Thousands gather to remember Ariz. firefighters

Associated Press
A woman waves during a community vigil on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. in Prescott, Ariz. for the 19 firefighters from Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew that were killed battling a wildfire near Yarnell, Ariz. The elite crew of firefighters were overtaken by the out-of-control blaze as they tried to protect themselves from the flames under fire-resistant shields on Sunday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — An evening memorial for the 19 firefighters killed in an Arizona wildfire brought thousands of mourners to a high school football stadium.

The service in the mountain town of Prescott marked the first opportunity for many in the community to gather together since the men fighting a fire in nearby Yarnell died in the line of duty.

The crowd filled the bleachers of a 3,000-seat stadium, with many attending also sitting on the field.

The service struck a deeply religious tone with preachers urging the crowd to offer the families of the victims their love and support.

After one moment of silence, 19 purple balloons - one for each of the fallen firefighters - were released into the air.

The memorial Tuesday came after one held the previous afternoon at a gymnasium.