Nationwide Memorial Service to salute 148 firefighters who fell on Sunday

Sarah Laird says it feels “surreal” that her late husband, Josh, can be amongst 148 honored on the Nationwide Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emitsburg, Maryland on Sunday.

“It is onerous to place into phrases what it means to attend the ceremony,” Mrs Laird, 43, instructed The Washington Occasions. “Honoring my husband will assist guarantee he is not forgotten, and it means lots to my daughters and me.”

Frederick County Fireplace Captain Josh Laird was killed within the line of obligation whereas battling a fireplace at a big house in Iamsville on August 11, 2021. His funeral was attended by Governor Larry Hogan and a whole lot of firefighters, who remembered his phrases spoken over a transportable radio on Engine 251: “Inform my household I like them.”

Fourteen months later, his widow and two school-age daughters would see him honored once more on the Nationwide Monument, six miles from his house in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.

Sunday’s ceremony, the forty first annual Nationwide Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, will commemorate 108 firefighters killed within the line of obligation in 2021 and 40 who died in earlier years.

As a part of the ceremony, leaders of the Congressional Fireplace Companies Caucus will current to the households of the 148 American flags flown above the US Capitol.

In response to the Nationwide Fallen Firefighters Basis in Emmitsburg, bereaved households will journey as distant as Alaska and the Virgin Islands to attend memorial occasions on Saturday and Sunday.

Emergency Companies Honor Guard Commander Claudia Jay Garner mentioned she has volunteered at Memorial Weekend for the previous 15 years.

“We come collectively as one large household and encompass households with love, help, and compassion, whereas providing the very best honor to the bravest individuals in our nation,” mentioned Ms. Garner, 46, of the Pennsylvania Division of Public Security mentioned a member of the Cumberland County Division of “We assist them perceive that it is okay to not be okay, to take a step ahead, a step again, or simply rise up for a bit.”

Different households are coming again for service, which has change into a practice for a lot of.

Sandra Clinton, 54, an Oklahoma resident, mentioned she was returning due to her late husband, Maddie – {an electrical} firm lineman who labored as assistant chief of the Friendship Volunteer hearth division in Altus. He died on August 10, 2018, when a porch roof collapsed on him when an under-construction home caught hearth.

“I felt a lot love, respect and understanding after I attended Memorial Weekend within the yr my husband was honored,” mentioned Mrs. Clinton. “I needed to come back again to assist new households throughout the memorial and assist them know that they don’t seem to be alone.”

Indiana residents Dwayne and Katrina Murphy misplaced their son Kendall in November 2017—a yr and a half after he joined the Montgomery Volunteer Fireplace Division of their hometown of 500 residents.

On reaching the accident spot, he was hit by one other emergency automobile, which resulted in his dying. The 27-year-old was to get married in September 2018.

His mother and father are returning for the primary time since being honored in 2018.

“It was like being on holy grounds and after we received to the memorial, the place his identify is on a plaque, it was like he was with us,” mentioned Mr. Murphy, 54, who has served on the Montgomery VFD since 1988. . “We at all times had a plan to return and assist others as we received assist.”

Emmitsburg is house to the Nationwide Emergency Coaching Middle, which incorporates the US Fireplace Administration, the Nationwide Fireplace Academy, and the Institute for Emergency Administration.

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