National Fallen Firefighters Memorial

   As most of you know, Fairbury Rural Fire had a member honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, the first weekend in May, along with three other Nebraska firefighters. This gave us reason to attend the Memorial, being held for the first time in the spring, rather than the fall.Unfortunately, we made the same trip in 2015, with the very same family from our fire department. Yes, that is right. The Parker family has traveled twice to this memorial service to first honor Darrell Parker, in 2015, and this year Darrell’s son, Chris.

   The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Memorial (NFFF), honors these fallen firefighters as the heroes they were. It is a weekend you will never forget if you take the time to make the trip. The American flags of each honored fallen hero have been flown over the memorial, and are folded and presented to the family along with a single red rose and a memorial badge. Fire honor guards from across the country present the fallen firefighter wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier on Friday at Arlington National Cemetery. Saturday there are activities designed to help the families manage their grief, and make everlasting relationships with other families. Each family has a family escort that takes care of them the entire weekend. Everything from picking them up at the airport to providing a drink of water. Each family builds a lasting relationship with their escorts as well.

   The candlelight vigil is held Saturday evening, the luminaries that have been made by the families have been lit in remembrance of their loved one. For most families, this is the first time they will see the memorial, along with the 9-11 Memorial that is on the grounds. 

   Sunday morning is the most remarkable memorial service you could ever imagine. I can’t even begin to go into all the details that are carried out by hundreds and hundreds of volunteers. These include, pipe and drum corps from around the country, honor guard personnel, family escorts, flag and rose presenters, singers, and including a reader from Nebraska, Liza Aunkst, who is a survivor from losing her dad in 2005. Not to mention all the volunteers that work behind the scenes with logistics, ensuring a smooth event.

   I would encourage everyone to take the time to visit, and learn about the memorial weekend.

Should you ever have the opportunity to make the trip for the memorial, plan a vacation around this historic area of our country, and you will get the deepest meaning of the fire Brotherhood.

   Honor. Respect. Never Forget.

Kenny Krause,

NSVFA District 4 Director



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Jeff Gargano - Editor
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