Updated: 10/05/2013 8:02 PM
Created: 10/05/2013 12:23 PM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion
Dozens of people left Webster early Saturday morning to take part in a national memorial service honoring fallen firefighters.
It's been nearly a year since a lone gunman shot and killed two local firefighters and injured two others and now the nation is honoring them.
Sadly, these fallen heroes aren't alone.
Lieutenant Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka are among dozens of firefighters killed in the line of duty who are being honored this weekend.
Local firefighters traveled through the night to get to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, Maryland. That's where Chiapperini and Kaczowka are being honored.
News10NBCcaught up with the the local group before they left Saturday morning.
This ceremony takes place every year. Thousands of firefighters and their loved ones from all over the nation unite in comfort.The main goal is to provide reassurance that their loved ones who died in the line of duty will never be forgotten.
That's a message members of the West Webster community have been spreading here since the Christmas Eve tragedy. Dozens of fellow firefighters, friends and family members boarded two buses early Saturday morning.
They will be in attendance for several ceremonies that will take place Saturday and Sunday near the nation's capital, including a candlelight vigil that took place Saturday afternoon.
The vigil honored 73 fallen firefighters from 2012, including Lieutenant Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka Eight firefighters from previous years were also honored. A candle was lit for every single firefighter lost.
A local firefighter News10NBC caught up with early Saturday morning says ceremonies like this help the healing process, especially after such a difficult year.
“There's never any closure, but it puts a different light on things, the recognition for those people that gave it all,” said Lieutenant Tom Indiano, West Webster Fire District.
The memorial weekend usually includes a trip to see the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Washington D.C. But because of the government shutdown, only families of the fallen will be allowed to the memorial.
There will be another ceremony Sunday morning and another bus will be leaving the area on Tuesday for another memorial in Albany. There's a lot going on but these firefighters say these are very special moments.
If you'd like to watch the memorial, an online stream is available on the foundation's website. You can click here for more information. The memorial service stream will be available around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.