Despite how you may feel about our President, I think you have to give credit where credit is due.
Last weekend, President Obama attended the 34th Annual National Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, Md.
It was an amazing experience and I was HONORED to have our “Commander in Chief” in attendance.
I’ll say right here that I’ve read what I consider to be “negative” comments on other posts / sites and I’m ashamed. The majority of those negative comments were basically saying they (the NFFF) should have chosen another (better) speaker or had none at all vs. having President Obama… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
This is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES…. our COMMANDER IN CHIEF! The sad thing is that the folks who made those comments are most likely the same people who would have bashed him had he not attended. You don’t have to respect the man but you do have to respect the position.
On top of that, President Obama is great speaker. If you weren’t in attendance or didn’t get the chance to watch one of the live feeds of the service, take the time to watch the video below ….
I’ll add here that not only did the President speak, he also unveiled the 2014 plaque and then stood to greet (speak to, shake the hands of and/or hug) the family members of the fallen.
If you don’t know … that’s what Memorial Weekend (and the NFFF) is really all about… the SURVIVORS … the FAMILIES.
Unfortunately, the Services had to be moved from the Memorial grounds once again due to weather.
Thankfully, the NFFF and Memorial Weekend staff are very well prepared and always have a contingency plan.
Saturday night, the Candle Light Service was moved next door to the Basilica at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
The service has been held at the Basilica before and it’s a beautiful venue.
The “luminaries” you see pictured above right are custom made / designed by the families for their fallen firefighter.
We’ve had to move to this location in previous years as well.
There’s more than enough room for everyone in attendance and I’ll have to admit that the Pipes and Drums sound amazing inside the arena.
As always, it’s a huge HONOR and very HUMBLING to attend and be just a small part of Memorial Weekend. It’s amazing to watch the nearly 1,000 volunteers work together under the leadership and direction of Incident Commander John McGrath (link) and NFFF Executive Director, Chief Ron Siarnicki (link) .
Watch highlights from the 34th Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Weekend in the video below…
I plan to share more about the NFFF Memorial Weekend as well as the IAFF Fallen Firefighter Memorial in a future post so be sure to keep checking in. Meanwhile, I’ll share a video of the Pipes and Drums as well as some links and additional pictures…
Stay SAFE and in House!