Giving One's Life Can Take Many Forms

This has been a difficult week for many of us in the fire and emergency service world. As we marked the third anniversary of the outrageous, murderous, terrorist attack against our country on September 11, 2001, many of us paused to ponder the true meaning of that event. Please note that some of this week's commentary is based upon remarks I made at a fire department formal dinner in Spring Township, near Reading, Pennsylvania.

Why is it that so many people in America seem to have forgotten what really happened on that day? How can it be that people who saw what I saw on television can even begin to think of wavering in their resolve to crush those who would destroy our society? I marvel at the hubris of the people who would have us crawl at the feet of those who would do away with us all.

Juxtaposed against that tragic tapestry woven upon the grand scale is the loss of a personal friend, James O. Page. A great deal has been written about the untimely death of Jim Page last week. He has been called a trend-setter, an icon, and a legend. I agree with each of these assessments. It is my privilege to append the word friend to that list.

Early on in his life Jim came to the conclusion that he had a mission in life. He then went on to make it his life's work to carry out that mission. Over the past five decades, he devoted his life to making a difference, and oh what a difference he made. He has had a tremendous impact upon our field of endeavor.

Right about now you might be asking a simple question. How is it possible that I can tie the loss of one man with the loss of those hundreds of fire, police, and EMS people on September 11, 2004? It is really quite simple, if you pause to ponder it. In each case someone gave their life for their profession. The difference lies in the subtle nuances of the English language.

One of my favorite Bible verses comes from the 15th chapter of the Book of John. In verse 13, John tells us that, "