Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
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Today I've thought a lot about my friend and all the firefighters I've known. I have 2 cousins that are firefighters in Indianapolis. A very good friend of mine recently became a firefighter in South Dakota. My own brother is an aspiring firefighter. And while I was thinking about these guys something occurred to me that changed my feelings entirely. Society often elevates to immortal hero status those around us that do good and make us feel better. We also like to demonize the wrong doers and make them somehow less than human. It just makes it easier to love our heroes and hate our enemies. But the truth is that in both cases, hero or villain, they are just human, like you and I. They feel pain, happiness, loss, love, irritation, and elation. They have families with problems and skeletons in the closet, husbands and wives, children and dogs named Skippy. And precisely because they are so human, firefighters deserve our respect and admiration. Even though they stand to lose their families, feel immense pain, see unspeakable atrocities, and generally get involved with all the major turmoil the rest of humanity throws at each other, they choose to be there. They choose to be true first responders and run into buildings that have danger screaming from every wall. When the world makes no sense and chaos reigns they are there to start putting things right once more.
Nine years ago today, men flew passenger planes into The World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. These were men, human to the bone, performing an unbelievable act of terror. I will forever remember that day and so many of the details surrounding my setting. Where I was when I first heard and how I sat huddle next to a radio for most of the day. We all can tell similar tales. And we were glued to it because this was raw humanity at both it's darkest and finest hour. Those that chose to kill that day are not who I'm thinking about tonight. I'm thinking of those men and women that knew they were going to die and still chose to run into those places of absolute and unrelenting horror in the hopes that they could save 1 life. They were human, they were very mortal, they were heroes, and they still walk among us. And though 9/11 left a mark on my soul, I'm filled with faith and love of my fellow man knowing there are people like that out there, and I'm blessed enough to call several my friends.
This picture does not encompass what I'm feeling. I had hoped to try something a bit more profound and impactful. In the end, the simple image of a fire engine at night with lights blazing seems to reassure me that if I'm ever in need, they will be there for me, whatever time of day and no matter how dangerous. The same people that ran into The World Trade Center will come for me in my time of need. And that is humanity shining like a beacon.
I'll wrap it up by saying my friend that I mentioned initially is suffering tonight. Friday evening his father passed away after a lengthy struggle with cancer. It was a long hard battle and the family is emotionally drained. Please say some prayers and leave some words for him. He reads us everyday and it would mean a lot to hear some words of encouragement. After all, though he's a firefighter and a hero, he is very human, just like you and I.