For the first time, the nation’s annual tribute to our fallen firefighters will begin against the backdrop of the United States Capitol. On Wednesday, September 10 at 2:00 pm, leaders of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus will present 107 American flags flown over the U.S. Capitol to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). These flags will be given to surviving relatives at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service on October 12th in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
During the event, fire caucus leaders will deliver brief remarks to honor the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes. A fire service honor guard will then conduct a special flag-folding ceremony. All flags will be placed into special cases and carried to an awaiting fire engine on Garfield Circle. Two columns of firefighters will line the procession from the Capitol to the engine to honor the flags and pay their respects to their fallen colleagues. A motorcade will then escort the flags to the memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland where there will be a brief ceremony. The flag cases will be displayed in the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel until the National Memorial Service.
“Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to honor those who died in the line of duty and provide support to their survivors,” explained Bill Webb, Executive Director of Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) and Vice Chair of the NFFF Board of Directors. “This ceremony allows a formal and respectful transfer of the flags from Congress to Emmitsburg and ultimately to the families of our fallen heroes.”
“The loss of any firefighter is difficult, but last year was especially tragic for the United States fire service because of the high number of firefighters who died in the line of duty,” explained Chief Dennis Compton, Chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Board of Directors. “The multiple deaths in West and Houston, Texas, as well as those in Prescott, Arizona, were solemn reminders of the sacrifices firefighters often make. As a nation, we must be mindful that every line-of-duty death is a tragedy for the entire fire service family and must be appropriately honored. That is why the work of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and this support from Congress is so important.”
The inaugural Congressional Flag Presentation Ceremony is being coordinated by CFSI, NFFF and leaders of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. The engine will leave the West Lawn area at approximately 2:30 pm and travel from the District of Columbia and onto the northbound George Washington Memorial Parkway. From there, the motorcade will follow the Capital Beltway to Maryland and I-270 North, then take I-70 North to Frederick. It will then travel North on Route 15 to Emmitsburg, exiting onto South Seton Avenue. The motorcade is expected to arrive at the campus of the National Emergency Training Center and the home of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial at approximately 5:00 pm. Individuals interested in observing the motorcade are encouraged to be cautious and stop only in a safe location along the route.