National Fallen Firefighters Memorial ceremony forced to move because of shutdown

WASHINGTON – World War II vets visiting Washington, D.C., have managed to get inside the national memorial honoring them despite the partial government shutdown closing national parks and memorials.

But the grounds of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial are secured with padlocked gates. Annual ceremonies planned for this weekend will have to happen somewhere else.

“These families are being denied” a sacred moment says Cathy Hedrick, director of Survivor Programs for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Her son, Kenny, was killed trying to rescue people in a house fire.

The 81 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2012 and in previous years will not have their names read aloud as originally planned during a Sunday ceremony at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Md.

Families attending a Sunday ceremony elsewhere will not be able to see their loved ones’ names on bronze plaques acknowledging their addition to the memorial.

That makes their deaths a double tragedy, according to Hendrick. She says that simple act can help bring closure.

“It was remarkable for me to come to Emmitsburg and hear my son’s name read at a national memorial and understanding that a nation said ‘thank you’ for his sacrifice,” says Hendrick.

Organizers are pursuing alternative venues.

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