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 of which the fireman has to do believe his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives of mankind, the work of God himself. Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the job thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even of supreme sacrifice. Such considerations may not strike the average mind, but they are sufficient to fill to the limit our ambition in life and to make us serve the general purpose of human society.
Edward F. Crocker
Chief of Department
These are a few "neat" things that we have found on the net that help put our "calling", if you will, into words for others. We didn't write these and we don't know who did and we can't give them the proper credit they deserve....
“Thank God for Firefighters” by Paul Harvey
“We have become a nation where we try to upgrade our status, not by hard work, but by words. In recent years, even persons that win large amounts of money, or are very rich, feel they must either own or start a business just so they can give themselves a title. In social settings, it is no longer enough to be employed, supporting a family, and giving to the community.
It used to be salesmen were respected for their ability to generate sales; now they have become account executives. With the title change has come more golf, more planning time, and less time actually doing what they were hired to do, see potential buyers and sell the company products. With the title change from stewardess to flight attendant, those who serve in the air forgot how to smile and to truly help the public. Waiters and waitresses are now servers. Bricklayers and electricians are “in the construction trade,” and policemen who used to have our respect have changed their title to law enforcement officers and are no longer as respected as they once were.
Thousands of jobs are begging to be filled in our nation, where a person could easily earn $500 a week or more. Unfortunately, those jobs are for plumbers, mechanics and no new titles have been found for those jobs. We used to have panhandlers, now we have the homeless and it is now society's problem to house and feed them instead of their own responsibility.
There are only two jobs left in our nation that remain unchanged in title and respect. They both work hard, take care of their families, help their communities, command respect from us all. Thank God for our farmers and firefighters.”
“More than 300 firefighters are missing at the site of the Twin Tower collapse. In this war - if that's what it is - the heroes are not soldiers. They are firefighters.” - Siva Vaidhyanathan, MSNBC correspondent.
"I will never look at firefighters the same way again. What is in someone, hundreds of them, to compel them to run into a burning building while everyone else is running out, just to save people they don't even know? Their bravery has become part of our collective national legacy. Their bravery dignifies us all" -The Rev. Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, ILL.
By Rhonda Chriss Lokeman
When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter.
I want to rush into buildings on the verge of collapse, where people are hanging for dear life from window ledges and hoping rescuers will see them and bring them safely down.
I want to submerge in my subconscious the acrid stench of unidentified dust and melting steel, or worse, as I listen for the tap, tap, tap of fingers beneath rubble telegraphing: "Over here! I'm over here!"
And then, when I find a moment to myself, I will collapse in a heap of emotions beneath my helmet, convulse and with dirty hands wipe away my sooty tears.
Then I will return to confront the horrible sight of people with no place to turn except to me. I get no bonuses, no commissions, for each life saved.
When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter.
I want to be like Kirk Pritchard. The New York firefighter, along with countless others, risked his life in the rescue effort at the World Trade Center after its twin towers sustained aerial assaults.
Armed only with hoses, ladders and pickaxes, firefighters faced the world's most diabolical foes: terrorists who had hijacked two commercial jets and used them as guided missiles to kill thousands of people.
According to The New York Times, Pritchard's spine was fractured after he was hit by falling debris. And yet, and yet, Pritchard managed to walk for hours trying to find others, including fellow firefighters, who were trapped in the tangle of steel and concrete.
He called out to them by name. Some answered. Some didn't.
Whoever said our heroes wear Spandex or have phenomenal batting averages or hawk expensive athletic shoes and make six-figure salaries was wrong.
Heroes look like Pritchard, bald and paralyzed and doped up on painkillers as they try to fathom, between slipping in and out of consciousness, whether they dreamed the whole gawd-awful mess.
For Pritchard and others, their constant nightmare is worse than ours. The scenes on television that we can dismiss with a single channel change play over and again in their heads. It is constant and unrelenting. Every sense, sight, taste, smell, touch and hearing is hauntingly fine-tuned to Sept. 11.
Our heroes walk into burning buildings and carry out strangers. They never get the key to the city. But they sometimes get the kid hiding in a closet in a bedroom engulfed in flames. Or they get the once-steely office worker who clings fearfully to a handrail on a stairwell blocked by fire and smoke.
Our heroes wear heavy coats, not red capes. They don't leap tall buildings in a single bound; they walk into towering infernos 100-plus stories high. They have singed mustaches and smudged faces. They have meat on their bones, and some have paunch over their belts. Sometimes they drink too much and sleep too little. Our heroes make mistakes. They are not perfect.
When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter.
