Categories
Duty, Honor, Sacrifice

One more

My feed is full of 9-11 posts, as I am sure that yours is. The one I read that haunted me the most is this one from Legal Insurrection. That post includes a link to a video. The one thing that haunts me to this day is the sound of hunndreds of PASS alarms sounding at ground zero. A PASS device as an alarm worn be every firefighter that alerts those nearby that a firefighter has been motionless for 30 seconds. We jokingly refer to it as the “lazy man” alarm.

Listening to this as I read his post gives me chills while putting tears in my eyes. I weep for the number of Americans that will soon die in the war that we don’t want, but the left seems to be begging for.

Categories
Duty, Honor, Sacrifice Glory Days The Collapse

Ghosts of the past, present, and future

Exactly twenty years ago. I still remember that morning in more detail than all but of a few of the mornings that have come since. The sky was a beautiful blue, the sun was warm, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. A typical Central Florida day. My shift, C shift, had just started our 24 hour workday.

I was driving Engine 2 that morning. Dennis was riding in the seat next to me as the Lieutenant, and Justin was the back seat firefighter. Our shift had begun at 7:30 that morning as it always did. We did our morning routine as we always do. At 8:30, we left the station to do annual flow testing of fire hydrants.

By 8:45, we were behind the Winn Dixie and just about to test our first hydrant. Our Battalion Chief called us and told us to return to the station and turn on the TV. I remember jokingly asking Dennis who the guy on the radio was and what they had done to the Chief, since he would never tell us to watch TV during the day.

We arrived back in the station just in time to see the second plane hit the south tower. I remember watching Fox news and seeing them switch to the DC bureau, where reporters said they could see a column of smoke. Things were happening so fast, I couldn’t figure out what that smoke was coming from. It was then that a fellow firefighter told me that the Pentagon had been hit.

The chief called us, and when I was on the phone with him, the first tower fell. The chief said to me, “Oh my God. 30,000 people just died.” I remember being stunned that so many people could be in a building.

By noon, we had an armed SWAT officer with an MP-5 riding along with us on all of our calls “for security.”

For weeks, we firefighters were stunned at the loss of 343 firefighters. I felt a sense of awe that the guys who went into that second tower after watching the first one fall went into that building, in awe of the guys who were in the second tower when that first one fell, all the while knowing that they would never come out of the second tower. What was going through their minds? I asked myself if I could make the same choice, if I *knew* that I would not come out?

We all wanted to be able to say yes. It isn’t the same thing when you go into an ordinary fire. Firefighters are a cocky, professional bunch. When we run into a burning building, we tell ourselves that we are trained and experienced enough that it will not happen to us. Not so those guys in the towers. They went in KNOWING that they wouldn’t come out. That is a time that you don’t know what you would do until the moment of truth comes.

I just hoped that I would have the fortitude to make the choice that needed to be made, to have the courage to choose duty and honor over self preservation, and the fortune to never be placed in that position. I hoped that I would never have to make that choice.

I spent the majority of my adult life in one uniform or another, dedicated to the protection of American lives and values. I spent six years in the Navy, doing two combat tours in the Persian gulf. I wasn’t a big hero or anything. I, like millions of others did my job. After that, I spent two decades in a firefighter’s uniform. I that time, I ran into hundreds of burning buildings, jumped into a dozen lakes, thousands of medical scenes, and 22 natural disasters. I was injured three times in the line of duty. I saw a couple of thousand dead bodies, dozens of shootings and stabbings, and saved more than a few lives.

In 2011, I retired. I had seen enough death, misery, and blood for one lifetime. I thought that the time of risking life and limb for the good of this nation and its people was over. I had given enough. I deserved to be left alone to grow old and enjoy the rest of my life in as much peace as I could manage.

All I want is to be left alone to grow old in peace. The events of the past 18 months make me believe that this won’t happen. I fear that I may have to make that choice after all.

Categories
Duty, Honor, Sacrifice Guns

Patience

Skeptic comments on my last post:

Oh, spare me all the guns bullshit. Guns are worthless without the will to fire them, and if anything has been proven in the last year it’s that those vaunted gun owners don’t have the will to fire. We already have tyranny and nary a shot has been fired. They will usher the rest of the cattle cars before getting on themselves.

I read the best explanation on what that is, just this morning. It came from a comment to this article, and reads like this:

The most terrifying force of death comes from the hands of ‘Men who wanted to be left Alone.’ They try, so very hard to mind their own business and provide for themselves and those they love. They resist every impulse to fight back, knowing the forced and permanent change of life that will come from it. They know the moment they fight back, the lives as they have lived them, are over. The moment the ‘Men who wanted to be left Alone’ are forced to fight back, it is a small form of suicide. They are literally killing off who they used to be.

Perhaps the Declaration of Independence said it even better:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

Remember that the founders of this nation endured the abuses of the King for decades.

  • 1763: The Grenville Acts (taxation without representation) were passed
  • 1765: The Stamp Act, the Virginia Resolution, and the Quartering Act were all passed.
  • 1766: Parliament rescinds the Stamp Act, but then passes the Declaratory Act, and subsequently disbands the New York Legislature.

and so on. This went on until 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed. It took 14 years of increasing hostilities, ever more despotic action, and escalating violence for the war to start.

The reason it took so long was as stated above: As soon as a revolution begins, the way of life that existed before is over. No matter what happens, all that you knew before is over. People aren’t ready to throw all of that away lightly.

This is where patience and perseverance are important. There is a time to let things play out, and this is it.

Categories
Duty, Honor, Sacrifice

A Liberal I respect

I spend so much digital ink bemoaning the state of the Democrat party on this site, I want to take a post to honor one of the very few liberals that I have respect for- the Late Senator Paul Douglas, who died in September of 1976. He was a man who lived during a time when the Democrats at least were not complete assholes.

Why does he deserve such respect? In the year 1942, he became the oldest man to ever attend boot camp at Parris Island, at the age of 50. Of course, being a politician, he used his connections to rise from the rank of Private to Staff Sergeant within two months of completing basic training. After only seven months, he was promoted to Captain.

Now it would be at this point that most well connected politicians would have found a way to dodge any real combat. Not Douglas. He volunteered to go overseas, and wound up fighting with the First Marine Division. He earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze star for actions in the battle of Peleliu. During that battle, he killed a Japanese soldier in hand to hand combat, and was wounded while attempting to hand carry ammunition to the front line. I can respect that, unlike today’s officers that get a Bronze star for creating compelling power points.

He volunteered to serve as a rifleman in an infantry platoon and was himself wounded by a machine gun while attempting to carry out wounded Marines. After being hit, he proceeded to use his uninjured hand to take off his major’s oak leaves so that he wouldn’t receive special attention. A fellow Marine, Pfc. Paul E. Ison had this to say: “If I live to be 100 years old I will never forget this scene. There, lying on the ground, bleeding from his wound was a white-haired Marine major. He had been hit by a machine gun bullet. Although he was in pain, he was calm and I have never seen such dignity in a man. He was saying ‘Leave me here. Get the young men out first. I have lived my life. Please let them live theirs.”

We as Americans should be proud to have been served by men of honor such as these. Mr. Douglas, I salute you, sir.