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Oct 4, 12:48 PM EDT

Obama cites sacrifices made by fallen firefighters

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EMMITSBURG, Md. (AP) -- President Barack Obama has paid tribute to firefighters who died in the line of duty and cited the sacrifices they made in service to a grateful nation.

Obama spoke at the annual national memorial service in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and said those being remembered were heroes.

Obama said "it's hard to think of a more selfless profession." He said it's hard to imagine what it takes to "override the natural human instinct for self-preservation and run into danger as others are running away - to literally walk through fire knowing you might never make it out."

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation honored 84 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2014 and three others who died in previous years.

Obama spoke before a crowd of thousands and he offered condolences to each of the firefighters' families.

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