Firemen’s Memorial in Oak Hill Cemetery to be illuminated on Sept. 11

The Firemen’s Monument at Oak Hill Cemetery will be illuminated for 3 hours and 43 minutes on Wednesday — like it was on this previous anniversary of 9/11 — in memory of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives during the attacks.

On Wednesday, Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department will once again be lighting up the Firemen’s Monument in Oak Hill Cemetery above East Main Street in memory of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

“The memorial is lit for 3 hours and 43 minutes, in memory of the 343 firemen killed in New York City when 9/11 happened. Countrywide we said we will never forget, and we never will,” said Jim Long, president of the Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department.

“Shortly after it happened, we had a memorial service. We wanted a big house and we asked the pastor at the First United Methodist Church and he welcomed us with open arms. So we lit the monument that night,” explained Long.

A memorial service has typically been held every five years since then.

Long and several other volunteers from the fire department will be lighting the monument around dusk (7:15 p.m.) on Wednesday, which will be followed by a procession of first responders from eight area fire departments, police departments and ambulances around 9 p.m. The monument will remain lit until roughly 11 p.m.

“The procession continues down Campus Drive to Barbour Street, Barbour Street to Main Street, Main Street to Davis Street and then down Jackson Avenue, where you can see the monument really well,” said Long.

When the procession reaches Jackson Avenue, they will stop briefly for a moment of silence, where they will disperse and return back to their associated departments.

Long noted two good vantage points to see the illuminated monument are down West Washington Street by the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball field and up Jackson Avenue, particularly around where it intersects with Mill Street.

Long recalled visiting the monument for the first time around 1995, where it had fallen into a state of disrepair.

“It had been vandalized — people had spray painted it. It needed cleaned desperately,” he said.

To restore it back to its original glory, Long and former fire chief for the City of Bradford, Chris Angell, organized an ad-hoc committee. The committee was able to raise enough funding for professional chemical cleaning of the monument.

“We got the area cleaned with the gravestones and got it back to the way it should be,” described Long.

Funded through money from the Relief Association as well as the treasuries of two deactivated fire companies, the monument was dedicated on Aug. 12, 1909.