Public memorial service for both SFFD Lt Vincent Perez and FF/PM Anthony Valerio will be held at St. Mary's Cathedral and is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. today.
This afternoon, many will gather at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco for the Funeral Mass for fallen San Francisco firefighters Vincent Perez and Anthony Valerio. First responders from throughout the country are expected to be in attendance at today's services, and with fire companies from other Bay Area departments covering SFFD stations, the entire San Francisco Fire Department has been given the opportunity to be present at the funeral.
Since the funeral will be broadcast live throughout the Bay Area this afternoon, those of you watching will see numerous rituals associated with first-responder funerals, as well as rituals unique to the fire service. Black mourning bands over uniform badges, bagpipers, honor guards, color guards, flag and badge presentations, a procession of emergency response vehicles to the cemetery, a bugler playing taps and gun salutes are elements of most first-responder funerals.
Unique to the fire service is the utlilization of department apparatus, usually engines, as caissons to carry the casket; crossed ladders or aerial equipment at the entrance; a traditional bell-ringing ceremony near the end of the service which signifies the firefighter's last alarm.
Presiding at today's Funeral Mass for Vince and Tony at St. Mary's Cathedral will be Father John Greene, the beloved, respected and long-time Chaplain to the San Francisco Fire Department and Pastor of St. Monica Catholic Church on 23rd and Geary.