National EMS Weekend of Honor to pay tribute to fallen EMS heroes
Special events open to the public include the National EMS Memorial Service and the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride
WASHINGTON — The National EMS Memorial Service, the National EMS Memorial Foundation and the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride will pay tribute to 32 fallen EMS and air medical providers from 15 states during the 2016 National EMS Weekend of Honor, scheduled May 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport, 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, Va.
There are many activities and events during the three-day 2016 National EMS Weekend of Honor, 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 2016 honorees:
Friday, May 20: Arrival and tribute of the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride (NEMSMBR)
- The NEMSMBR celebrates the lives of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice as well as those EMS legacy personnel who have died of natural or non-employment-related causes.
- About 100 EMS Memorial Bike Riders, led by a procession of EMS vehicles, will arrive at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, concluding a trip that began on May 14 in Boston and kicking off the 2016 Weekend of Honor.
- Riders are predominantly EMS professionals from across the U.S., and each rider wears dog tags bearing an honoree’s name, agency and date of their loss.
- Upon arrival at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, the Presentation of Dog Tags to the families will occur. The rider will meet the family in front of the honoree’s biography to present one of their two dog tags worn during the ride — an emotionally powerful part of the Honor Weekend. The rider will keep the other dog tag as a lifetime reminder of the honoree’s sacrifice.
- The Presentation of the Dog Tags is immediately followed by a short ceremony.
Saturday, May 21: National EMS Memorial Service (NEMSMS)
- The National EMS Memorial Service, a formal ceremony to honor fallen EMS professionals, will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.
- The entire memorial service can be viewed via live-streaming.
- Hundreds of EMS personnel from across the country will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the NEMSMS, along with friends, co-workers of current and past honorees, dignitaries, EMS and business leaders, and government officials.
- All participants in the NEMSMS will be in dress uniform, flight suits, or similar appropriate attire.
- Honor Guards, along with bagpipe and drum corps will volunteer their time and services throughout the weekend.
- An American flag, sent by President Barack Obama on behalf of a grateful nation, is presented to each honoree’s family along with the NEMSMS medallion.
- During the service, a National Moment of Silence will be called at 6:00 PM (Eastern), so that EMS agencies across the U.S. can pause simultaneously in 30 seconds of radio silence to pay respect and remember the fallen—together.
- The year’s honorees are highlighted in a special Tribute Video, followed by an uplifting Candlelight Ceremony that concludes the service.
- The National EMS Memorial “Tree of Life” will be on display. Bronze oak leaves are engraved with the names of fallen honorees for each year since 1993.
In August 2015, the three EMS organizations named above agreed to collaborate on a shared vision and strategic plan to honor EMS heroes who have died in the line of duty. They are continuing to move forward with efforts to establish a permanent National EMS Memorial in the greater Washington, D.C. area, an effort being led by the National EMS Memorial Foundation. More updates on these efforts will be forthcoming.
“This year, the National EMS Weekend of Honor coincides with the conclusion of National EMS Week, which is May 15-21,” said Jana Williams, president of the National EMS Memorial Service. “Our nation’s capital area in Northern Virginia is a fitting location for these annual memorial events that commemorate our country’s brave men and women in the field of emergency medical services.”