In just a couple of days, our nation will once again pay its respects to the fire service community at the 26th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial service in Emmitsburg, Maryland. During this event, we will embrace the families of those men and women who bravely gave their lives in the line-of-duty in service to their communities. The weekend events are filled with our most honored traditions as we memorialize those who have been lost, and help those who have been left behind.
We have been informed that on Sunday, October 7, a religious group plans to hold a demonstration in conjunction with the service. Based on their past history, they are likely to be carrying signs and shouting slogans that are repugnant and hurtful to the families, firefighters, and others attending our solemn ceremony.
Regardless, under the law, they have a right to peaceful protest and to be protected from harm. On advice from law enforcement authorities, we have established a "demonstration area" where they will be allowed to exercise their rights without interfering in our program or other activities.
We, therefore, ask all members of the fire-rescue service to stay away from the demonstration area and not become involved in any way with this group, no matter what the provocation may be. Various police agencies-assisted by our own chief officers-will be on hand to control the situation and prevent any confrontation between firefighters and demonstrators.
As always, we welcome all of you to Emmitsburg to take part in the traditional ceremony that honors the memory of our fallen firefighters and provides comfort and support for their families and comrades. On that glorious morning, let us show the strength and commitment which defines an American firefighter with an epic gathering of our own. We are confident that all of you will conduct yourselves in a manner that displays the dignity, discipline and courage of who we are.
Hal Bruno, Chairman
Ron Siarnicki, Executive Director