Lighthouse Uniform Company August 2011
In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy known as 9-11, the Lighthouse Uniform Company received a phone call from Lt. Jerry Hughes from the Chicago FD.
Lt. Hughes suggested we make an attempt at getting America’s Fire Service to adopt the NYFD Bell Cap as a statement of solidarity with all the Firefighters lost in the WTC Towers.
The idea was explored, but in the end proved too daunting a task. It did, however, lead to the creation of the 9-11 Memorial Cap Band™, the band with the red bloodline.
Not wanting to capitalize on the moment, the Lighthouse did not market the straps and made them available to only a select group of Honor Guards. Without a public presence, the 9-11 Cap Band soon fell out of sight.
Now, almost ten years has gone by since 9-11 and there is a new generation of firefighters coming up that do not have a relationship to 9-11. It is turning into a history lesson right in front of us and the decision was made to reintroduce the 9-11 Memorial Cap Band Program and try to ‘make sure the past stays part of the present’.
Again, not wanting to market the strap, the Lighthouse reached out to State Chief and/or Firefighter Associations for help in disseminating the information that the straps exist.
Over the course of numerous conversations with Association presidents and executive directors, several decisions were made;
- access to the program would be through participating associations, there is no strap presence on the Lighthouse Uniform Company webpage
- there will be only one ‘beneficiary’ association per state
- a cash stream will be generated for the ‘designated’ beneficiary association by purchases of straps in that state
- the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation will benefit from every strap sale as part of its Affiliated Partner Program
In the 14 months the program has been available, associations in over 40 states have chosen to participate. A few of the Associations linking to the Program include Alaska, Washington, Nevada, Missouri, Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida and the Ohio Chiefs.
Among the Memorial Associations are the Minnesota Fallen Firefighters Memorial Association, Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard and the Wisconsin State Firefighter Memorial.
With the advent of the decision by the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation to support the 9-11 Memorial Cap Bands and to help insure the memory those firefighters who gave their all ‘so others might live’ is never forgotten, the Program has truly become an international effort.
As it stands now, the 9-11 Bands are in hundreds of departments and on thousands of dress caps. Momentum is building and the 9-11 Memorial Cap Band may very well join the Maltese Cross and the Bell Style Cap as part of Fire Service tradition.
The original target of the 9-11 Memorial Cap Band™ Program was to support a handful of Honor Guards around the country. Now the Program target is to get on every firefighter’s dress cap and to be a meaningful, tangible, permanent reminder that something very momentous took place that day, to remain vigil and to insure appreciation of ‘upon whose shoulders they stand’.
It is a target worth working toward and we are honored and very excited to have the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation be involved.
We’d also like to take a moment to thank CFFF Chaplain Bruce Rushton and British Columbia representative and CFFF Vice President, Doug Wylie, for their encouragement and help in getting the Foundation ‘on board’ and a special thank you to Alberta’s Strathcona County Honour Guard and especially to Chief Neill Moroz and the Kamloops FD for stepping up and putting their money where their ‘caps are’. Kamloops FD’s purchase of two hundred and ten 9-11 Memorial Cap Bands was the 2nd largest purchase to date and will result in a check for $1050.00 to be sent to the CFFF.
In addition to the link on the CFFF website, the Program can be accessed at www.lighthouseuniform.com/commemorative.
Thank you very much.
Steve Cohen, Pres.
Lighthouse Uniform Company
Home of the Fallen Fire Fighter Dress Uniform Program
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” - George Santayana