Nearly everyone knows a firefighter. They’re our family, friends and co-workers. They respond to a stranger’s call for help without hesitation, and serve with pride and compassion.
They’re our community heroes. When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, an entire community grieves.
As dusk turned to dark during the first weekend of October, more than 30 iconic buildings and landmarks across the country glowed in respect to the fallen and their survivors for Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters. Participants include One World Trade Center in New York, the Prudential Tower in Boston, the Willis Tower in Chicago, LAX in Los Angeles, and the Bank of America Plaza in Dallas. This nationwide lighting was part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, October 7 and 8, in Emmitsburg, Maryland and sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).
It was 25 years ago that Congress established the NFFF as the only organization to honor all fallen firefighters – career, volunteer, wildland, military and contract – and offer support to their loved ones. The Foundation created Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters to recognize the 25th anniversary of the NFFF and the Memorial Weekend.
“We hope that this magnificent display of lights throughout the country will allow the survivors of the fallen to see that the nation is with them in spirit as they reflect on cherished times with their firefighters,” explained Chief Dennis Compton, Chairman of the Board of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
On Sunday, October 8, the lives of 75 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2016 and 20 firefighters who died in previous years were honored during the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. During the service, a bronze plaque bearing the names of the fallen were officially added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. These firefighters were also be remembered in a special Candlelight Service on Saturday, October 7.
For more information about the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, go to weekend.firehero.org.