First, I again wish to thank everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance.
July 4th as a holiday means different things to different people. For some of us it involves playing the game “was it fireworks or gunshots” when we receive a call from our citizens. For others it may involve putting out fires for inexperienced grillers. And others it is “Do I have to work 8, 12, or 16 hours that day?”
All kidding aside, we celebrate freedom in different ways. Freedom is an ideal that is different as we are. For some of us, we think of celebrations, others think of military, sacrifices, or even relatives that have died while defending the ideal of freedom.
But even though it means different things to each of us, what we can agree on is that freedom comes with a big price tag, and it continues to mount. The most recent numbers I’ve seen have an estimated count of military combat deaths between 666,441 and 1,354,664 people. While that is an astounding number, think of the additional public safety personnel we have identified. There are over 4492 firefighters (Since 1980, still working on pre-1980 numbers) and 23,767 police officers, and we identify more historic sacrifices every day. That doesn’t even factor in the thousands of veterans who have served and not died, as well as officers, medics and firefighters that have served in the US. Freedom may be free, but it certainly is not cheap. We honor them as we hold them in our thoughts during parades and memorials. And we honor their sacrifice as we live our daily lives, trying to make the world a better place and a safer place.
But for you, I’d like to give you some encouragement. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day part of our jobs. Sometimes dealing with the same people. Political fights in and out of our departments, and sometimes doing what we can to stay afloat. Trust me, I get it. But just because your situation may seem low on meaning, it doesn’t mean that your position is.
You are part of a significant group of people. The function of keeping us safe and secure as we live our lives (either from fighting the fires, saving lives, fighting through the “golden hour” or apprehending those who intend to do us harm) is critical for the people you serve. So I want to thank each of you out there keeping us safe, secure, and protected every day. I don’t think that you get near the amount of gratitude that you deserve, but never forget that you are appreciated. Never forget that you are looked up to by countless people. Never forget that every time you put on that uniform, you are making a difference.
So this fourth (or whenever you can celebrate if you are working that day), take some time and celebrate and enjoy your freedom. Spend time with family and friends. Take time to remember a partner that is no longer here. Eat somewhere besides fast food or 2 day old cold lunches. Remember a citizen or two that you made a difference for. Do a good deed for someone. Go somewhere and get a pat on the back. These are some of the things that make us human.
Most of all, don’t give up, don’t surrender, DO NOT QUIT. My email and number is below and if you need to share something that you don’t feel you can tell anyone, I’ll get back with you, and everything is held in the strictest confidence.
I’ve said it before and will say it until I take my last breath; you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough. Thank you for all that you do. I wish a happy Fourth of July to each and every one of you.