National Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Weekend - First Weekend in October


The first weekend of every October recognizes National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. The weekend is timed to coincide with fire-prevention week and other fire awareness weeks.

The official observance in Maryland begins on the Saturday of the weekend with Family Day and includes small group sessions, family activities. A vigil in the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel features a candlelight service. Both the candlelight service and memorial service are open to the public.

On the Sunday of the weekend, the remembrance conducts the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial ceremony. It is the official national tribute to America’s fallen firefighters. The ceremony includes a traditional honor guard and bagpipe procession. During the ceremony, each family of a fallen firefighter receives an American flag. The service concludes with the unveiling of the plaque listing the names of the honored fallen fire heroes.

HOW TO OBSERVE #FFMemorialWeekend #FireHero

There are many ways to honor fallen fire heroes.

  • Since 2011 the weekend includes the ringing of the bells. If you or your community wishes to participate, you can sign up here to register.
  • Watch for local remembrances. They are any time during the weekend and can be a thoughtful moment of silence, a special reading, or tolling a ceremonial bell by members of the local fire department.
  • Lower Your Flag in conjunction with the observance of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service and inform other of the significance of lowered flags.
  • Light up your firehouse, building, or suggest a landmark to light up in red for Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters as part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.
  • Sign the virtual Remembrance Banner page.
  • Follow National Fallen Fighters Foundation on Facebook.
  • Change your profile icon or cover photo on your social media during the Memorial Weekend to honor the fallen. You can find the icon and profile badge here.

Join the conversation on social media with #FireHero.


Since 1981, the memorial weekend has been observed. In 1982, Congress established the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. President George W. Bush approved legislation in 2001. The legislation required the United States flag to be lowered to half-staff on all federal buildings to memorialize fallen firefighter on the first Sunday in October, on the day of the official observance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency partners with the Foundation to sponsor many of the National Memorial Weekend activities.