Bell-Ringing Ceremony Memorializes Lt. Edmund Coglianese, Debuts a Mobile Memorial Wall for Fallen Firefighters On Public Display at the John Hancock Center

Chicago, IL (January 26, 2011) –  In a solemn ceremony today at one of Chicago’s most famous landmarks, Chicago Firefighters and volunteers from the Gold Badge Society paid tribute to Lt. Edmund Coglianese who died in the line of duty on the day the Chicago Bears won Super Bowl XX.  The ceremony marked the 25th anniversary of the tragic event when engine company 98 responded to an extra alarm fire at the Mark Twain hotel.  After leading several residents down ladders to safety, Lt. Coglianese went back into the building to search for more survivors and became trapped himself.

“My family is honored that my father  will be remembered for his service to and the sacrifice he made for the citizens of Chicago,” says Allyson Coglianese Murphy of the Gold Badge Society.  “The ceremonial bell ringing on this, the 25th anniversary of his death, means his legacy and love for this job has not been forgotten.  That our true heroes are remembered and honored with this ceremony is a testament to the nobility and humbling traditions of the fire service.”

A distinctive bell ringing typically marks the end of an emergency and the safe return of company fire fighters.  Today’s ceremony, ringing of the bell in memory of those who died in the line of duty, is a Chicago Fire Department tradition that dates back over 150 years.

Following the ceremony, Local 2 members unveiled the Chicago Fire Department Memorial Wall, in the Lower West Lobby of the John Hancock Center January 31st through February 19th.

The Memorial Wall is dedicated to the brave 21 Fire Fighters who lost their lives 100 years ago at the Stockyards Fire as well as other significant fires in the city.   In the wake of the tragedy on December 22nd, two additional panels have been added to the Memorial Wall to honor Chicago Fire Fighters, Ed Stringer and Corey Ankum who were tragically lost battling the extra alarm blaze on the city’s South Side.

“With the recent loss of 4 of our comrades, this has been a very difficult time for our members and their families,” says Local 2 Union President, Tom Ryan.  “This ceremony and the display of this memorial showcase the service of Chicago fire fighters over the last century and the utmost dedication to the safety of our neighbors in Chicago.”

John Hancock Observatory will be collecting donations at the downstairs entrance on behalf of the Gold Badge Society.  Additionally, all Local 2 Union members with a valid Union ID and their families are eligible for a 50% discount to John Hancock Observatory throughout the month of February.

“Chicago Fire Fighters make personal sacrifices every day in their unrelenting service for our city,” said Tom Kienzle, General Manager of the John Hancock Center.  “We are proud to showcase this tragic, but memorable piece of Chicago history and give back to the members of Local 2 and the Gold Badge Society.”

ABOUT The Gold Badge Society

The Chicago Fire Department Gold Badge Society is comprised of the widows and families of firefighters and paramedics who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  Founded in 1991, the society’s purpose is to offer support and comfort for those affected by such tragic loss of life.

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