TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — Honoring Maryland’s fallen first responders. Police and fire departments across the state remember officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty in the last year.
As Gigi Barnett reports, Maryland is the only state in the nation to host an event like this.
The music is meant to comfort family, friends and colleagues of Maryland’s fallen first responders killed in the line of duty over the past year.
State leaders paused Friday to remember them at the annual Fallen Heroes Day ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.
“There are still days I pray that I am going to wake up and this will all have been a bad dream, even though I know it’s not,” said Gladys Falkenhan, wife of fallen hero. “It’s our life now. It’s a life that I never wanted and never could imagine–a life without Mark.”
In the last year, Maryland has had four fallen heroes. Reisterstown firefighter Gene Kirchner and Baltimore County officer Jason Schneider are among them.
“He was very prepared, he was fearless. So I didn’t expect it to happen,” said Ericka Schneider.
Schneider’s widow sat down with WJZ this week. She says her family is trying to move on and remember him.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through, but I’ve been able to be strong because I have so many caring people around me,” she said.
Many of them are fellow officers and firefighters still in the line of duty.
“We all know the sacrifices that could happen in the line of duty, and our families understand that,” said Col. Marcus Brown, Maryland State Police. “But you never really know it until you’re here with the families who have gone through the tragedies and you realize how important this is to all of them.”
Fallen Heroes Day is the only statewide ceremony in the nation that honors first responders killed in the line of duty.
Governor O’Malley issued a proclamation naming May 2 Fallen Heroes Day.
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