When I heard of the tragic news on September 11 my heart broke. I have always had a special place in my heart for the FDNY. When I was 13 years old I read Dennis Smith's book, "Report from Engine Co. 82". I wanted to be a firefighter in New York City. My path in life did not take me there but I did become a firefighter with the Delaware Township Volunteer Fire Department, Lansing, Kansas, in 1979. I am now a Lieutenant with that department. In 1985, I became a member of the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department, at the military base Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Watching all of the news casts during the first few days I saw one clip that made me really think. A reporter was talking to a FDNY firefighter and he had said, "This is the greatest job there is" She asked, "Even after today?" He paused lowered his head then looked her straight in the eye and said, "I mean that more than ever today." It brought a tear to my eyes. I too felt what he was feeling. My department in Lansing has a tradition of putting all of our trucks in the homecoming parade every year. It is always lots of fun and this year was made even more special. At one point along the route a woman held up a bumper sticker saying, "I love Firefighters!" That made me proud to carry the axe and I thought back to that firefighter from New York. We ourselves sometimes do not realize how much people appriciate what we do and what we mean to them. We just enjoy doing what we do and say it is just our job. At Fort Leavenworth we were in a class when we heard that the Towers fell. The lessons had come to a stop since being at an Army base we were told to sit tight and await orders. I was sitting at a table and I guess I was looking different or something and someone asked me what was wrong. I looked at them and said, "We lost many brothers today", that's all I said. The news of the loss of firefighters had not even come out but I knew what had happened. My heart is broken but not my spirit. I will continue to answer the alarm even with heavy heart. My Assistant Chief at Fort Leavenworth, Mike Kuk, says we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. I pray to the Eternal Chief that I may have the courage to continue the tradition that those brave and noble warriors have set on that tragic day and many, far to many, other days. My brothers and sisters of the FDNY are in my prayers, so that they too will have the strength and courage to continue to carry the axe. I have never been more proud to call my self a FIREFIGHTER.