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Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service

posted Oct 24, 2013, 6:57 PM by Charles Mitchell
Seventy-three firefighters who died in the line of duty and eight firefighters who died in previous years were honored during the 32nd
National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service on Sunday, October 6, at Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD.  They were also remembered in a special Candlelight Service on Saturday, October 5, at the Daughters of Charity Basilica, also in Emmitsburg, MD.  The annual remembrance was held at Saint Mary's and the Daughters of Charity because of the impact of the government shutdown of the National Emergency Training Center campus in Emmitsburg where the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial is located.

On Sunday, October 6, members of the Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Co of Newark took turns pulling the rope 81 times on the large fire bell at the Academy Street fire station to locally commemorate the event.  The large fire bell, located on the tower next to the fire station was originally used to summon firefighters for fires in town.  The 1200 lb. bell was purchased for $90 in 1905.  Today, it is rung twice a year.  It is rung for the number of firefighters killed in the line of duty in the previous year at 12 noon on the date of the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial and it is rung 343 times, beginning at 9:59 AM on September 11 to remember the 343 firefighters killed in the World Trade Center Twin Towers collapse.

This annual ringing of the bell by our Firefighters and EMT's was held at noon, and is an Aetna tradition going back 30 years.  While many of our members make the annual trek to the memorial service in Emmitsburg, members remaining in town gather to hold our own local solemn memorial.  

"Firefighters possess an extraordinary blend of courage and compassion which allows them to willingly face tremendous risks to help those in need," said Chief Dennis Compton, Chairman of the Board of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.  Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder Co Fire Chief John Rudd said "Each October we gather our members at our own memorial bell to reflect on the sacrifices of those who died in the line of duty and to let their families and co-workers know they will never be forgotten."

More than 5,000 people, including Members of Congress, Administration officials, members of the fire service, and families, friends and co-workers of the fallen firefighters attended the annual event in Emmitsburg.  Families received flags flown over the U.S. Capitol and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.  Members of the fire service, honor guard units, and pipe and drum units from across the U.S. participated in this national remembrance. 

Bronze plaques containing the names of the fallen firefighters were added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial located on the academy campus.  The national tribute is sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Fire Administration.

Note:  pictured is Firefighter / EMT Diane Silverman.  Diane has participated in the Aetna memorial service for the past 30 years.

Pictures are from Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Co.

Story By: J. Farrell, PIO