This is not a normal week. My thoughts are not fully focused on the fire service right now. Brave men and women are going in harms way, in defense of our freedoms. As I pound the keys on my computer, I can hear the television blaring out its reports on the war in Iraq.
I am sure that by the time my words reach your computer screen, we will have a clearer picture of how the campaign to oust Saddam Hussein is progressing. The government appears to be giving the media folks a ride to the front. They are reporting from the midst of the battle. I guess the Gulf War taught the dear old U.S. Government a lesson about keeping the media in the dark.
Word has just come in that a deadly poison has been found in a French train station. Go figure. I guess maybe there really are bad people in the world. In the next minute, word reached us that our U.S. Marines have crossed into Iraq. It is now real. Now I hear that a Marine helicopter has crashed with numerous fatalities. The reality is simple. We are at war. Tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles are racing across vast stretches of desolate desert. We are at war.
My wife and several friends were due to make a trip to New York City on Sunday. Up until the moment they left, they were up in the air as to whether they should travel to the Big Apple. I urged her to go. If you hide out in your home, then I guess you could say that the terrorists have won.
A friend from Iowa flew into New York this weekend for a wedding. She asked my advice as to whether to cancel her trip to a long-awaited family event. I gave her the same advice as my own wife. We are all going to die someday, that is the truest fact of life. Living in fear is not really living. That is as true as statement as you will ever hear.
How long would any of us remain in the fire service if we lived in fear of the awesome tasks we take upon ourselves? We acknowledge the risks and soldier on. Firefighting has been termed "