YOU SHOULD BE!
The Fire Critic ( Rhett Fleitz ) and I will be there.
In my mind, this event should top your travel priorities for the year. Before you make FDIC, Firehouse Expo, FRI or any other convention / show, you should assure that you will be attending the National Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, Md.
This year, the Foundation will be remembering and honoring 72 of our fallen Brothers and Sisters from 2010 and 17 from previous years. Even if these members are not from your Department or State, their deaths directly affect you. If you don’t think so, you’re wrong but that’s a separate post in itself.
Look at it this way. With 89 members being honored just this year, odds are that one is from your or a neighboring state. The odds are even better that you heard or read about the death. Maybe even talked about it around your stations kitchen table.
Did you attend the funeral? The viewing? Maybe you wanted to but for whatever reason couldn’t. Maybe there were multiple losses near you that you couldn’t make at the time. HERES YOUR CHANCE. This weekend, you can remember and honor not just these 89 members but all who have gone before them.
I found myself in that exact same situation this year. When Ashville, Nc. Captain Jeffrey Bowen was killed in late July, I felt it was close enough to home that I should attend. Ashville’s Department is not that much different than mine. Unfortunately, Ashville is a 4 hr drive and the services were held early enough that I couldn’t get there in time ( I was on duty the night before ).
Next year, I will have the opportunity to pay my respects to Captain Bowen at the 31st Memorial Weekend, and I WILL BE THERE TO DO SO !
I guess what I’m saying here is that THIS IS YOUR CHANCE. If you go, you’ll thank me. The experience is beyond spiritual. I can’t explain it … you have to find out for yourself. This will only be my 2nd year in attendance but I will not miss another.
Rhett and I will actually be working with / for the Foundation once again this year. We have rejoined Firefighter Netcast to help document and record the stories of the survivors. I will shed many tears. It’s humbling and a huge honor to see and hear the wives, children, mothers, fathers etc reflect on the memories of their lost loved ones …. of our BROTHERS and SISTERS.
If you simply can’t attend, don’t worry. Rhett, Dave Statter and I (along with many others) will have full and live coverage on our sites. Good friend, Brother and Fire Service leader Chris Naum has complete details for the weekend over at Command Safety.com
My good friend and Battalion Chief Teddy Adkins called me this morning to let me know his mother had passed away in the night. Teddy is from deep Southwest Va. in Wise County.
He was already headed home to be with his family and make arrangements when he called. I offered to drive or just ride with him but he was half way there. I told him to call as soon as he knew the arrangements or if he needed ANYTHING. As soon as he calls, I’ll have to figure out the details between Maryland and Wise (anybody own a small plane?).
Anyway, please keep Chief Adkins and his family in your thoughts and prayers … they’ll be in mine.
Hope to see ya in Emmitsburg … Rhett and/or I will update from the road, after we arrive and throughout the weekend. Thanks for reading / following the site. Please take the time to hit “share”, “like” or “reccommend” on FaceBook or retweet us on Twitter.
Most importantly, Stay Safe and in House!