A Salute to First Responders

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar invites guests to attend the 2019 MCAS Miramar Air Show from Sept. 27 through Sept. 29, as we give a Salute to first responders. (U.S. Marine Corps video by Cpl. Preston Hightower)

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Nobody knows why firemen are firemen. Not even they can tell you why. But it is time somebody tried. Fire fighting is the most risky of all dead end jobs. Yet also the one where most workers are most likely to punch in early. Any day at the firehouse the bell from hell puts the dispatcher on the horn with a tenement tinderbox address into bunker pants, rubber turn out coats, grab the mask and go. Minutes later you’re on site as others run out, you go in. You’ll need all you can carry. The four pound ax, the six foot hook, the Halligan pry bar. Search, rescue, ventilate. Eventually it’s over and out. You’re smoke-smudged and sleepless and rung out. But this one you won. Behind the graffiti-fouled walls you’ve saved what you could. But the raging blaze, that wanted to consume adjacent buildings, did not. And it did not, because you were there. Wanting to go and fight a fire it’s something that you want to do. And that sounds crazy to people. But it’s what we’ve trained for. It’s like Marines, to me I relate it to Marines. Where they want to do what they’re trained for. That’s why they sign up. They wanna protect the nation. We want to protect the citizens and their property and their families. A firefighter to me, is just being a man for others. And just sacrificing being at home for being at work for 48 hours and being there to help people that are in need. People call 911 ’cause they need your assistance and we’re expected to show up and perform to the top of our abilities.

It’s a quiet voice from nowhere saying, “We’re salvaging things and people from flames.” I have to rely on your hands.

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