Duty - Honor - Sacrifice
Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local 416, in partnership with F.A. Wilhelm Construction, unveiled the sculpture Duty – Honor – Sacrifice on February 16, 2017. The cast-bronze sculpture was installed on the grounds of the newly renovated Local 416 campus and was donated by F.A. Wilhelm Construction as a permanent tribute and thank-you to Indianapolis firefighters and their service to the city. Duty – Honor – Sacrifice serves as a daily reminder of the 350 on-duty firefighters protecting Indianapolis each day.
Duty – Honor – Sacrifice was created by IFD active-duty firefighter and local artist, Ryan Feeney. As the owner and founder of Indy Art Forge, Feeney and his team create custom sculptures and furniture out of metal. Other pieces done by Feeney in the Indianapolis area include the Peace Dove sculpture for the Indianapolis Central Library, the Fallen Deputy Memorial located in front of the Marion County Jail, and the Bronze Eagle that can be found at the Indianapolis 9/11 Memorial. Feeney has been a firefighter in Indianapolis since 2002.
Indianapolis Fallen Firefighters' Memorial
Located adjacent to the Firefighter’s Local 416 union hall, the Indianapolis Firefighter’s Memorial lists and honors all Indianapolis firefighters killed in the line of duty since records began in the 19th century.
The layout of the memorial plaza begins at the main doors of the firehouse; these doors are flanked by two complete stone columns. To the left of the doors is a series of five stone columns similar to those standing at the firehouse doors. These columns differ, however, in that they are broken and move in a descending spiral. At the apex of the spiral is a raised platform set above the surrounding plaza. From this platform bursts a new column, seemingly in the process of being hewn from living stone. Near the top of the column are abstract carvings of flames that evolve into a three dimensional representation of fire. The carving then transforms into the plumage of the mythical bird, the phoenix, which ends its life in flames and is reborn from the same flames. a bronze phoenix, cast in full round, tops the column. At the base of the central sculpture group there is a bronze plaque with a Firefighter’s Prayer.
The memorial was conceived in 1992 after a fire at the Indianapolis Athletic club claimed the lives of two firefighters. In their grief, the department decided to honor all fallen firefighters in a single, permanent memorial. A mass memorial ceremony was held in 1993, when the names of all the fallen heroes were read out and a flower for each one was placed in a vase at the spot for the future memorial plaza. The plaza was completed and dedicated on July 26, 1996.
According to the Local 416 historian, there are four Black firefighters honored on the memorial:
Thomas Smith: November 8, 1911. Thomas S. Smith, Hose Wagon #16 – Lieutenant, died from his injuries sustained from the hose wagon being struck by a streetcar. Lieutenant Smith, one of IFD’s first black fire fighters, was en route to an alarm at 21st Street and Northwestern Avenue when the hose wagon was struck at the intersection of 16th Street and College Avenue.
Clifford Woods: December 16, 1939. Clifford C. Woods, Engine #1 – Private, died from his injuries sustained after Engine #1 hit a pothole and flipped, pinning him under the engine near the intersection of Beauty Avenue and New York Street while responding to a fire near New York Street and Hansen Avenue.
Roy Pope: August 17, 1963. Roy Pope Jr., Engine #1 – Lieutenant, collapsed and died from smoke inhalation after becoming separated from his crew and running out of air while fighting a 2-alarm building fire at 1915 West 18th Street.
Warren J.C Smith: August 13, 2000. Engine # 14 – Private, died while on a training dive for the department. While performing a training dive, Pvt. Smith got entangled in search ropes. While trying to surface, air clots caused him to go into cardiac arrest.
Additional information and a complete roster of fallen firefighters honored can be found at http://l416.com/about-us/memorial-plaza/
Visual and Mental Paradoxes
Over the years there have been a number of programs to place artwork on Mass Ave: this piece is the remnant of one of them, the MassAttractions program that was initiated by the Riley Area Development Corporation. The artist is Jerald Jacquard, who was a professor at IU Bloomington at the time of installation. The firefighters’ union contributed the site, and the artist’s fee was raised by private donors. It has been here since 1999, even before the new wing on the union house.
Jerald Jacquard was born in Lansing, Michigan, in 1937. He earned his B.A. in 1960 and his M.A. in 1962 from Michigan State University. Jacquard established a sculpture department at the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 1967 and was a professor of art at Indiana University for more than 25 years. He has been awarded several fellowships, including a Fulbright Scholarship to Florence, Italy, in 1963; a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1972; and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Jacquard has works in collections including the Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University; the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Michigan; the Indianapolis Museum of Art; and the White River State Park, Indianapolis.
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