Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Crazy Brave

According to William Langewiesche writing American Ground: Unbuilding World Trade Center the New York firefighters who ascended World Trade Center on 9/11 honestly believed they could put out the fire.

Firefighters. I've spent thirty-five years watching them in action, marveling at their bravery and thanking my lucky stars that I chose law enforcement. They are, as a group, free-spirited, gregarious, and professional. The men and women who wear the bunkers do crazy stuff (cutting holes in the roof of a burning house - seriously?!) in the service of others.

Two Boston firefighters were killed today at a blaze not far from Northeastern University - my alma mater....

bostoninternal1771.jpgWinter, 1973. Over a period of weeks an arsonist had started several small fires in our dorm. One especially cold night we stood shivering along the walkways as Boston firefighters fought the latest insane, shitty act of stupidity. Several pieces of equipment idled along Huntington Ave and Forsyth Street, choking diesel fumes adding to the distinctive plastic/wood/fabric smell of a structure fire. Several firefighters emerged, one holding his arm tightly. Blood dripped from between his fingers - his coat torn, arm filleted.

One of the students pointed at the Boston firefighter and laughed.

The injured firefighter broke from the ranks and threw a short punch. The student dropped into a snowbank, motionless momentarily before gaining a semblance of consciousness. The firefighter's buddies hustled him to a rig and roared off into the night. I turned to my roommate.

"Fuck. If the firefighters are that tough, what must the Boston cops be like?"

Of course, we have our rivalries. We often kid the "hose draggers" about their schedules - work a day, get two off. Work two, get three off. Work three, get a month off. "So, did you put the Playstation on pause before you left?"

"Send West Metro" uttered into a portable brings a host of well-trained professionals to whatever big or small disaster has occurred. They keep coming, too, until the problem is solved. We are blessed to work beside them.

Two of Boston's Bravest died today. From Fox:

The firefighters were identified as Lt. Edward J. Walsh, a 43-year-old father of three who had almost a decade of experience, and firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, a 33-year-old Marine Corps combat veteran who had been a firefighter for more than six years.

They were Boston tough. Thank you for your service.

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