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Vice President Joe Biden memorializes two firefighters for courage beyond the call of duty

1014.bandThousands of uniformed firefighters gathered for a memorial service in Dodger Stadium on Saturday to honor as heroes two firefighters killed in the massive wildfire burning in the Angeles National Forest. Fire Capt. Tedmund “Ted” Hall, 47, of San Bernardino County, and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones, 34, of Palmdale, “served with 7011810_600x338dedication, courage and, during their last alarm, with absolute bravery and selflessness,” Los Angeles County Fire Chief Deputy John Tripp said at the service. The touching ceremony lasted a little over two hours, ending with eight firefighting helicopters thundering over the stadium, a fire captain playing taps on a trumpet in centerfield and the Pipes and Drums of California Professional Firefighters playing “Amazing Grace.” Hall and Quinones were killed on Aug. 30 when their truck slipped off a winding dirt road high in the Angeles National Forest. Officials believe the truck might have been overrun by flames from the wildfire, dubbed the Station fire, which has burned 250 square miles and has destroyed more than 80 dwellings. Now an estimated 81% contained, it is the largest fire in modern Los Angeles County history. Though the incident is still under investigation, officials believe that Hall and Quinones may have ordered dozens of people to seek shelter while they fought through flames to search for an escape route. “There are still acts that go above and beyond duty,” 539wVice President Joe Biden told the audience as Secret Service agents stood on the top steps of the dugouts and scanned the crowd. “Two men tell others to hunker down and race out to find a way out – it is above and beyond the call of duty. That’s real courage.” Fire crews came from as far away as New York City and Worcester, Mass., said Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Frank Garrido. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also IQk2pwDzpraised the firefighters’ courage, noting that most people feel a “primal instinct” to run from danger.“Their final moments were on duty, standing for us all.… They stayed and they did battle,” Schwarzenegger said. Biden met privately with each family before the service and then gave a 13-minute memorial speech in which he veered from his prepared remarks repeatedly, speaking in deeply personal terms about the loss of his wife and daughter in a 1972 traffic accident.“There is very little we can do today that is going to provide genuine solace,” Biden told the firefighters’ families. Continue reading Vice President Joe Biden memorializes two firefighters for courage beyond the call of duty