EMMITSBURG, MD – The stage is set, there are rows of empty chairs and the landscape is being spruced up.
This was the scene Friday at the National Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial as volunteers prepare for the annual memorial service.
Firefighters who gave the ultimate sacrifice will be honored Sunday at the 41st annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service.
The names of 148 fallen firefighters will be added to plaques. They include 108 who died in 2021 and 40 from previous years.
“We’re expecting a big crowd this year. The families of more than 120 firefighters to be honored are planning to attend,” said Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, the two previous memorial services have not been open to the general public.
“I think people feel more safe about travelling. So, this will be one of the largest events…” he added.
Families have already started arriving at local hotels and are invited to attend a dinner Friday night.
On Saturday, there will be loss-specific support group sessions available. There also will be time for the families to visit the memorial where the plaque will be unveiled during the service.
People attending the memorial service on Sunday should park at the arena at Mount St. Mary’s University and take the bus to the campus.
The weather is expected to be sunny with highs in the mid 60s.