Did you know that the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend takes place every October in Emmitsburg? What a great honor to host this memorial in our community. This year, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend takes place October 5, 6, and 7 on the grounds of the Fallen Firefighters Memorial at FEMA on S. Seton Aveneue. It is customary that the families of the firefighters who lost their lives in 2017, and before, across our nation come together to honor their loved ones.
In 2017, 103 firefighters – men and women who shared the same dedication to protect – lost their lives while fighting fires. Here are some ways we can honor them:
Red Helmets Ride – Observe, cheer on, or participate in the 20th Annual Red Helmets Ride on Saturday, October 6. Motorcyclists may participate in the police-escorted ride by departing from the Anne Arundel County Fire and Rescue Headquarters in Millersville, Maryland (Veterans Hwy near Benfield Blvd) beginning at 12:00 p.m. or from the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Department (79 West Frederick Street, Walkersville) leaving at 3:30 p.m. enroute to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg. The procession will ride through downtown Emmitsburg on the way to the campus.
No registration is required, just ride and show your support to the families of the Fallen Firefighters. Community members are encouraged to line the streets in downtown Emmitsburg to show support.
Attend the Candlelight and National Memorial Services – Both the Candlelight Service and National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service are open to the community. However, if weather or other factors prohibit holding the Candlelight Service outdoors at 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 6, it will be limited to the families of the fallen firefighters due to indoor space limitations. The Memorial Service begins at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 7.
Lower your flag – Did you know that the law requires the American flag be lowered in tribute on only a few days each year? Quite appropriately, one of these days is the observance of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service.
Sound your sirens – Should your agency wish to participate, on Sunday, October 7, 2018 at noon, many stations across the country will sound their sirens in honor of the fallen firefighters. Please notify your community ahead of time if you will join in this tradition.
Watch the Services Live – Live broadcasts and web streaming of both the Candlelight Service and the Memorial Service are available online at Firehero.org.
Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters – Light up your firehouse, building, or suggest a landmark to light up in red from October 1-7, for Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters as part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.
Participate in Bells Across America – Host or partner with others to hold a moment of remembrance any time during the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend for Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters.
The sound of a bell holds special significance for firefighters. Historically, the toll of a bell summoned members to the station, signaled the beginning of a shift, notified departments of a call for help, and indicated a call was completed and the unit had returned to the station.
Departments sounded a series of bells when a firefighter died in the line of duty to alert all members that a comrade had made the ultimate sacrifice. This time-honored tradition continues today during the funerals or memorial services for firefighters.
For the seventh year, bells will ring from coast to coast as a grateful nation pauses on Sunday, October 7, to honor those firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2017 and previous years. Fire departments and their places of worship will join the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) for Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters, part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
For more information about these events, please visit Firehero.org.