07/27/07 256 W, 2 I - + 21 - 19 National Fire Academy / National Fallen Firefighters Memorial

Wandered to Emmitsburg, MD, yesterday, curious what the National Fire Academy grounds look like. The exceptionally quaint town is located about 70 minutes northwest of Baltimore. It's also a stone's throw from Gettysburg, another tiny town. There are mountains nearby, including Raven Rock Mountain, where a nearby underground complex commonly called "Site R" is one of the "undisclosed locations" that the Vice President occasionally visits.

The campus of the National Fire Academy is called the National Emergency Training Center. It's, say, a Meredith College-sized campus, with several attractive buildings as well as the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Fallout Shelter signs are still affixed to the older buildings. There's also a serious-looking, cable-reinforced, Homeland Security-style fence that surrounds the facility. Visitors are required to register.

The grounds are the former campus of St. Joseph College. That school was charted in 1905, says the roadside sign, and closed 1973. The National Fire Academy grounds were dedicated in 1979, says a plaque on the school's grounds. Some of these links have more history. In 1981, the National Fallen Firefighters Monument was constructed.

The centerpiece of the Memorial is a sculpted bronze Maltese cross atop a 7-foot stone cairn. The Memorial plaza is also shaped as a Maltese cross. Plaques list the names of line-of-duty deaths since 1981. Engraved bricks on the walkway list the individuals, departments, and organizations that have sponsored the Memorial. Other bricks contain short messages chosen by the sponsors.

Photos forthcoming. Here's the campus map . Here's Google's aerial photo.

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