EMMITSBURG, Md. - For more than 30 years, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has hosted an annual ceremony to honor firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
But this year, the possibility for a federal government shutdown has forced the Foundation to carry out a backup plan for their memorial ceremony this weekend.
"In the event of a federal shutdown, we will not be allowed to have access to the campus here, where the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation memorial is normally held," said Linda Hurley of the Foundation.
Firefighter recruits from the Anne Arundel County Fire Department therefore worked for hours to move items for the memorial out of the
"This year, 81 firefighters are being recognized who had died in the previous year or in prior years and weren't previously recognized,” said Lt. Michael Denver of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department. “And we need to come together as a fire service and remember their sacrifice and honor their sacrifice."
Organizers for the event say canceling the memorial ceremony, which usually brings in about 5,000 people, is not an option. They have already finalized arrangements for about 300 family members of fallen firefighters to come to the ceremony.
"These firefighters have paid the ultimate sacrifice and their families have suffered through their loss,” said Hurley. “The death of their firefighter and it's very important that we as a nation honor these fallen heroes."
Foundation officials say that there is still a chance the ceremony will take place at the
Otherwise, the memorial service will be held this Sunday at the Mount St. Mary's University sports complex.