09/11/11 – Ten Years Later

Posted: September 11, 2011 in Brian's Scattered Brain

As I struggle to find a proper, meaningful and non-cliche way to remember this day, the final words of Firefighter Tommy Gavin, from the series finale of “Rescue Me” haunt my thoughts…

“You’re staring at the names of 343 heroes; 343 American heroes; 343 men who ran in, while the entire world stood watching and waiting; first responders on the front line of a war that may never end.  I want you to stare at these names, I want you to memorize them.  Go home tonight, get on the internet and look up these names.  Find out who these men were, and what they did on that day, and then you’ll realize that this ain’t a job, it ain’t an occupation.  It’s a calling.  A need.   A desire that you feel in your bones, and your brains, and your nutsack.

I know you assholes have passed the written test, and you passed the physical test, but that don’t mean nothin.  Just a bunch of civil servant bullshit.  Cause the real test of whether you’re a chicken shit or not, will come the day you get to do, what these men behind me did.  Cause if you’re lucky, one day soon, you’ll get to run into a burning building, while everyone else is running out.  And you’ll take the stairs, two at a time, with steel in your eyes and ice water in your veins, and you’ll come back down with a civilian on each shoulder, and instead of pukin, or cryin, or pissin your pants, you’ll wipe your brow, and run right the hell back in.  That’s the day, that’s the moment, you’re gonna find out if you’re a real firefighter, or just one more asshole, who bit off more than he could chew.  Cause maybe, one day, you run in, and the guy you ran in with, your buddy, your best friend, your cousin, your brother, maybe you come out but he don’t.  Cause he got crushed, or incinerated, or burnt to a crisp.  And you’re gonna ask yourself, ‘why did I walk away but not him’?  I’ll tell you one thing, the answer to that question is not at the bottom of a bottle.  You can’t drink or fight or screw your way to figuring out the answer to that question.

People die.  We’re firefighters.  We die a lot.  I lost my buddy, my best friend, my cousin, my brother, some people say it’s God’s will.  I dunno.  I don’t even know if there is a God. I hope there is, cause that would mean that one day all this shit is gonna make some sense.”

– FF Tommy Gavin, “Rescue Me” – Season 7, Episode 9, “Ashes”

Note – For those of you who are unaware, I am an EMT in both NJ (since 2000) and PA (since 2006), as well as an EMT Instructor in PA, currently working as a dispatcher for a private ambulance company.

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