Cannon takes part in Bells Across America

A Cannon firefighter assigned to the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, rings a symbolic bell during a ceremony dedicated to the fallen firefighters, Oct. 04, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The ceremony was in observance of Bells Across America, a day dedicated to paying tribute to fellow firefighters who gave their life in the service of others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

A Cannon firefighter assigned to the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, rings a symbolic bell during a ceremony dedicated to the fallen firefighters, Oct. 04, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The ceremony was in observance of Bells Across America, a day dedicated to paying tribute to fellow firefighters who gave their life in the service of others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

Cannon firefighters assigned to the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, salute as the U.S. Flag is raised to half-staff during a ceremony dedicated to the fallen fiirefighters, Oct. 04, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The ceremony was in observance of Bells Across America, a day dedicated to paying tribute to fellow fiirefighters who gave their life in the service others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

Cannon firefighters assigned to the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, salute as the U.S. Flag is raised to half-staff during a ceremony dedicated to the fallen fiirefighters, Oct. 04, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The ceremony was in observance of Bells Across America, a day dedicated to paying tribute to fellow fiirefighters who gave their life in the service others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

Cannon firefighters assigned to the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, prepare for the raising of the flag to half-staff during a ceremony dedicated to the fallen firefighters, Oct. 04, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The ceremony was in observance of Bells Across America, a day dedicated to paying tribute to fellow firefighters who gave their life in the service of others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

Cannon firefighters assigned to the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, prepare for the raising of the flag to half-staff during a ceremony dedicated to the fallen firefighters, Oct. 04, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The ceremony was in observance of Bells Across America, a day dedicated to paying tribute to fellow firefighters who gave their life in the service of others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

Cannon firefighters assigned to the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, prepare for the raising of the flag to half-staff during a ceremony dedicated to the fallen firefighters, Oct. 04, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The ceremony was in observance of Bells Across America, a day dedicated to paying tribute to fellow firefighters who gave their life in the service of others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

Cannon firefighters assigned to the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, prepare for the raising of the flag to half-staff during a ceremony dedicated to the fallen firefighters, Oct. 04, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The ceremony was in observance of Bells Across America, a day dedicated to paying tribute to fellow firefighters who gave their life in the service of others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Since 2011, firefighters across the United States have gathered once a year to pay tribute to their fallen brothers and sisters.

Each ceremony is simple yet solemn, focused around a firefighter ringing a bell in remembrance of each life lost throughout the year. Traditionally marking the beginning of a shift, an emergency or a safe return home, the bells on Oct. 4 signify that fallen firefighters have gone home for the last time.

Like similar events happening all over the States, Sunday’s memorial included raising the flag to half-staff, delivering an invocation and fireman’s prayer, and ringing the ceremonial bell with a moment of silence while firefighters in service dress uniforms stand in formation.

“The ceremony makes me think of all firefighters as a family,” said Airman 1st Class Elijah Huckell, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection apprentice. “Even though we don't all know every firefighter across America, we are all a family, so we all feel it when somebody passes.”

All firefighters share the heritage of national fire prevention week, which began with Bells Across America Sunday. The observance dates back to 1911, when fire marshals observed the 40-year anniversary of the great Chicago fire by encouraging citizens to be aware of potential dangers.

Cannon will mark fire prevention week with a squadron open house Wednesday and the 16th annual squadron fire muster Thursday.