Nation’s fallen firefighters honored at memorial in Frederick Co.

The lives and service of two local firefighters recently killed in the line of duty were honored among many others at the 40th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.

The 40th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was held in the town of Emmitsburg, Maryland. Two local firefighters were honored during the service.

“Today we pay tribute to 169 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2020,” said Troy Markel, Chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Board of Directors. The memorial also honored 46 firefighters who died in previous years.

“Today’s service began with the traditional tolling of the bells, and across our nation bells are ringing in recognition of the sacrifice that your loved ones made,” Markel said as he addressed the family members of those firefighters.

Markel’s remarks were followed by a presentation of colors by the honor guard to call the service to order.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner paid tribute to two Frederick County firefighters who lost their lives.

“The people of Frederick County share in your pain and in your pride, one of our own is among the heroes being honored today, Michael Powers,” Gardner said.

Powers, a volunteer with the Frederick County Fire Department, was killed while responding to the scene of a car crash in June 2019.

“And two months ago our fire service was devastated once again by the line-of-duty death of Battalion Chief Joshua Laird,” Gardner continued.

Laird was posthumously promoted to the rank of battalion chief after he died fighting a two-alarm house fire in Ijamsville in August.

Acting U.S. Fire Administrator Chief Tonya Hoover was among the speakers.

“The names on the memorial not only memorializes those men and women but also represents the history of the American fire service. Behind every name is a story of service and sacrifice,” Hoover said.

Also among the names called out during the ceremony was Alex D. Graham, who was with D.C. Fire and EMS for 17 years. He died following a medical emergency in 2019.

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