WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The first weekend of October is dedicated to honoring the firefighter heroes who died while serving the public.
On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis directed U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff on Sunday at all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds throughout Florida from sunrise to sunset.
National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend is observed through the U.S. and this year 215 names will be added to the list at the national memorial site in Maryland.
This is the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation's 40th year, honoring firefighters who have died in the line of duty.
Saturday the NFFF held a candlelight vigil to start the weekend of observation.
"There is sadness and grief in our hearts. For the fact that these heroes that left us so soon. And for the families that suffered so much loss. But there is joy that they have left this earth doing the job of servant, protector, and lover of their fellow man. They have left his world leaving us with a better sense of what duty, honor and service means." said Chaplain Jason Boone with Nolichuckey Valley volunteer fire department in Tennessee.
The ceremony was a way to honor those 215 heroes that paid the ultimate sacrifice, but also all past fallen firefighters as well as families left behind.
"This weekend our goal is to find support and comfort in our foundation and our fire hero families. You are a part of this very special group. Fire hero families have a long tradition of helping each other. Just as your firefighter was part of the brotherhood and sisterhood so too are you. You are joined a community no one ever wants to join, but one that will welcome you with open arms for the rest of our life." said Troy Markel the Chairman of the Board with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
The NFFF is live streaming its Memorial Service Sunday at 9:30am.