The 34th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend was held from October 3-4, 2015 and the Cinnaminson Fire Department took part to honor fallen brother Lt. Christopher Hunter. Hunter died in the line of duty on November 15, 2014, less than 24 hours after responding to an emergency call while on duty.
A contingent of more than 40 members, spouses and family attended the memorial service on Sunday morning at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, just miles up the road from Memorial Park at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
The Hunter family spent the entire weekend in Emmitsburg, attending a candlelight service on Saturday night at the chapel on the National Fire Academy campus, and then the memorial service on Sunday morning.
“Today was solemn,” Chief Bill Kramer said. “I am proud of the department for supporting our brother and his family. Proud that we participated. It was an amazing opportunity to show the brotherhood that exists nowhere else other than the emergency services and the military.”
This year’s memorial service honored 87 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2014, adding the names to the Roll of Honor plaque that will be added to Memorial Park.
The Cinnaminson Fire Department honor guard took part in the memorial service Sunday, marching with honor guards from across the country at the beginning and conclusion of the ceremony.
“It was pretty overwhelming really, the whole thing,” Lt. Dennis Staples said. “The support that we got from all over the country. We met people from Anchorage, Alaska; Baltimore, Maryland; New York; Kentucky and elsewhere. I don’t know if incredible is the right word, given the circumstances, but it was definitely overwhelming. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation took care of us as well as the family.”
President Barack Obama attended the event as the keynote speaker, delivering a stirring, poignant speech that spoke directly to the surviving family members and departments in attendance. The president then greeted every family member or department representative in attendance for the 87 fallen firefighters who were honored.
Each family or representative was presented with a special United States flag and a red rose after greeting the president.
Everyone who spoke during the memorial service made one thing clear; survivors and departments do not have to move forward alone. The Fire Service is a brotherhood that will always look out for its own.
Pictures, the candlelight ceremony and the memorial service are available for viewing and downloading at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation website. We encourage all residents to visit this website.