Embroidered firefighting patches are generally shaped like circles, shields, or Maltese crosses. Worn on the shoulders of jackets, smaller versions of the same patches are sometimes sewn onto caps and hats. While some patches are collected to honor famous fire departments such as those that performed heroic work at the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, others are more frivolous, such as those to mark one’s membership in the Disneyland Fire Department.
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I started collecting firefighting memorabilia in the 1960s around the time I became a volunteer fireman here in Orange County. My … [more]