10,000 Remember the Heroes of 2001 in National Service
'Sea' of Thousands of Firefighters, Honor Guards Pay Tribute

LON SLEPICKA, HEATHER CASPI, TIFFANI ALEXANDER, CHRIS HEBERT AND DAVE J. IANNONE
Firehouse.com News

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A sea of thousands of firefighters from across America paid tribute to the 446 firefighters from 32 states killed in the line of duty in 2001 and previous years -- including 347 at the World Trade Center on September 11th -- at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service at the MCI Center this afternoon.

In a hushed MCI Center, Director of the Office of Homeland Security Tom Ridge that some had suggested he had an impossible job. "No," he said. It was firefighters who had the impossible job and they did it "without complaint, without delay and without failure".

"Nothing we can say or do can alleviate the loss felt by the family", Ridge said, "but being with other family members who have experienced the same thing might help."

Honor guards led a 'Sea of Blue' that included over 60 busloads of family members of those lost in 2001.


That was the theme for the whole weekend as the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) brought together the families of the fallen firefighters which culminated in a day of marching honor guards and city streets lined with firefighters from across the nation as the buses of family members moved slowly from the hotels to the afternoon service.

More than 300 families of those lost participated in the weekend of events, which included today's ceremony and march, a candlelight vigil Saturday night and workshops and counseling sessions for the families. All of the families interviewed said the planning and effort that went into the Weekend was well organized.

For Pat Egan who lost her FDNY firefighter son Martin, it was all lovely, but sad. "We knew the truth about why we were coming," she said. "I