EMMITSBURG, M.d. (WDVM) — The 38th National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service took place over the weekend at the National Fire Academy in Maryland. The sound of bagpipes and drums could be heard for miles as people gathered to remember and honor 119 fallen heroes from 2018 and previous years. The rainy weather didn’t stop over 5,000 people from silently listening to fire officials talk about brave men and women from all over the nation, who died protecting their community.
“That’s over 28 million emergencies in which our brave men and women, career and volunteer, emergency medical responders, firefighters bravely confront the hazards that are associated with protecting their community and fellow citizens from the dangers of all types and sizes,” Chief Keith Bryant said, head of the U.S. Fire Administration.
Loved ones shared tears and hugs as they heard the national anthem, prayers, laying of the wreath, and the bell toll. U.S. officials say, firefighter presence has always made a huge impact during times of grief and brought tremendous comfort.
“I’ve had the solemn duty to attend over a dozen funerals of fallen agents and officers, we always saw a flag hosted high by our firefighter brothers and sisters, the support from our fire fighter colleagues was a tremendous comfort knowing we were not alone I those moments of grief,” Kevin McAleenan said, the acting United States secretary of homeland security.
One by one, state by state, fallen heroes were called out by first and last name. Families walked up together to receive a rose and a memorial American flag in remembrance. The National Firefighters Foundation said part of their mission is to provide resources to families rebuilding their lives after losing a loved one.