The following letter was writen by my wife in response to an article she read in the Washington Post shortly after 9/11. She sent it to the article's author. Unfortunately, the article in question is no longer on-line, but I think you will get the gist of it. I had posted this letter once in the general forums but at that time the post topics were coming so fast, not many people saw it before it disapeared, and this WTC forum didn't exist yet, so I hope you don't mind a duplicate post.
I Am Not Surprised
I have been listening to the stories told about the heroism of the FDNY over the past several days. Reporters have extolled these brave men with ďroasted appendagesĒ and ďsmoking hats.Ē They speak of how people who used to snub these men are now cheering them when they walk by. America has discovered a real life hero.
While all this is true, I submit to you that these men in New York are merely the best example of what has happened quietly in small towns and firehouses across this nation since the first career fire department started in Cincinnati in the 1800ís. Firemen are a special breed, and have been since it first occurred to man to try and stop a fireís destruction. Every town has a firehouse, and every firehouse is full of heroes. Sit quietly in their kitchens and listen to the stories they tell; watch them interact and you will discover the truth in this.
Firemen are dedicated to family, First and foremost is a firemanís personal family. He places himself as personal guardian of those he loves, often working two jobs to ensure that they are provided for to the best of his ability. However, once he knows his family is taken care of, his attentions shift. Now he needs to take care of those around him. With him it isnít a desire, it is a need. He feels a sense of civic duty that most people are blissfully ignorant of. At times he can seem cold to his family, if they donít understand what he is doing. I know this because I have married one of these men. He is old fashioned, a man in the truest sense of the word.
All firemen are brothers. Since they are dedicated to family that means that they are also dedicated to each other. I watched while one brother came to the firehouse and sat in a chair with his head down. Then he looked up at those sitting in that room and told them that his wife was leaving him. Within minutes phone calls had been placed and the brothers started appearing. They took him out and let him drink until he couldnít think anymore and then took care of him. They knew what he, at that moment needed to be able to do. Later, when he was more able to think, they talked. I have also watched them rally around the family of a fallen brother. They stepped in and became fathers to the fatherless children. They dug deep into their own pockets to support the widow. They cried at their brotherís funeral. And finally, I have had the honor of watching them rally around me. A few years ago, my son died after only living for a few hours. One memory I have from the blur of pain that was that time is the firemen. They did a walk through at my sonís funeral. I remember, one by one, in dress uniform, with hat in hand, they came to me with hugs and words of comfort. Afterwards, they stood back, in a line, while the minister read his words. They were honoring my husband for what he is and my son for what he might have been. They have become my truest and most trusted friends.
I know that what happened in New York is tragic beyond all description. My heart is breaking even though I have never met even one of these brave men. I donít have to. I was not surprised when I heard how many were missing. In the back of my mind, I have known all along that something like this was bound to happen. How could it not. Firemen everywhere are running forward buttoning up their coats and pulling on their boots while the rest of the world is running away. They donít know the people they are running forward to save. The property they are risking their life to protect is not theirs. In many cases, they arenít even getting paid. Each time I see a truck pull away from the station or scream down the street, tears come to my eyes and I whisper a prayer for those brave men inside. They are, to a man, beautiful. They are the true Americans, and always have been.
These brave men are not digging through the rubble and destruction at the World Trade Center to get national attention, though that is an effect of what they are doing. They are men with broken hearts and numbed minds scratching at the earth trying to find their brothers. Of course they arenít giving up. Anyone who understands firemen knows that they wonít until the last brother is accounted for and returned to his family. They canít. If I were to meet one on the street, I wouldnít cheer. I would do what I have always done Ė offer him a cold cup of water, a hug and my love. I would give him whatever he needs to be able to return to ground zero and keep digging. His name doesnít matter. His battalion doesnít matter. He is a brother. That is all that matters.
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Thread: A letter
06-10-2002, 11:23 PM #1
A letter"What makes a person run into a building others are running out of?...Character."- Dennis Smith
06-10-2002, 11:53 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jan 1999
Thank you for sharing.......give your wife a kiss.
06-11-2002, 12:06 AM #3
- Join Date
- May 2002
- Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
What an incredibly moving letter. It touched my heart! There are no words I could say to your wife that would do justice to her letter, but I hope she will accept a hug from a stranger (((Mrs. E5))) Thank you for sharing it E5September 11th - Never Forget
I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.
IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
RAY WAS HERE FIRST
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