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Onondaga's fallen remembered

Firefighter and Sheriff Memorial honors service:

On Saturday May 17, participants stood chatting before the 10 a.m. service began. Rosemarie LoBello sat in the sunshine on a bench near the red-white-and-blue flower wreaths surrounding the granite Palladium monument. Her husband, Michael LoBello, died in February 2007 after serving for 46 years as a volunteer with the Onondaga Hill Fire Department.

"Many nights he didn't have dinner," Rosemarie said.

LoBello was at the memorial service honoring fallen Onondaga County firefighters, sheriffs, emergency service workers and auxiliary members. Representatives from fire and sheriff departments gathered with family members at the Palladium Monument in front of the Patrick J. Corbett Onondaga County Justice Center on 555 S. State St.

The service remembered those who had died in the line of duty, as well as all who died last year, said Deputy Chief David Steinberg of the Dewitt Fire Department. The service has been in this location for the past three years. Prior to that it was at the 911 Center, he said.

"It brings all the families together. The fire service is one large family; we all work together and help each other out," said Roger Spraker, president of the Onondaga County Firemen's Association.

The service begins

The audience gathered in a shaded area before the podium and watched as a bagpiper wearing a green kilt marched around the corner of the building. He was followed by four young people carrying a banner for the Onondaga County Volunteer Firemen's Association and uniformed officers carrying flags from the sheriff and fire departments.

Officers marched in formation, then turned together and stood in front of the podium, white-gloved hands clasped behind their backs. Sirens were heard in the distance.

During the memorial, each deceased person's name was read aloud, followed by a bell toll. This included 25 people who died in the line of duty between 1943 and 2003; 15 Sheriff's office members who died in the last year; and 38 firefighters and auxiliary members who died during last year.

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