Try as I may I cannot shake the images of Shady Hook Elementary School from my mind. Add to that firefighters being used as target practice and you get one angry man. I don't want to be angry, don't want to feel helpless as the world that I have helped create crumbles around me. I have no desire to watch things continue to spiral out of control, and having chaos rule supreme.
Somewhere in the world there still exists the chance to a normal life, a life of purpose and dignity, in safety, surrounded by people who care about you as much as you do them. Somewhere children still create Fire Prevention Week Posters, and win first prize. That place exists, and it is as close to us as the person beside you. Two people connecting, and sharing their hopes, dreams and experiences are all that it takes to make a dismal world beautiful.
The only way to obtain that sense of peace, purpose and adventure is to connect with that person next to us, and express our desire to make this world safer, peaceful and productive. We are kindhearted people, mostly sweet, and even our sour side is tinged with goodness. Watching the acts of insanity unfold before us chips away at that serenity, and builds walls, and then moats, and barbed wire and bazookas. Isolating becomes acceptable, and in that isolation bitterness creeps in, and anger prevails, then irrational behavior becomes commonplace.
Somehow, we must avoid the pit of isolation, and continue to embrace all that a free society offers. My own inclination leans toward drawing in, and keeping people out. That is not the answer. By letting people in I learn, and grow, and experience things that make sense, and matter.
Here is what matters;
My friend's son won The Fire Prevention Poster Contest in their town, a place much like Newtown Connecticut. The firefighters there invited the family to the Fire House for dinner as acknowledgement of a job well done.
Children and firefighters go hand in hand, and these folks certainly make me proud to be a parent, a firefighter and a contributing member of society.
Traditions still matter. They matter everywhere. Our kids need people to look up to, not people to run from. It is part of our duty to be those people, whether as firefighters, parents, teachers or whoever. It is imperative that we do not lose faith in who we are.
Thank you, and congratulations Bryan. Great Job all!