A city celebrating an improbable win in the afternoon for its hometown baseball team Monday found itself grieving just hours later after two Kansas City firefighters died in the line of duty.
The shock and sorrow was palpable on social media as the news spread. Twitter feeds filled with celebratory tweets about the Royals quickly turned somber.
Tributes continued on Tuesday once the names of the veteran firefighters who died - Larry J. Leggio and John V. Mesh - were revealed.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and the entire Royals organization paid their respects as well.
Mayor Sly James used Twitter to remind Kansas Citians that the city’s “firefighters put their put their lives on the line for all of us every day.”
Condolences Monday night came from all corners - other fire departments, other municipalities, elected officials, ordinary people.
The City of Kansas City’s social media manager, Mark Van Baale, asked his Twitter followers on Tuesday to “take time out of talking #Royals and think about the 2 KCMO firefighters who lost their lives last night. #WeStandWithKCFD.”
More than 60 American firefighters have lost their lives so far in 2015 according to the U.S. Fire Adminstration, including two in Missouri and three in Kansas.
In ceremonies a few days ago at the 34th Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Maryland, President Obama paid homage to firefighters who have given their lives this year “serving their neighbors, their communities, our nation with courage, and fortitude and strength.
“We can never repay them fully for their service.”
Obama commended firefighters for their willingness to “leave their homes and their families so they might save the lives of people that they’ve never met.”
“It’s hard to think of a more selfless profession than firefighting,” the president said.
“There’s a reason why firefighting occupies a special place in our imaginations; why little boys and increasingly little girls say, I want to be a fireman, I want to be a firefighter. They understand instinctually that there’s something special about it.”
Lisa Gutierrez, @LisaGinKC, email@example.com, 816-234-4987