By Mike Natchipolsky
Heartbreaking, Uplifting, Motivating, & Important…
It’s heartbreaking to see the profound sadness on the faces of the survivors. It’s particularly difficult to see the faces of the children they’ve left behind. But, at the same time it’s uplifting to see the pride they show when their firefighter is honored. It was a beautiful ceremony on a gorgeous day. The show of respect by firefighters from around the nation, who take time out of their lives to venture to this little town each year, is nothing short of inspiring.
To me personally, the ceremony is incredibly motivating. It makes me want to be a better firefighter. While the job truly does have inherent danger, (just look inside your turnouts for that reminder), there are steps we can take to reduce the risk. Keep training, exercise regularly, and train some more. I want to do whatever I can to keep my family from having to experience the loss that these families and co-workers have experienced.
It’s great to see a cadet class in attendance. While they are probably not there voluntarily, and will undoubtedly be assigned a less-than-glorious task, this ceremony should help give them some perspective on why they are training so hard now, and why they should continue those efforts throughout their careers.
Finally, I can think of nothing more important than properly honoring those who have fallen in the line of duty. Phrases like “Never Forget” are easy to say, but sometimes hard to live up to. Coming back here every year is a powerful reminder. While their loved ones can never be replaced, and the void left behind must be devastating, you hope that the efforts of everyone involved in this magnificent ceremony bring some level of comfort to the survivors…and that is important.