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A Proud Moment For The Emergency Services; America
By:  Captain James Benjamin, MS, CSHM, CFEI

As I write this article, many emotions run through my head; anger, sadness, rage, and pride.  It would be easy to write about the negative emotions, such as anger and rage, but this would serve no purpose.  To that end, I have decided to focus on the positive aspects, with the hope it will spread some comfort in this time of need. 

Photo provided by Bryans Road VFD
Never in my professional career, have I been more proud of the Emergency Services (Fire, Police, EMS) than during the recent events that took place on September 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington,  D.C., and Pennsylvania.  Once again, the Emergency Services were called into action to make things better, to aid and comfort those in need, and to help ease a horrible situation.  Like always, this call was answered!  All you had to do was turn on the local news and watch, there we were, on the frontlines. 

When the United States needed help whom did it turn too?  That’s right, the emergency services.    Within minutes of these disasters, fire and emergency personnel from across the country were mobilized and enroute to render assistance to America’s citizens.    Why, for the money and fame?  Please!  Simply put, we responded because people and our country needed help, nothing more and nothing less. 

You called and we came, a fact that everyone associated with the Emergency Services career and volunteer alike should be very proud of. Please don’t misunderstand me, this mobilization was not limited just to the Emergency Services, it also includes the American people as a whole.  Within minutes, blood, food, and clothing drives were established.  Again, all of these individuals united to help out our fellow citizens.  These actions demonstrate America at its finest. 

If this tragedy has done nothing else, it has done this.  It has united us as a country and opened the public’s eyes to the dangers we face as Emergency Service Workers (ESW).  Finally, now after all the years of preaching and PR events the public is beginning to understand that the fire departments do more than just “put the wet stuff on the red stuff,” they are beginning to understand that police officers are around when you need them, and that the paramedic service is much more than just “911 cab.” 

It’s true that our small family will suffer terrible losses due to these events, but this much is certain.  If you were to ask any of the ESWs who have lost their lives if they would answer this call again, the answer would be a resounding “HELL YES.”  These brave individuals believed in their profession and died doing the “job.”  The job they all loved.  As most of you know, ESWs are the job, we live, breath, and eat it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  The job is something that grows and become part of us.  Once a Firefighter…Always a Firefighter! 

Although difficult to see now, the actions of our country both ESW and citizen alike saved countless lives and should make each of us PROUD!  My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all those who lost loved ones during the events of September 11, 2001, may you all find peace.

About the author: Captain James Benjamin is a career Safety Professional for a global chemical company in Cincinnati and a Part-time Captain on the Glendale Fire Department, which is a historic residential community just North of Cincinnati, Ohio. He serves as the contributing editor of the newly developed Safety Section of the With the Command website.