March 26, 2004
I'm a member of
the Board of Directors for North Columbia Fire and Rescue,
Inc. We provide fire service for three districts in Columbia
County: Leah, Appling, and Winfield. My husband, John, is
a firefighter with Winfield. All of our guys are volunteers,
which means none of them get paid anything for putting their
lives on the line.
Last night, around
midnight, Leah got toned out for a structure fire. Sheriff's
deputies were on the scene and could see flames and smoke.
John and I listened to the radio traffic while we waited to
see if Leah would need any assistance from Winfield.
this is Leah Five. I'm on the scene. Be advised, it is a fully
involved structure fire.
sank. Fully involved? This wasn't going to turn out to be
some piddling chimney fire, then, like the previous call.
were residents still inside. Someone was going to have to
go into that
inferno to look for them. And sure enough:
this is Leah Five. I have two patients inside. I'm going in.
Dear God in
Heaven. Watch over him and protect him, keep him safe from
the heat and smoke inhalation, help him find those people
and GET OUT. Amen.
John didn't wait
to hear if Leah needed help. He headed for the fire station
so he'd be ready to roll the minute they called. I sat and
worried for the next few hours, wondering if my husband was
at the fire, praying the Leah firefighters were okay, praying
for the victims.
Saturday saw a
"Global Day of Action" rally in San Francisco. Someone
posted pictures. One of the signs carried by a protestor
said, "I [Heart] NY even more without the World Trade
2,819 people were
killed in those attacks. 1,609 people lost a spouse or a partner.
Over 3000 children lost a parent. 343 firefighters and paramedics
The fires continued
to burn for 99 days after the attack.
Go ahead and rejoice
in death and destruction. Mock the sacrifice of those who
stand between you and evil. Laugh at George Bush's "cowboy
mentality," and sniff at American simplisme. It won't
save you from Al Qaeda. Or Hamas. Or Hezbollah. Or Islamic
Jihad, or whatever other faction out there strikes next.
When the time comes,
sharing their hatred of all things American won't protect
you. Your only hope will be one of my husband's brothers or
sisters. And even though you've shown them nothing but disdain,
offered them nothing but insults, they won't hesitate.
this is one of the good guys. I have patients inside. I'm
2004 Tocqevillian Magazine