Fallen firefighters from around the country were remembered and honored at the 31st National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service on Sunday, Oct. 7 at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Md., just a few miles from the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. The names of 80 fallen firefighters from 2011 and five from previous years was added to bronze plaques that surround the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, honoring the service of more than 3,600 fallen firefighters.
Among those honored was Chief Robert J. Tieche Sr., who died in May 2011 after responding to a call with the Cardinal Joint Fire District in Canfield. The Tieche family: Deby his wife, daughter Katie and son Robbie, who is a firefighter with the department, along with the department's Honor Guard, chief and deputy chief traveled to Emmitsburg for the ceremony.
Over the course of the weekend, the Tieches created a memory box, signed a Remembrance banner, created a luminaire and were presented with the lithograph "Heroes" which included a die-cut photograph of Chief Tieche in the bottom corner. The lithograph was coincidentally designed and presented to the Tieche family by Canfield artist Ray Simon.
The Tieche family is escorted through the 'Sea of Blue' Honor Guard by Canfield Deputy Chief Matt Rarick. The Sea of Blue Honor Guard was comprised of firefighters from across the United States.
While the family was busy meeting and sharing stories with survivors from previous years, the District's Honor Guard attended meetings on how to assist the family as escorts and training in Honor Guard techniques and etiquette.
On Saturday, the family received a private guided tour of the National Fire Academy where the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial is located and later attended a candlelight service at the memorial.
The weekend concluded with a heartwarming ceremony held at the Mount St. Mary's University Knott Arena, beginning with a procession of more than 200 Honor Guard members and fife and drum bands from throughout the United States. As each fallen firefighter's name was read from the roll, the family was escorted to the podium and presented a U.S. flag and single red rose.
The families were then transported back to the memorial where they were able to pay their last tributes and lay a rose on the memorial plaque.