HE’S THE GUY NEXT DOOR
He’s a man’s man with the sharp memory of a little boy who never got over
the excitement of engines and sirens and smoke and anger.
He’s a guy like you and me with warts and worries and unfulfilled dreams.
Yet he stands taller than most of us.
He’s a fireman.
He puts it all on the line when the bell rings.
A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men.
He’s a man who savours life because he has seen too much of death.
He’s a gentle man because he has seen to much
of the awesome power of violent forces out of control.
He’s a man responsive to a child’s laughter because
his arms have held too many small bodies that will never laugh again.
He’s a man who appreciates the simple pleasures of life,
hot coffee held in numb, unbending fingers, the flush of fresh air pumping through
smoke and fire convulsing lungs,
a warm bed for bone and muscle beyond feeling,
the comraderie of brave men,
the divine peace of selfless service and a job well done in the name of all men.
He doesn’t wear buttons or wave flags or shout obscenities
and when he marches, it is to honour a fallen comrade.
He doesn’t preach the brotherhood of man.
He lives it.