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FEMA announced this week that nearly 4,200 people visited the National Fallen Firefighters? Memorial in 2003, to honor thousands of American heroes. The memorial is located 75 miles from Washington, D.C., at FEMA?s National Emergency Training Center. In addition, thousands more training center students and attendees at the annual memorial service also visited the memorial.

?This memorial, with its eternal flame, is a tangible symbol of the ongoing sacrifice of America?s firefighters,? said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response. ?It is important that so many visitors come to pay tribute each year.?

The memorial was built in 1981 and officially designed by Congress as the national memorial to career and volunteer firefighters in 1990. Plaques listing the names of firefighters killed in service since 1981 encircle the plaza. The area is framed on two sides by a six-foot stone wall that dates back more than 100 years. When a firefighter dies on duty, local fire officials notify the U.S. Fire Administration, part of FEMA. A notice of death is immediately posted on the memorial grounds and the flags are flown at half-staff.

The next National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, which includes a candlelight ceremony and memorial services, will be held Oct. 1-3, 2004. More information can be found at

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