Thousands honor fallen firefighter at West Roxbury church

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The salutes swept along Centre Street like a rolling wave, 10,000 firefighters in dress blues snapping gloved hand to hat brim, one after the other, just ahead of the funeral procession for Michael R. Kennedy.

On a crisp spring morning in West Roxbury, several honor guards stood at rigid attention outside Holy Name Church as scores of bagpipes skirled. First came Kennedy’s truck, Ladder 15, draped in flowers, moving at deliberate speed. Then its partner, Engine 33, bearing Kennedy’s body in a mahogany casket wrapped in an American flag, perched atop a gleaming bier inlaid with the department’s Maltese cross. His turnout coat hung from the rear of the truck.

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