Public Competitions

Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Worcester, MA

Design Challenge:
This memorial design is, at its most basic level, about reflection, connection, and remembrance. Of these, connection is the most central design element, and a sense of connecting with the six fallen firefighters arguably will be the most powerful aspect of what a visitor to the memorial experiences. The most haunting thing about the tragedy on December 3, 1999 is that their firefighting brothers could not reach the six firemen who perished in the burning building. This horror is etched in memory and immortalized in the desperate words captured in the transcripts of radio transmissions. At the memorial site, firefighting brothers, family members, friends, and others wishing to pay respect will finally be able to reach the six men, and the connection will be everlasting.

There are three central elements of the memorial design: the reflection pool one visits first, the memorial island where one finds the tribute to each of the six firefighters, and the causeway connecting the two spaces. Water, an element one associates so closely with firefighting, also plays a central role in the design–continuously flowing across and connecting the spaces. Water is the one requirement to sustain life, and its central place in this firefighters memorial design would serve as a reminder of the lives sacrificed for others. The constant flow of water at the site will create a sound that is peaceful and calming and that, therefore, is conducive to the act of introspection and reflection. Many who visit the memorial will feel moved to take a few moments to sit (in seating areas at the reflection pool described below) and reflect on the lives and sacrifices of those memorialized at the site. At memorial island, water will pass back into Salisbury Pond, creating a natural wave and a continuous pulse of water that will suggest and symbolize the enduring heartbeat of the fallen firefighters who live on in our memories.

The Fireman's Prayer

When I am called to duty, God,
wherever flames may rage,
Give me the strength to save some life
Whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
before it is too late
Or save an older person
from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
and hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling and
to give the best in me,
To guard my every neighbor
and protect his property.
And if according to Your will
I have to lose my life,
Please bless with Your protecting hand
My children and my wife.

Author Unknown