Fallen Firefighters Honored at National Memorial Ceremony

FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - Families and firefighters from across the nation are in Frederick County, Maryland for the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, and they're remembering heroes whose legacy will last a lifetime.

“We're here in honor of the families, not only the families of the Chicago Fire Department that had two line of duty deaths this year, but the additional 81 families that lost a loved one in the line of duty,” says Tom Vogenthaler of the Chicago Fire Department.

81 fallen firefighters are being honored this year, and all those lost in the line of duty are being remembered for sacrificing their lives to save others.

“We come every year since 2010. My brother Chad was inducted in 2010 and we come as a survivor and to help other families, and to pay our respects to all those who have gone before us. He [Chad Green] loved what he did and if you didn't want to hear it, too bad you had to hear all those stories, and I miss those stories,” says Courtney Draper of North Carolina.

Ben Sobtzick is remembering two of his friends who were ambushed and killed by a gunman when they were responding to a fire Upstate New York.

“Two of my friends, Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, were killed in the line of duty on December 24, 2012 and my uncle was killed in October of 1986,” says Ben Sobtzick of the West Webster NY Fire Department. “Tomasz, me and him grew up together, and he really has influenced me to become a better officer and firefighter.”

Firefighters say even when they loose a comrade; their families are still, always growing.

“No matter what part of the world you live in firefighters always seem to have that special bond of togetherness, and so when one member is lost it's felt around the nation,” says Vogenthaler.

Their losses are felt around the nation and in hearts of all those who depend on their services when they need it the most.

This year the ceremony was held at the Daughters of Charity Basilica in Emmitsburg, as the grounds of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial are closed due to the government shutdown.



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