Memorial Weekend

For Returning Families

Returning Fire Hero Family members are the best source of support for new families attending the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend for the first time.

The Foundation invites families of fallen firefighters honored in previous years to attend and volunteer at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. Many of you have attended the events and know how special and healing the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend is for the fire service family.

Connecting with others who have also experienced the loss of a loved one in the line of duty makes the grief more bearable. Support and coping strategies are learned and vital to dealing with grief. It makes you realize that you are not alone! You meet different people who are at different stages of grief and realize that it will never be the same, but you can do it!! It makes it easy to talk about your loved one and realize they will never be forgotten.

Travel & Lodging

Returning families are responsible for arranging and paying for their travel and lodging. We have reserved a block of rooms for Returning Fire Hero Families at an area hotel. You will received detailed information in your invite letter and through registration.


Travel Day & Returning Family Dinner
We wish you a safe trip as you travel back to the Emmitsburg area for the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. In the afternoon, you can register at the Family hotel and learn more about your volunteer duties. You will also have opportunities to reconnect with families you have met in previous years. There will also be opportunities to volunteer to assist new families staying in the designated family hotels. The Foundation welcomes you back with a special Returning Fire Hero Family Dinner at the Family Hotel on Thursday evening.
New Family Welcome
Returning Fire Hero Family members will greet New Fire Hero Families as they arrive at the Family Hotel. You'll be able to re-connect with other returning families and establish new friendships with families attending the Memorial Weekend for the first time. Returning family volunteer opportunities at the hotel include:
  • Welcome new Fire Hero Families at Family Registration
  • Helping families create a luminary bag in memory of their firefighter
  • Assist families in making a rubbing of their loved one's name on the Memorial plaque
  • Serve in the Memorial Weekend store
  • Before dinner, volunteers will share Memory stones with new Fire Hero Families.
Family Day & Candlelight Service
Family Registration will continue to welcome Fire Hero Families at the Family Hotel and activities will continue until lunch is served. After lunch, new Fire Hero Families will be transported to the National Emergency Training Center, home of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. There are additional volunteer opportunities for Returning Fire Hero Family members on campus including helping in the store, Walk of Honor® bricks, and with the Chapel Vigil. In the afternoon, you can visit the grounds of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park and watch the Red Helmet Ride in honor of your loved one. After the Family Dinner, you can assist with the luminary bags and with the Candlelight Service. Join us for the Candlelight Service in honor of our new honorees and your loved one.
Memorial Service
Please join us at the National Emergency Training Center Campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland for the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. As you arrive on campus, the fire service will stand at attention in your honor as you pass through the Sea of Blue. A grateful nation will honor the newest firefighters being added to the Memorial and remember your loved one, during the official national tribute to America's fallen firefighters. During the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, you will be surrounded by the care and respect of honor guard and pipes and drum members from across the country.
Thursday, May 4, 2023
Friday, May 5, 2023
Saturday, May 6, 2023
Sunday, May 7, 2023

Sometimes children follow in their parents’ footsteps! Due to a twist of fate, we are following in our son’s. Sander was a great listener and was available to anyone who needed to talk. Neil and I volunteer during Memorial Weekend to support new families and continue Sander’s legacy of love.