Thank those who serve while you can

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The past few weeks along with September 11 getting closer had me thinking about many things. I was sitting in church listening to my paster talk about people sacrificing there life for their beliefs.

We had a young entertainer pass away and the media had her story blasted over the place. On that same day there were eleven men that got killed in Afghanistan with not even a mention.

President Barack Obama mourned the deaths of the American troops, saying in a statement that the crash serves as a reminder of the “extraordinary sacrifices” being made by the U.S. military and its families. He said he also mourned “the Afghans who died alongside our troops.”

The death toll would surpass the worst single day loss of life for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001 — the June 28, 2005 downing of a military helicopter in eastern Kunar province. In that incident, 16 Navy SEALs and Army special operations troops were killed when their craft was shot down while on a mission to rescue four SEALs under attack by the Taliban.

Three of the SEALs being rescued were also killed and the fourth wounded. It was the highest one-day death toll for the Navy Special Warfare personnel since World War II.

I don’t understand why society seems to forget the people who put their life on the line everyday for our freedom. It is these people who make it possible for us to express our beliefs and wake up everyday in a free country.

With that train of thought there is firefighters and police officers who protect peoples lives everyday. There is a difference in the military and these individuals. Firefighters and police officers put their life on the line everyday. Both professions have men and women die everyday who go unmentioned.

It is frustrating that something bad has to happen for these types of people to be thought of. We need to recognize what these individuals do. The next time you see a veteran a police officer or a firefighter thank them for what they do or did. Why not recognize them while they are here. These heroes are not looking for a thank you because they do their jobs because they love what they do and they would do what ever it took for their country.

It was 110 stories to the top and the firefighters who rushed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 probably knew they would never make it out alive.

“They knew the outcome that day and they still went ahead and went in,” said Lt. Terry Parris of the Panama City Beach Fire Department.

With September 11 getting closer we need to honor the 343 firefighters and 23 officers of the NYPD and 37 Port Authority officers fell in the line of duty.

Michael Heath is president of the St. John Professional Firefighters Association.