Caleb Bailey sings the anthem at Firefighters Memorial

Virginia bluegrass artist Caleb Bailey was invited to sing the National Anthem last weekend at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s National Memorial Weekend. The non-profit organization exists to honor firefighters lost in the line of duty, and to offer support to their families.

The Memorial Weekend ceremony is a rather large affair, with a great deal of pomp and circumstance, including a drum and bagpipe honor guard, and all the firefighters in their dress uniforms. Of course the point is to demonstrate to the families of the fallen the degree of dignity and respect in which the entire profession holds their missing comrades.

Bailey tells us that it was special for him, and a bit nerve wracking as well.

“I am a professional firefighter by trade. In my day job, I’m a Captain of Health & Safety with Rockingham County Fire & Rescue in Virginia. This was a distinct honor for me to blend both of my professional worlds.

The bluegrass community is a family, and so is the firefighting community. Many events in the bluegrass world are held to benefit firefighters. I think it’s that much more special that these two communities are in constant support of each other.

I will say it is the most nervous I’ve ever been to perform. You want every piece of this day to be perfect for the ones that we are there to honor.

I was truly grateful to be a part of the service.”

Typically, this service is held at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Park in Emmitsburg, MD, but was moved this year to nearby Mount Saint Mary’s University due to inclement weather.

Here’s video of the honor guard entrance and Caleb’s anthem.

Well done all!

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.