I want to be like Mike Fitzpatrick. The New York firefighter told reporters about how he and others agonized over the firefighter they had to leave behind.
They had just begun to cut him free of the first tower's heap when the second tower showed signs of giving way. They had to leave him. They lost sight of him in the mushroom of dust and smoke that followed.
"We were trying to dig him out. We were trying to dig him out," Fitzpatrick repeated, as if trying to reconcile his narrow escape with his conscience.
Our heroes are in constant turmoil about whether they did the right thing, whether they acted quickly enough, whether they could have done more.
When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter, like the ones who worked with Father Mychal Judge. Judge, the New York Fire Department chaplain, was administering last rites to a firefighter trapped by the first tower collapse.
In reverence, Judge removed his fire helmet. Something struck his head and killed him. A small group of firefighters left the scene to carry the monk's lifeless body to a nearby church. They then returned to their weighty task. At Judge's funeral Saturday, he was dressed in his brown Franciscan frock. A fire helmet lay beside him in the coffin.
When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Rhonda Chriss Lokeman is the opinion-page editor for The Kansas City Star.
(c) 2001, The Kansas City Star.
"If you're looking for a hero, a role model, you don't have to look very far. You see, a hero isn't someone who hits home runs or scores touchdowns in front of thousands of cheering fans. A hero is an average citizen who does something extraordinary to help someone else in need. A hero is a firefighter who runs into a burning building, never thinking of himself. And if you want to find one of these heroes, all you have to do is look next door at your neighbor or your uncle. Or across the breakfast table at your own dad."
-The Honorable Raymond Mariano, Mayor of Worcester, Massachusetts
-Worcester Fallen Firefighters' Memorial Service, December 9, 1999
I wish you could....
I Wish You Could
I wish you could see the sadness of a business man as his livelihood goes up in flames or that family returning home, only to find their house and belongings damaged or destroyed.
I wish you could know what it is to search a burning bedroom for trapped children, flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen beneath you burns.
I wish you could comprehend a wife's horror at 3 A.M. as I check her husband of forty years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway, hoping against hope to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late. But wanting his wife and family to know everything possible was done.
I wish you could know the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling, and the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke--"sensations that I have become too familiar with."
I wish you could understand how it feels to go to school in the morning after having spent most of the night, hot and soaking wet at a multiple alarm fire.
I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire, "Is this a false alarm or a working, breathing fire? How is the building constructed? What hazards await me? Is anyone trapped?" or to an EMS call, "What is wrong with the patient? Is it minor or life threatening? Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2x4 or a gun?"
I wish you could be in the emergency room as the doctor pronounce dead the beautiful little five-year old girl that I have been trying to save during the past twenty-five minutes, who will never go on her first date or say the words, "I love you Mommy!" again.
I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to yield right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us, however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, "It took you forever to get here!"
I wish you could read my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years from the mangled remains of her automobile, `What if this were my sister, my girlfriend, or a friend? What were her parents' reactions going to be as they open the door to find a police officer, HAT IN HAND?"
I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not come home from this last call.
I wish you could feel my hurt as people verbally, and sometimes physically, abuse us or belittle what I do, or as they express their attitudes of, "It will never happen to me."
I wish you could realize the physical, emotional, and mental drain of missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have viewed.
I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life or preserving someone's property, of being there in times of crisis, or creating order from total CHAOS.
I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging on your arm and asking, "Is my mommy o.k.?" Not even being able to look in his eyes without tears falling from your own and not knowing what to say. Or to have held back a long-time friend who watches his buddy having rescue breathing done on him as they take him away in the ambulance. You knowing all along he did not have his seat belt on--sensations that I have become too familiar.
Unless you have lived this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am, what we are, or what our job really means to us.
I wish you could...
