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The National EMS Memorial Service (NEMSMS), the National EMS Memorial Foundation and the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride (NEMSMBR) have announced that preparations are underway for the 2020 National EMS Memorial Weekend of Honor, scheduled May 15 to 17 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
The weekend includes a series of events that honor all emergency medical services (EMS) providers from air and ground who serve, but especially those who have become ill or have been injured related to their duty, and culminates with the formal service to specifically honor in the highest degree those who have died in the line of duty.
The events recognize EMS responders from across the United States. This years’ National EMS Memorial Service will pay tribute to 24 EMS fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice. That list of honorees from 15 states can be found on the NEMSMS website at www.national-ems-memorial.org.
There will be several activities during the three days including two events that the public and media are invited and encouraged to attend as a show of support for the selfless service and sacrifice of the 24 honorees for 2020. On Friday afternoon, May 15, 2020, the arrival and tribute ceremony of the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride will occur. The riders will be arriving at the National Harbor Plaza at approximately 4 p.m. Then on Saturday evening, May 16, 2020, at 5 p.m. the National EMS Memorial Service, a formal ceremony to honor fallen EMS professionals from ground and air medical, will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
The NEMSMS’s annual Line-of-Duty Death Seminar will be held on May 15 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is open to all who serve in EMS, air medical, fire service, or law enforcement and is offered at no cost to participants. Chaplains and other support personnel are also invited to participate. Registration is required and can be completed at www.national-ems-memorial.org.
The National EMS Weekend of Honor coincides with the beginning of the 46th annual National EMS Week, from May 17 to 23.
Jana Williams, president of the National EMS Memorial Service shared her thoughts on the service: “It is fitting that before EMS week commences, a time that celebrates all in EMS for their commitment, we pause to reflect and especially pay tribute to those EMS providers who gave their lives in service. We are honored to commemorate the 24 first responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice, dying in the line-of-duty. As we prepare for this year’s Weekend of Honor, we will not only pay the respects of this great nation for their brave and selfless service but also show our support to their loved ones who have been left behind.”
During the Weekend of Honor, the “Tree of Life” will be on display at the Gaylord convention center. While there are permanent national memorials to honor other first responders in both law enforcement and fire services, there is no such memorial yet to honor EMS providers who have died in the line-of-duty. The Tree of Life was constructed as a temporary EMS memorial until a permanent one exists.
On Nov. 3, 2018, the president of the United States signed Public Law 115-275 to enable the National EMS Memorial Foundation to build a permanent EMS memorial in the nation’s capital.
Williams commended the bi-partisan support and credits their colleagues at the foundation saying, “Understand this was accomplished after nearly 10 years of hard work and commitment by the foundation. We applaud our partners at the National EMS Memorial Foundation on this extraordinary accomplishment and continue to support them as they work tirelessly to bring a permanent memorial closer to reality. In addition to our foundation colleagues’ efforts, we also recognize the work of our National EMS Memorial Bike Ride partners to not only honor EMS providers, but to continue to shine a light on the illnesses, injuries, losses and sacrifices those in EMS make.”
The Weekend of Honor is organized and hosted by the following volunteer-staffed organizations: National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, National EMS Memorial, and the National EMS Memorial Foundation.