Three members of the Madison Fire Department’s Pipe Brigade performed at five Rexburg area cemeteries Monday in honor of Memorial Day.

Rexburg residents gathered at the city cemetery Memorial Day morning to lay flowers and honor fallen American service members.

At 10:45 a.m., the fire department’s pipe brigade joined them with solemn renditions of various hymns, topped off with Amazing Grace

Robert Kohler, vice president of the brigade, said that on Memorial Day he remembers his grandfather, a World War II veteran. He encourages others to remember what fallen troops fought and lived for.

“We all have family members that have passed away and their lives mean a lot,” Kohler said. 

Madison County firefighters formed the bagpipe band 14 years ago. Kohler said the pipe brigade is rooted in nationwide fire department tradition, beginning with mass employment of Irish and Scottish immigrants in the 19th century.

Firefighting back then was not the revered profession it is today. Its dirty and dangerous nature made it one of the few jobs available to the Scottish and Irish. With that, they brought their musical traditions to the job.