Posts Categorized: Memorial Weekend News

Family Escort Perspective: 2014 Memorial Weekend


By Josh Southerland, Westfield Fire Department (IN)

I wanted to say thanks again for the opportunity to be a Family Escort. Every year I go and serve as an escort I learn many things, whether it’s how to be a better family escort for the next year, or how to be a better husband, or how to be a better dad. This year the fatherhood lesson was very noticeable. I learned that I am by no means guaranteed to be here on this earth tomorrow. I need to make sure I take time out of my busy life to sit and play games or just spend time with my two little girls. With the hope that if ever something was to happen to me they would at least have cherished memories to hold on too.

I was assigned to the Token Adams family, they are an amazing family. This year was harder emotionally than in the years past. I had a little girl named Isla sit on my lap for the Candlelight Service. Token picked out her name, but tragically died before she was born. It was a hard to not break down knowing that I was allowed the opportunity to hold a beautiful little girl and her dad never got the chance to. I still find myself crying when I think about it. I could explain more but I imagine you understand what I’m saying. I am very honored to be a part of this Weekend and again thanks.

Everything seemed very well planned and it was executed to the highest degree. I was assigned to Kelly Ruth and he did a great job keeping us informed and making sure that we as Escorts could succeed during this Memorial Weekend.

I love being a firefighter but I find myself thinking that the only job I would leave my department for, would be to work for the NFFF. When a firefighter dies in the line of duty it is the ultimate sacrifice. But it doesn’t stop there, the families left behind still have to find a way to pick up the pieces and continue on. And what to NFFF does to support the families is remarkable. It is an organization that truly works from the heart and makes sure the families have the support they need. The NFFF should be very proud of the work that they do.

Corporate Sponsor Volunteer Perspective: 2014 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend

By Barbara Marzean, President, VFIS of Texas/Regnier & Associates

Thank you for a wonderful Memorial Weekend. I am in awe at the planning and organizing that must be involved in such a huge event! We enjoyed volunteering on Saturday and having the opportunity to mingle with the families. The Candlelight Service was very touching and the Sunday Memorial was phenomenal! I appreciate the opportunity to see the National Fire Academy campus and Memorial Park, which I have always heard of but had never visited before. I am privileged to have been a part of this important weekend and I want to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of it as well. Thank you for what you do and continue to do for the survivors!

A Returning Survivor Perspective: 2014 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend


By Sharon Purdy

I wanted to share with all who attended the Memorial Weekend and also with those who held down the fort back home. We missed you all and carried your love to your firefighters.

This year I paid close attention to my surroundings so I could share it with you. We have all said that we have “signs” that remind us of our firefighters. Those little things that come to us that tell us that our firefighter is with us. There were things like seeing the hawk at the Memorial Service… butterflies, dragonflies, and coins of all types. Even those beautiful streaks in the sky left by planes. We hear songs on the radio… see a special number… read an ad in a magazine. There is usually one special thing that brings that pang to the heart when we see, smell, feel, taste or hear it. And it’s all good.

This year I saw so many subtle things and wanted to share. On my trip there, going through the mountains, the trees were beautiful. It was as if those live healthy trees were saying thank you. The sky was full of contrails on my trip to Maryland. Once again… a gentle nudge from the heavens.

The radio was full of songs of those who have left us and we remember. Amazing. Watching TV in the evening… sirens could be heard in the programs that were not fire service oriented.

Coins were shining on the markers and found on the ground by our survivors. I saw beautiful butterflies, dragonflies, and our bird soaring overhead during the memorial service. Bright beautiful sunshine was there when the Memorial Service began and then a gentle breeze moved the flags toward the end.

We were all there – all of us – some physically, some safe at home, and some still in our hearts. It was a good weekend… remembering… honoring and loving.

Lee A. Purdy

Wife of Lee A. Purdy
Spencerville Invincible Fire Company, Ohio (2000)

Honor Guard Flag Folding Detail Prepares for 2014 Memorial Weekend

Video of the 2014 Flag Folding Detail

This year, 107 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2013 or previous years will be honored during the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, October 11 – 12. During the Memorial Service, the Survivors of the fallen receive an American flag that has been raised and lowered over the Memorial, then carefully folded. On August 22 – 23, 2014, honor guard members from across the U.S. participated in a flag folding detail, including members from Prescott, AZ and Bedford, NH, which will have firefighters honored this October.