Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is directing U.S. and state flags in Connecticut lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, May 7, 2023, in recognition of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, an annual observance honoring the sacrifices of firefighters across the country who have died in the line of duty. Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags – including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise – should also be lowered during this same duration of time.
This will be the first time that the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service is being held in May rather than October, as it has traditionally been for several decades. This change is being made effective in 2023 and the observance will continue to occur in May in future years.
The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation will host a ceremony on Sunday morning at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park in Emmitsburg, Maryland, during which 144 fallen firefighters – 79 of whom died in 2022 and 65 in previous years – will be memorialized by having their names added to a bronze plaque that will be unveiled during the ceremony, becoming a permanent part of the federal park. Two fallen Connecticut firefighters will be among those honored, including Chief William “Bill” Halstead Sr. of the Sandy Hook Fire and Rescue Company, who died in the line of duty on July 8, 2022, and Firefighter Matthias “Matt” Wirtz Jr. of the North Haven Fire Department, who died in the line of duty on December 26, 2022.
Governor Lamont said, “Those who have the courage to serve their communities as firefighters must be honored for their selfless sense of protection of our neighborhoods and the people who live in them. They are heroes, and they put themselves in harm’s way out of a fearless sense of duty to protect the lives of people they may not even know. I am thankful for all of the firefighters who serve in Connecticut, and I encourage everyone in our state to reflect upon those who have given their lives in the line of duty.”
Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said, “Our state’s firefighters demonstrate an unparalleled commitment to fire service through their leadership, bravery, and dedication to their stations – they are truly heroes. Today, we honor the sacrifice of our fallen firefighters, and hold their loved ones in our hearts. We are humbled by their sense of duty and commitment to keeping their communities safe. There are not enough words to express our gratitude for their service.”