Annual ceremony provides opportunity to show appreciation for police/firefighters who risk lives daily
The 32nd annual Fallen Heroes Day ceremony will be held on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. The annual event, which attracts more than 1,500 guests from across the state of Maryland, honors and remembers police and correctional officers, firefighters, and emergency medical/rescue personnel who died in the line of duty during the past year. It is the only statewide ceremony in the nation that brings together all segments of the public safety community. Fallen Heroes Day is also an opportunity for the public to show their appreciation for those who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Maryland.
The 2017 Fallen Heroes Day ceremony will honor Firefighter/Paramedic Lieutenant John Ulmschneider of the Prince George’s County Fire Department who died just weeks before the 2016 ceremony. On April 15, 2016, Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider and another medic responded to a “welfare call” at the home of a man suspected to be suffering from a medical emergency. When there was no answer at the door, forcible entry was used. The occupant of the home shot at the medics, mortally wounding 37-year-old Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider, a 13-year member of the Fire/EMS Department.
The 32nd annual Fallen Heroes Day ceremony will begin with a procession of more than 25 honor guard units from across the state, police motorcycle and mounted units, bagpipers, and drummers. Kai Jackson, veteran journalist and Fox 45 News anchor will be the keynote speaker. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr., Special Advisor, Governor’s Legislative Office, will give memorial addresses. Princella Hunter, the mother of Fallen Hero Trooper First Class Shaft Hunter who was honored at the 2012 Fallen Heroes Day Ceremony, will speak as a survivor. Television news anchor and radio host Mary Beth Marsden will serve as the emcee.
During the ceremony, the family of Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider will be presented with a replica of the Fallen Heroes Memorial and a resolution from the Maryland General Assembly. Additionally, one police officer and two firefighters who died in the line of duty, before Fallen Heroes Day was established in 1986, will be remembered and their families will be presented with a Governor’s Proclamation.
“Our hearts go out to the Ulmschneider family as we remember Firefighter/Paramedic Lieutenant John Ulmschneider and those public servants across the nation who have died in the line of duty,” says John O. Mitchell, III, Chairman of Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. “This year, as always, Fallen Heroes Day provides an opportunity for the citizens of Maryland to take time to show appreciation and respect for the men and women who risk their lives each day when they report to work.”
Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens was established in 1958 by John Armiger, Sr. In 1976 he set aside 330 burial spaces for fallen heroes and their spouses. Ten years later, John Armiger, Jr. established the tradition of Fallen Heroes Day. The 70-acre cemetery was purchased by John O. Mitchell, III of the family-owned Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home in Rodgers Forge/Towson, MD in 2007. The Mitchell family is proud to continue the tradition of Fallen Heroes Day. Currently, 69 members of the public safety community are buried at the Fallen Heroes Memorial.
Keeping with tradition, Governor Larry Hogan has issued a proclamation declaring May 5, 2017 as Fallen Heroes Day in Maryland and has ordered flags flown at half-staff at the State House and all state facilities.
The Fallen Heroes Memorial is located within Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 East Padonia Road, Timonium, MD 21093.