Today will be filled with ceremonies, Facebook posts, blog post like this one, speeches and news coverage of events remembering this day all over the country. There will be a lot of Brotherhood going around and a lot of drinks raised to honor our fallen, all as it should be. There will be flags lowered, memorials opened and black bunting hung in memory and honor of those that sacrificed. These things make me reflect on what those that gave the ultimate sacrifice would think and how they would want us to remember them. With all of the ceremonies and events being wonderful tributes, I believe as firefighters we must do more to truly honor their legacy.
Here's my list:
- Don't just call each other Brother, act like one every day
- Be physically and mentally fit
- Be engaged everyday in our profession, don't just act proud, show your pride by engaging
- Learn something about our profession every day no matter how small or large the task
- Pass on the lessons of those that taught us, share and give much to those who come after you
- Stand up for what is right even when it goes against what's "popular"
- Be excellent at whatever you do; not all firefighters will be officers, but whatever you aspire to, be the best at it--everyday!
- Encourage and teach those younger than you, don't degrade them-they are our future
- Be involved--see a problem, be a part of the solution
- Leave our fire service better than it was when you entered it
These are just a few thoughts that I had. They are nothing that haven't been said before, but things that I try to remember everyday. I feel very fortunate to be able to be a part of this fire service and to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives that I serve and work with.
As we take time to remember today, carry the feelings from today with you everyday. Carry the pride and the honor with you knowing that that is what those 343 firefighters would want. They expect that we will carry the torches left behind by them. Be courageous ambassadors of the this noble profession on a daily basis and pass that on to those that are younger and new to our job.
God Bless those families left behind and those that were lost. Take care and Never Forget!