By Lucas Wimmer, emsworld.com
National EMS Week, held this year May 15-21, is a celebration of the hard work and dedication EMS providers put into their job on a daily basis, and serves as a “thank you” from the community.
However, some events during EMS week serve a deeper meaning.
The National EMS Memorial Service, held this year on the last day of National EMS Week, honors 659 EMS personnel who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The service, held annually, comes at the end of the East Coast leg of the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, and is held in Washington D.C.
The memorial includes bagpipe and drum corps, a keynote address and an honor guard presentation. Flags are sent from the U.S. Capitol to present to the honorees’ families, and a tribute video is shared in remembrance of the fallen EMS personnel.
During the service, a national moment of silence is called in to pay respect to the honorees. EMS agencies around the country observe this moment of silence.
The National EMS Memorial will also be on display at the service. The memorial consists of a “Tree of Life” and a memorial book. The Tree of Life has leaves inscribed with the name, agency and date of loss of each National EMS Memorial Service honoree, and the memorial book has a page for each honoree as well.
The service began in 1991, and was recognized by the U.S. Congress in 1998 as the official National EMS memorial of the United States.
The service will be streamed online at the National EMS Memorial Service website.