National EMS Weekend of Honor pays tribute to fallen EMS heroes

National EMS Memorial Service Press Release | May 6, 2019

Estimated reading time 5 minutes, 3 seconds.

The National EMS Memorial Service, the National EMS Memorial Foundation and the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride will pay tribute to our fallen EMS and air medical providers from throughout the United States during the 2019 National EMS Weekend of Honor, scheduled May 17 to 19 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

There are many activities and events during the three-day 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 2019 honorees:

FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2019

Arrival & 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.
  • Nearly 200 EMS Memorial Bike Riders and support personnel, led by a procession of EMS vehicles, will arrive at The Plaza at National Harbor at approximately 4:00 pm. This year the NEMSMBR East Coast and Southern Routes will meet in Annapolis and ride into National Harbor together, kicking off the Weekend of Honor.
  • Riders are predominantly EMS professionals from across the U.S. and Canada.  Each of the riders wears dog tags bearing an honoree’s name, agency and date of their loss.
  • Upon arrival at the Plaza at National Harbor, 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.

According to Brian Shaw, president of the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, “Participants of The National EMS Memorial Bike Ride are grateful to honor the lives of fellow EMS providers who have lost their lives doing the job the loved. While we cannot fully realize the true hurt felt by the families who have lost their loved ones, our goal is to ensure the contributions of these EMS heroes are recognized and not forgotten.  Our participants will spend grueling hours on their bikes, pedaling hundreds of miles while carrying the names of the fallen inscribed on dog tags around their necks, all in hopes of meeting the families and exchanging stories of their individual journeys.”

SATURDAY, MAY 18, 2019

National EMS Memorial Service (NEMSMS)

  • The National EMS Memorial Service, a formal ceremony to honor fallen EMS professionals who have died in the line of duty, will be held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
  • The entire memorial service can be viewed via live streaming. The link will be posted to the NEMSMS website in the days ahead.
  • 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, flown over the nation’s capitol, will be presented to each of the thirty-six 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.

“This year, the National EMS Weekend of Honor coincides with the beginning of National EMS Week, which is May 19-25,” said Jana Williams, president of the National EMS Memorial Service. “As National EMS Week celebrates the men and women who provide emergency medical services on the front lines of healthcare throughout our country, it is our honor and duty to also remember those who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice while doing so.”

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