I WANT TO TELL YOU LIES
(c) Kalvere. All rights reserved
I want to tell that little boy his Mom will be just fine
I want to tell that dad we got his daughter out in time
I want to tell that wife her husband will be home tonight
I don't want to tell it like it is, I want to tell them lies
You didn't put their seat belts on, you feel you killed your kids
I want to say you didn't ... but in a way, you did
You pound your fists into my chest, you're hurting so inside
I want to say you'll be OK, I want to tell you lies
You left chemicals within his reach and now it's in his eyes
I want to say your son will see, not tell you he'll be blind
You ask me if he'll be OK, with pleading in your eyes
I want to say that yes he will, I want to tell you lies
I can see you're crying as your life goes up in smoke
If you'd maintained that smoke alarm, your children may have woke
Don't grab my arm and ask me if your family is alive
Don't make me tell you they're all dead, I want to tell you lies
I want to say she'll be OK, you didn't take her life
I hear you say you love her and you'd never hurt your wife
You thought you didn't drink too much, you thought that you could drive
I don't want to say how wrong you were, I want to tell you lies
You only left her for a moment, it happens all the time
How could she have fell from there? You thought she couldn't climb
I want to say her neck's not broke, that she will be just fine
I don't want to say she's paralyzed, I want to tell you lies
I want to tell this teen his buddies didn't die in vain
Because he thought that it'd be cool to try to beat that train
I don't want to tell him this will haunt him all his life
I want to say that he'll forget, I want to tell him lies
You left the cabinet open and your daughter found the gun
Now you want me to undo the damage that's been done
You tell me she's your only child, you say she's only five
I don't want to say she wont see six, I want to tell you lies
He fell into the pool when you just went to grab the phone
It was only for a second that you left him there alone
If you let the damn phone ring perhaps your boy would be alive
But I don't want to tell you that, I want to tell you lies
The fact that you were speeding caused that car to overturn
And we couldn't get them out of there before the whole thing burned
Did they suffer? Yes, they suffered, as they slowly burned alive
But I don't want to say those words, I want to tell you lies
But I have to tell it like it is, until my shift is through
And then the real lies begin, when I come home to you,
You ask me how my day was, and I say it was just fine
I hope you understand, sometimes, I have to tell you lies
~ Kal The Rebel ~
Dedicated to all the Police Officers, Firefighters, EMTs, Paramedics,
Emergency Flight Crews and all civil servants who deal with the tragedies of
life and death. The saddest of all, being those that involve children, and
could have been prevented. Wear your seat belts... Keep poisons, flammables,
fireworks, etc. out of reach of children...Keep your smoke alarm in operating
order, if you don't have one, get one...never, ever drive if you've been
drinking ... never leave your toddler unattended...teens, be responsible
drivers, obey all traffic lights, posted limits, warnings and signals at
RR crossings ... keep your guns locked out of reach, buy a trigger guard....
Protect our children, they are our future... Am I preaching? Am I nagging?
I guess I am just telling it like it is.... Or I could just tell you lies.
(c) 1998 Copyrighted to Kalvere. Please do not reproduce without author's
permission. Kalvere is from Minnesota, and would welcome any comments at
the following email address: Kal The Rebel @ aol.com
Used with permission.
If you see this poem anywhere without the author's name
and copyright information, it is being used without the author's knowledge or
The Creation Of The Firefighter
When the Lord was creating Firefighters, he was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."
And the Lord said, "Have you read the specification on this person?
Firefighters have to be able to go for hours fighting fires or tending to a person that the usual every day person would never touch, while putting in the back of their mind the circumstances. They have to be able to move at a second's notice and not think twice of what they are about to do, no matter what danger. They have to be in top physical condition at all times, running on half-eaten meals, and they must have six pairs of hands."
The angel shook her head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands...no way."
"It's not the hands that are causing me problems, " said the Lord, "it's the three pairs of eyes a Firefighter has to have."
"That's on the standard model? " Asked the angel.
The Lord nodded. " One pair that sees through the fire and where they and their fellow Firefighters should fight the fire next. Another pair here in the side of the head to see their fellow Firefighters and keep them safe. And another pair of eyes in the front so that they can look for the victims caught in the fire that need their help."
"Lord" said the angel, touching his sleeve, " Rest and work on this tomorrow."
"I can't, said the Lord, "I already have a model that can carry a 250 pound man down a flight of stairs and to safety from a burning building, and can feed a family of five on a civil service paycheck."
The angel circled the model of the Firefighter very slowly, "Can it think?"
"You bet," said the Lord. "It can tell you the elements of a hundred fires; and can recite procedures in their sleep that are needed to care for a person until they reach the hospital. And all the while they have to keep their wits about themselves. This Firefighter also has phenomenal personal control. They can deal with a scene full of pain and hurt, coaxing a child's mother into letting go of the child so that they can care for the child in need. And still they rarely get the recognition for a job well done from anybody, other than from fellow Firefighters."
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the Firefighter. "There's a leak", she pronounced. "Lord, it's a tear."
"What's the tear for?" asked the angel.
"It's a tear from bottled-up emotions for fallen comrades. A tear for commitment to that funny piece of cloth called the American Flag. It's a tear for all the pain and suffering they have encountered. And it's a tear for their commitment to caring for and saving lives of their fellow man!"
"What a wonderful feature Lord, you're a genius" said the angel.
The Lord looked somber and said "I didn't put it there."