires with an emphasis on smokejumpers. It was interesting to see a replica of a lookout with stools with glass -based legs and maps equipped with azimuth locating devices. The displayed equipment included the familiar Pulaski, a tool combining an axe head with a hoe. There were pictures of helicopters which reminded my wife of her father’s summer work for the Forest Service. The walls of one gallery are lined with examples of badges. I took special note of a large badge dedicated to the 9-11 first responders. Another special wall display exhibits a series of antique fire trucks by pyrographer Tom Dunlap of New River, Arizona. It is amazing what he is able to achieve using his woodburning technique. Another unique piece of artwork is the life size casting of an American quarter horse, another memorial to the 9-11 first responders, decorated in the manner used in funeral processions for Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. A Cavalry style saddle is used with a reversed boot in the stirrup to symbolize the loss of a great man. I must also mention that there is even a chess set featuring pieces representing the police versus firemen. Unfortunately, the board was set with a black square on the right instead of the required white square. I notified staff of the mistake but am not holding my breath that it will be corrected. Finally, let me mention that the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes recognizes firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. The Hall of Flame is a matchless museum!

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