Friday, September 11, 2009

Recalling the Heroes Who Risked It All for Their Fellow Citizens

by Michael P. Tremoglie
Tea Time Blog

Police, fire personnel, emergency medical technicians, and the military are often referred to collectively as the "uniformed services." But they share more than just a name. As novelist W.E.B. Griffin writes, they "share a number of unique traits: astonishing courage, loyalty, and camaraderie . . . like no other profession."

Griffin omitted something.

Each day members of the uniform services report on duty knowing there is a possibility that they may not report off.

They do it anyway.

Statistically, there are some occupations which are more dangerous such as a convenience store clerk or cab driver or bartender. The difference is that uniformed personnel place themselves at risk willingly - knowingly.

They are never called when all is well. They are called only to protect the lives of their fellow citizens. They know that in the process their own lives may be in jeopardy.

They do it anyway.

They do it because that is who and what they are.

When members of the uniformed services entered the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, they did so not because they were trained to do so. They did so because of their character. They knew the risks. They did so knowing the possible consequences. They'd done it before.

They did it anyway.

They knew what they were getting into when they arrived at the World Trade Center. They got there quickly and went to work to help those trapped inside the buildings.

Wharton Business School graduates were rescued by those who could not afford to attend such a distinguished Ivy League institution. There were rescuers on the 82d floor when the building collapsed - a place the rescuers ordinarily might not be permitted to be because of their societal status.

They went anyway.

They knew what was happening. They did not have to do it. They could have said, "Oops, sorry; just can't get there." They would still have kept their jobs. Nobody would have condemned them.

They did it anyway.

Fire personnel who were caught in the explosion, like the New York City Fire Department's John Morabito, who survived the explosion of the second tower - was still on the job, rescuing people, many days afterward.

Morabito already risked himself once. But he continued to do it anyway.

I once rescued three people - and a dog - from a burning two-story building. I could not even conceive of what it would be like to be in a burning skyscraper. No training - no school or academy - can prepare you for something like that.

The uniformed personnel who ventured into danger in lower Manhattan and the Pentagon did not ask for gratitude. Neither do those who are - at this very minute - placing themselves in harm's way in Afghanistan and Iraq and places that we will never know about. They will not ask for plaudits.

They do it anyway.

When you recall the reports of what the uniformed personnel did on 9-11, remember there was nothing in their job description that mandated they risk their lives. Certainly, they knew the hazards - but nothing required them to sacrifice their lives for those of others or for any benefit, monetary or otherwise, that would accrue. There were no bonuses for lives saved.

They did it anyway.

The next time you read or hear a news story criticizing uniformed personnel - from the liberal mainstream media; from the leftwing intelligentsia; from the Code Pink protesters; from the wealthy liberal elitists - remember that, despite the risks, despite the costs, despite the difficulties, despite the criticism from the chattering classes:

They do it anyway.

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