With the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial weekend upon us, we all will take a moment to reflect on those that have been lost, not just this past year, but in years and decades past. Although some may never have been directly impacted by a Line of Duty Death, we all feel for the families, friends and fellow firefighters who have lost Brothers and Sisters.
Many of us will lower our flags, others will hold ceremonies and events, and some will be in front of their computers watching the live feeds on the internet to watch the event. Unfortunately, some will go about their everyday business and not think twice about what this weekend means. Those folks are just “employees” and are not engaged in the fire service.
Even for those of us that understand the significance of the upcoming weekend, do we really make it mean something? Do we do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen to us, our fellow Brothers and Sisters and our families? The answer is probably not.
As we mourn those we have lost and pray for them and their families, we must take inventory of ourselves. We must recommit this weekend to train more, train harder, stand up to the “slugs” of the fire service. We must wear our seat belts every time we get on our apparatus and demand that the rest of the crew do the same.
We must do a 360 on working fires. We must check our equipment every day and ensure that it is all in good working order. We must mentor, coach and encourage our younger generation of firefighter and instill in them the traditions, pride, honor and “right” way of doing things.
With all the things that we must do, we must recommit to taking care of ourselves. We must get shape and eat healthier. We owe it to our citizens, our Brothers and Sisters, our families and to ourselves to be the best we can be every time we answer the call. In addition, if the leadership in your organization isn’t taking the lead on these issues, become that leader. Make a difference and stay engaged. It’s contagious and you will inspire someone.
So, tell us, what have you been doing to honor their sacrifices? What lessons have you learned and passed on to honor their sacrifices? How have ensured that we “never forget” and honor those who have fallen?
We must stay engaged in our Profession as you stated so well Jason! The Mutts seem to think they are winning, I for one don't feel that way at all. Fight the good Fight every tour. Work hard to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, every tour, every alarm, and every minute of the day. Compacency is letting the fallen be forgotten, not on my watch, never on my watch!
-As a member of the department Honor Guard and the department bagpiper, many would assume that my performing in this capacity is how I choose to honor the fallen; playing the pipes, attending funerals etc.
-Nothing is further from the truth. To my mind these services are the very least I can do and are honors OWED to these Brothers. This is the debt we must pay to them.
-I choose to honor their sacrifice by learning all I can about the worst and last days of the lives of the fallen. What went wrong, what went right? What must be avoided and what can be learned and passed on.
-Lastly, the best tribute to the fallen is teaching and mentoring the new firefighters amongst us. Teach them well and they will not depart from the lessons. Teach them continually and they will be safe. Teach them always and they will never join the ranks of ghosts of the fallen that haunt our dreams. Teach them even when they don't want to be taught.
-And remember to be a good example, the new guys are always watching.
-The way we honor our fallen is to teach the new members.
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