Today, May 4th, is known as International Firefighters’ Day. A local theme park in Northeast Tennessee, DOLLYWOOD, held a ceremony today at their newest family roller coaster, The FireChaser Express. Click here to read about the LAUNCH of the new coaster! (link) The event was held to recognize and honor those firefighters who serve their communities across the United States. During the ceremony, a statue and new signage was unveiled that pays tribute to firefighters from near and far. The President of Dollywood, Craig Ross, stated that the statue was an area that visitors of the park could reflect for a moment for the brave men and women who keep us safe on a daily basis. The sign also features the popular quote by FDNY Chief Croker:
I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives.
Another item that was on display today is the fire hose that firefighters across the state signed beginning in October of last year. During the Heroes Tour, Dollywood gathered more than 1,300 signatures on 4 sections of firehose that is now on display. Several sections can be seen beneath the statue, while others are hanging in one of the towers on the ride.
During the ceremony, the park also announced of a new PATCH TRADE program that they are launching. The FireChaser Express is based around the Wilderness Pass Volunteer Fire Department, and as we all know; every fire department needs a PATCH! Dollywood is now asking for firefighters from all across the country to bring their Department/Station patches with them to the park, and trade for one of the Wilderness Pass VFD patches. The patches the park receives will then be displayed throughout the FireChaser Express ride, as well as Blazing Fury, another fire themed coaster on-site.
WBIR Channel 10: Dollywood honors TN heroes for International Firefighters’ Day
WATE Channel 6: Dollywood unveils monument dedicated to firefighters