What is a fireman?
He is the guy next door – a man’s man with the memory of a little boy. He has never gotten over the excitement of engines and sirens and danger.
He is a guy like you and me with wants and worries and unfulfilled dreams.
Yet he stands taller than most of us.
He is a fireman.
He puts it all on the line when the bell rings.
A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men.
He is a man who saves lives because he has seen too much death.
He is a gentle man because he has seen the awesome power of violence out of control.
He is responsive to a child’s laughter because his arms have held too many small bodies that will never laugh again.
He is a man who appreciates the simple pleasures of life – hot coffee held in numb, unbending fingers – a warm bed for bone and muscle compelled beyond feeling – the camaraderie of brave men – the divine peace and selfless service of a job well done in the name of all men.
He doesn’t wear buttons or wave flags or shout obscenities.
When he marches, it is to honor a fallen comrade.
He doesn’t preach the brotherhood of man.
He lives it.