Firefighter Funeral Traditions | Firefighter Songs, Prayers, & Customs

Firefighter songs Played at Funerals

Firefighter funerals and bagpipe music have a long history together. Firefighters and police officers have had bagpipes played at memorial services since the 19th century. This history began when Irish immigrants started arriving in the 1800s because of the potato famine in Ireland. 

Irish Americans didn’t have many employment options due to discrimination. They were relegated to dangerous jobs and had to become firefighters or police officers. These jobs had a high death count and bagpipes were the instrument of choice for the Irish. Today, the most common firefighter songs played at funerals are Amazing Grace and The Minstrel Boy.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T’was grace that brought us safe thus far
And grace will lead us home,
And grace will lead us home
Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
T’was blind but now I see
Was blind, but now I see.

The Minstrel Boy

The minstrel boy to the war is gone;
In the ranks of death you’ll find him;
His father’s sword he has girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;
“Land of Song!” said the warrior bard,
“Though all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!
The Minstrel fell! But the foeman’s chain
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he loved ne’er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said “No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!

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