Leadership Corner

National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend: Remembering our fallen firefighters

October 3rd, 2019 at 10:50AM
Shawna Legarza, U.S. Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management Director
Shawna Legarza, director, Fire and Aviation Management

Each October, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation sponsors the official national tribute to all firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. This year, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend is being held on Oct. 5-6 at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland; however, there are local events taking place across the country.

As I look back on the 2018 fire year, I’m reminded of our Forest Service value of service, and am honored and humbled to work alongside firefighters who ensure we implement the health, diversity and productivity of our national forests and grasslands. While we were fortunate in 2018 to have suffered no fire fatalities in the Forest Service, we are not in this alone, so our hearts go out to the families, coworkers and friends in our partner agencies who lost firefighters. And please remember Daniel J. Laird, helitack captain on the Tahoe National Forest in California, who we lost in 2019 supporting a prescribed burn on the Sam Houston National Forest.

The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend features special programs for families and co-workers along with poignant public ceremonies. If you want to honor our nation’s fallen firefighters but can’t make it to an event, you can watch both the candlelight service and the memorial service live at this link on Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, you can watch a recording of the 2019 Flag Raising at the National Memorial, which took place on Monday (below).

This weekend, we would like you to take some time to pause and reflect on our firefighters we have lost throughout the years. We recognize they work in a complex and dynamic environment. And, though we strive for a safe environment, some of our firefighters have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the safety of those they leave behind. This weekend, we remember those sacrifices, we honor their lives and, most importantly, acknowledge the contributions they made to our Forest Service and our nation.

Visit the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation’s website for more information on this weekend’s events.

Honor guard members from around the country gathered to honor fallen heroes who will be honored at the upcoming National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. They came to participate in the 2019 Flag Raising at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Flags that have already flown over the United States Capitol are raised at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. These flags were lovingly folded and will be presented to families during the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.