The Kilgore Fire Department Honor Guard is a ceremonial unit dedicated to honoring those who serve and have served in the fire service. They are dedicated to providing exceptional services to the Department and community in funerals, parades, and other ceremonial occasions with the highest level of professionalism by promoting brotherhood and tradition through honor, dignity and respect. In an effort to always respect and honor fellow firefighters past, present, and future, the motto for the Kilgore Fire Department Honor Guard is, “Never Forget”.
The history of the Honor Guard in the fire service dates back to the Knights of St. John in the 11th century during the crusades. St. John and the crusaders faced a new weapon of “fire” thrown from the walls of Jerusalem. Many of the brave knights were being burned alive, while other knights were struggling desperately to help their burning comrades, by beating out the flames and dragging their brothers to safety. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded them with a badge of honor, similar to the firefighter maltese cross.
The eight points of the maltese cross are said to represent and symbolize the virtues of:
Charity, Loyalty, Chivalry, Gallantry, Generosity to Friend and Foe, Protection of the Weak, Dexterity in Service, Contempt of Death
In the 1530’s, the Island of Malta was given to the courageous knights and the symbol they adopted was the eight-pointed cross to adorn their flag, the Cross of Malta. These knights now formed a legion of elite troops that were dedicated to preserving and guard the burial grounds of their fallen comrades. Their belief was there was no greater call of duty than that of protecting and honoring their fallen brothers and protecting them on their final journey.
It is from that heroic beginning that the modern honor guard garners its inspiration. It is the duty to maintain the virtues of the Knights of St. John and honor our fallen brothers with the same loyalty, dignity, and respect afforded those who are willing to make great sacrifices and courageously risk their lives to protect their community from the ravages of fire.
Walter Herrera with President Obama and The First Lady in West, Texas at memorial for fallen firefighters.
Honor Guard in Austin for State Firefighter Memorial with Representative David Simpson
Kilgore Fire Department Honor Guard in Austin for State Firefighter Memorial
Matthew Wedgeworth, Kacy Moore, and Walter Herrera in front of State Firefighter Memorial
Kacy Moore, Shawn Hays, Matthew Wedgeworth, and Walter Herrerra