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Firefighters deserve some recognition, too

With all due respect, I think our military service members are stealing too much of the limelight from other heroes who seem to be overlooked. With all the observance days for the military, I think our local heroes deserve to have some recognition as well.

We hear of those who died serving our country to protect the very freedom for me to write this, yet firefighters hardly get recognized to comparable extent. Our hearts drop and we tear up when veterans come home to their community, but hardly the same happens for firefighters. Nothing past the sigh of relief when we return safely, rather than the dreadful sight of the chief’s vehicle pulling up. Responses are generally only attained when one of us valiantly dies in the line of duty.

Military members see national recognition for Pearl Harbor Remembrance, Memorial, Veterans and Armed Forces days, but when was the last time anyone recognized the day for firefighters? Does anyone even know the actual observance date for it, or the tragedy that brought it about?

I am a 30-year-old volunteer firefighter and a former Army soldier. I receive more recognition for serving my country than for trying to save lives or extinguish fires. We’re hidden soldiers fighting wars with structural fires, and attempting on a daily basis to ensure life over death with limitless medical emergencies.

In the last decade alone – and the year is still far from finished – more than 1,000 firefighters have died in the line of duty. Bear that in mind for International Firefighters Day on May 4. Remember to recognize local firefighters, because they are the unsung, everyday heroes living amongst us, silently forgotten until the unthinkable happens.

Justin Alley

Clarence Center