Be courageous, care for others, a hero lives in you.
- Allison Crowther -
I went to our city's 9/11 Memorial Service and Fire Fighters Memorial today. One of the first speakers to speak, made a point that has stood out for the rest of my day and has impacted my perspective immensly. She said, for as much tragedy that there is in this world there is as much help, heros, love and support.
It's obvious, we live in a world where fear, tragedy and loss is all to prevalent and common. You can't watch the news without hearing something devastating. It's easy to get wrapped up, and immobilized in the fear and heart- break of it all.
Seeing all the Fire Fighters at the memorial - both on duty, off duty and retired, was a timely reminder that there are heros in our midst, all the time! There are people who put their lives on the line to save others. There are people who hold hands in solidarity. People who pray. People who hug. People who love. People who protect. People who are in service to others out of altruism and compassion. There is goodness. There is light. There is hope.
It was beautiful and heart warming how members of the Fire Service, families and friends came out today to recognize all those who have lost their lives. All the brothers and sisters who give so much of themselves, for the well being of others.
Time was taken to remember the lives of all Edmonton Fire Department members who have died in the line of duty - their names were called and a bell rung in their honour. All members who have died in the past year - their families were presented with a flag and again, a bell was rung in their honour.
It was such a wonderful visusal to have row after row of Fire Fighters, in their Dress Uniforms marching in formation and standing behind and standing for their comrades, and families who were receiving recognition today.
We remembered 9/11 and all the lives lost. We remembered the 19 Fire Fighters who were killed in Arizona this summer. We remembered. By remembering we honour.
Re-member. We re-organize. We re-live. We re-member ourselves as communities. As families. As co-workers. When we remember, we re-member ourselves and others.
The whole ceremony was so touching. The music of the bag-pipes and drums moved me to tears. Just like it's supposed to - music moves us from our heads to our hearts, from thinking to feeling. The formality of the Fire Fighters in formation was both humbling and awe inspiriing. Seeing the active duty crews and retirees show up and be present was a show of solidarity, and support for one and for all.
I left feeling sad for all the lives lost and acknowleged and remembered. I also felt hopeful. Hopeful that as long as communities such as these come together each year to remember and honour those lives lost through ceremony and ritual, the lives of those whose death affected will be so much more supported and rich as a result. Hopeful that these honouring traditions will take root in more areas of our communities and even families. Hopeful that love can be spread from person to person, city to city, country to country in showing of support in grief and loss.