With the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial weekend upon us, we all will take a moment to reflect on those that have been lost, not just this past year, but in years and decades past. Although some may never have been directly impacted by a Line of Duty Death, we all feel for the families, friends and fellow firefighters who have lost Brothers and Sisters.
Many of us will lower our flags, others will hold ceremonies and events, and some will be in front of their computers watching the live feeds on the internet to watch the event. Unfortunately, some will go about their everyday business and not think twice about what this weekend means. Those folks are just “employees” and are not engaged in the fire service.
Even for those of us that understand the significance of the upcoming weekend, do we really make it mean something? Do we do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen to us, our fellow Brothers and Sisters and our families? The answer is probably not.
As we mourn those we have lost and pray for them and their families, we must take inventory of ourselves. We must recommit this weekend to train more, train harder, stand up to the “slugs” of the fire service. We must wear our seat belts every time we get on our apparatus and demand that the rest of the crew do the same.
We must do a 360 on working fires. We must check our equipment every day and ensure that it is all in good working order. We must mentor, coach and encourage our younger generation of firefighter and instill in them the traditions, pride, honor and “right” way of doing things.
With all the things that we must do, we must recommit to taking care of ourselves. We must get in shape and eat healthier. We owe it to our citizens, our Brothers and Sisters, our families and to ourselves to be the best we can be every time we answer the call. In addition, if the leadership in your organization isn’t taking the lead on these issues, become that leader. Make a difference and stay engaged. It’s contagious and you will inspire someone.
So, tell us, what have you been doing to honor their sacrifices? What lessons have you learned and passed on to honor their sacrifices? How have you ensured that we “never forget” and honor those who have fallen?