Fire Prevention Week Oct. 6-12
Next week is Fire Prevention Week and everyone is encouraged to learn more about, and practice, fire safety. All residents are urged to visit their local firehouses during their annual open house activities and show their support for them.
This week’s editorial is dedicated to the volunteer firefighters who so proudly and diligently serve our communities.
A poem written by Lt. Robert Higgins of the Fire Department of New York more than a decade ago captures the essence of all firefighters. It is titled “The Call of the Guardian.” The words are powerful for those who choose to serve their community in this manner:
I rise as a guardian of the night and see the light of the fire.
I race through the streets of the sleeping city toward a beckoning fervent beast waiting In Malevolent flames.
I arrive and my heart is seized by the swiftness of the fury and the anguish.
The fire breaches the darkness with a light both savage and sublime, as fiery fingers reach and scratch at the blackening sky.
I push out the borders of fear away with the voices of doubt.
With ladder and line and a fervid heart with purpose and push, I force myself into a voracious red wind.
I dive forward into darkness beneath the erupting ash and give myself to the infinite void – into halls black with death and red with rage.
I reach with a desperate hand across the narrowing divide between the dying and the dead and take from there what that red beast can never claim.
I carry my fallen brethren into the awaiting arms of Hope.
I lay the lifeless ones down – surrendering them to God and wonder of His Way.
I stand upon the smoldering remnants of evil’s effort both victor and vanquished, as the soot and the steam rise around me like the vestiges of a breath long expelled.
I am weary of body and never far from death but life is my calling and I hearken to its voice everywhere, never to leave unheard the cries of the daunted and the desperate.
I stand steely tall along the sad blue line as those who gave with greater love pass highly by, below the echoes of melancholy strains.
I return through the haze of a city dawn and ride through the days.
And tomorrow I will stand this watch, ever aware, ever vigilant waiting for a distant toll to call me.
O, I ride as a guardian of the night, toward the far away glow of my destiny, dauntless, duty bound, endeavoring to a life fully-lived within the grasp of mortality.
And when my watch is over; when my tour is ended and I am finally called home to the embrace of my gentle guardian, I will ride again.
Racing through the heavens, oh so swiftly for I will ride there in glory with angels escort aboard a screaming red chariot of honor.
To all of our area’s firefighters – Thank you!