Honoring fallen firefighters—but where?
For the second year in a row, competing resolutions before Congress are seeking to establish a national memorial to firefighters who’ve died in the line of duty. The designation would be a matter strictly of legislated status as the nation’s official memorial.
The contenders are the 2-foot-tall Maltese cross (left) that was unveiled at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., in 1981, and a 17-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a firefighter carrying out a rescue (right), scheduled to be dedicated in Colorado Springs, Co., this October.
The Emmitsburg memorial has been the site of annual memorial services honoring fallen volunteer and career firefighters. The Colorado Springs memorial would be the site of similar services and would have a widows and orphans fund and a scholarship fund connected with it. But because it’s sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters, its focus would be career firefighters.
Ron Wright, the Colorado Springs firefighter who organized the IAFF effort several years ago, says the union wasn’t aware of the Emmitsburg site at the time and doesn’t intend for the memorials to compete. A staff member for the Libraries and Memorials Subcommittee of the House Administration Committee says the subcommittee will vote for whichever memorial has the greater support of the fire service. Only the resolution favoring the Colorado Springs site has gained Senate approval so far.