He's the guy next door - a man's man with the memory of a little boy.
He has never gotten over the excitement of engines and sirens and danger.
He's a guy like you and me with warts and worries and unfulfilled dreams.
Yet he stands taller than most of us.
He's a fireman.
He puts it all on the line when the bell rings.
A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men.
He's a man who saves lives because he has seen too much death.
He's a gentle man because he has seen the awesome
power of violence out of control.
He's responsive to a child's laughter because his arms have held
too many small bodies that will never laugh again.
He's a man who appreciates the simple pleasures of life -
hot coffee held in numb, unbending fingers - a warm bed for bone
and muscle compelled beyond feeling - the camaraderie of brave men -
the divine peace and selfless service of a job well done in the name of all men.
He doesn't wear buttons or wave flags or shout obscenities.
When he marches, it is to honor a fallen comrade.
He doesn't preach the brotherhood of man.
He lives it.