An estimated 10,000 firefighters from across the country and as far away as Australia are pouring into the region to take part in two days of mourning for two Boston firefighters killed last week.
They are arriving from New York City, from Chicago, from Los Angeles, and from cities and towns across the state to participate in a colorful but somber pageant of solidarity and precise ceremony that begins Tuesday.
“They’re coming to pay respects,” said Steve MacDonald, spokesman for the Boston Fire Department. “They’re coming to let the families know these firefighters meant something to them. And they’re coming because of the way the fire service is.”
The wakes and funerals for Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh Jr. of West Roxbury and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy of Hyde Park will be staggered beginning Tuesday afternoon to allow family, friends, and fellow firefighters separate opportunities to pay their respects to the men, who died Wednesday while battling a wind-stoked fire in a four-story building on Beacon Street.
The observances will begin with a wake for Walsh from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Church in Watertown, where the 43-year-old lieutenant’s body will lie inside the church before a funeral Mass is held there at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
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