Current and future fire and EMS leaders attending classes at the US Fire Administration’s (USFA) National Fire Academy (NFA) in Emmitsburg, Maryland paused their studies and filled the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel on campus on September 11, 2022 to honor and remember the tragic events, and acts of bravery, that occurred on 9/11.
The memorial ceremony was held at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel and began at 8:46 am to coincide with the time that the first plane struck the World Trade Center. On that day, 21 years ago, we would watch the events of the day in shock and horror. At the end of that day nearly 3,000 lives were lost in New York City, in Shanksville, PA, and at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA. Among those who died more than 400 law enforcement and fire personnel who answered the call to duty.
The Pledge of Allegiance began the ceremony followed by Reverend Timothy May of Frederick County (Maryland) Fire & Rescue who gave the invocation. Beverly Donlon, Director of Family Programs for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) was the guest speaker for the memorial and spoke about the bravery that was witnessed on 9-11 and the impact the event has had and continues to have on family members and co-workers of those who died during the response and after from 9-11 related injuries and illnesses. Donald Briggs, Mayor of Emmitsburg, Maryland and Deputy US Fire Administrator, Chef Tonya Hoover, also attended the memorial.
Two members of the Executive Fire Officer class in session, James Lea and Tyler Drage, each brought forward a wreath during the ceremony. The first wreath, the 9-11 wreath, recognizes the firefighters who died in the line of duty on September 11th and those who died after the event from 9-11 World Trade Center related illnesses. We know that 343 members of the Fire Department of New York died on September 11th and sadly 299 firefighters have died after the response from illnesses and injuries they contracted at the world trade center. The second wreath, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial wreath, recognizes the thousands of career and volunteer firefighters, from every state, tribe and territory, who died protecting our communities, our natural resources, and our airports who are honored on the memorial or the walk of honor. After the ceremony the wreaths were placed at the To Life a Nation 9-11 memorial and the other at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.
To conclude the ceremony, the tolling of the bell, five – five – five, was conducted followed by Battalion Chief Ivan Browning of Montgomery County (Maryland) Fire and Rescue who played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.
Each and every day at the National Fire Academy, we honor and remember the thousands of career and volunteer fire service personnel who have died protecting communities and natural resources around the nation. Our work is driven by the America Burning report which led to the creation of the US Fire Administration to reduce both civilian fire deaths and equally important firefighter injuries and deaths through training, data collection, prevention, and research.
We will never forget the 343 FDNY members who gave their all on 9/11 or the 299 FDNY personnel who have died since from WTC related illnesses and injuries.
The ceremony was held in partnership with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).
We haven’t forgotten 9-11 and never will!
CREDIT: National Fire Academy | U.S. Fire Administration