When Bells Ring and Sirens Sound

The sound of a bell holds special significance for firefighters. Historically, the toll of a bell summoned members to the station, signaled the beginning of a shift, notified departments of a call for help, and indicated a call was completed and the unit had returned to the station.

Departments sounded a series of bells when a firefighter died in the line of duty to alert all members that a comrade had made the ultimate sacrifice. This time-honored tradition continues today during the funerals or memorial services for firefighters.

For the second year, bells will ring from coast to coast as a grateful nation pauses to honor those firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2011. Fire departments in partnership with houses of worship will join the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) for the Second Annual Bells Across America for Fallen Firefighters, part of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, Maryland, on October 6 and 7.

This year, the Archdiocese of Washington has made all of their parishes aware of our request to ring their bells to honor our fallen firefighters. The request from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department for the Archdiocese to participate was made through an initial contact with Rev. Msgr. W. Ronald Jameson, V.F. who sent our request to the Archdiocese of Washington Communications Office.

Monsignor Sal Criscuolo, Pastor of Saint Patrick’s Church in Washington, DC and one of the Chaplains of the Metropolitan Police Department and the DC Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department echoed the fire service request. “Father Sal” has encouraged all parishes to join St. Patrick’s in honoring the Firefighters that lost their lives in the Line of Duty by ringing bells and saying a special prayer.

Parishes of the Archdiocese of Washington have also been given the option of saying a special prayer for firefighters among the Prayers of the Faithful on the weekend of October 6-7, according to Brie Hall, Communications Manager of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Throughout the weekend of October 6 – 7 when bells ring and sirens sound you will know that they are doing so to honor the firefighters that died in the Line of Duty in 2011. For additional information about this weekend and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, click here.

All places of worship are invited to join us the weekend of October 6 – 7 as we honor our fallen heroes and ring their bells as we sound our sirens.

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