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Honolulu firefighters honor fallen Arizona comrades

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:51 p.m. HST, Jul 3, 2013

The Honolulu Fire Department honored the 19 Arizona firefighters who were killed Sunday battling a wildfire with a moment of silence at 8 a.m. this morning.

The commemoration was announced by a Honolulu Fire Department dispatcher on the department’s communication network.

Honolulu's observance was part of a national tribute to the fallen firefighters.

The 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew were killed as they sought shelter from the fierce flames of wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz., 

The wildfires continue to carve a path through two mountainside communities whose residents were forced to flee today.

Hundreds of firefighters battling the blaze came off the line today to salute a procession of fire vehicles that had been left by 19 elite Hotshot crew members killed in the line of duty.

The firefighters and law enforcement gathered along a highway to honor the Prescott-based unit deployed last weekend. The vehicles were driven by fellow Prescott firefighters. One of the trucks held backpacks, water jugs and coolers. Another was emblazoned with the group's motto, in Latin: "To be, rather than to seem."

Fire crews across the U.S. planned to also pause throughout the day to remember the Granite Mountain Hotshots and recognize the dangers firefighters face, said Jim Whittington, spokesman for the Southwest Incident Command Team.

"One of the things that defines the entire wildland firefighting community is we don't forget," he said, adding that crews pay tribute every year to those who have died in the nation's worst firefighting disasters.

"And we will remember this one," he said, his voice shaking. "It's tough."

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