Friday, November 15, 2013

The Call Of Duty

Coming down to the War Museum on Remembrance Day, we stopped at the national firefighter's monument. The statue of a firefighter stands high over the onlooker; it's much bigger than the city memorial I showed you a couple of weeks ago.

Nearby stands a wall bearing the names of firefighters across the country who have fallen in the line of duty, either directly on the job, or through illnesses attributed to the profession. On one panel is a firefighter's prayer. It ought to be readable, but just in case...

When I am called to duty, God
Whatever flames may rage, 
Give me strength to save a life, 
Whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child
Before it is too late
Or save an older person 
From the horror of that fate

Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout
And quickly and efficiently
Put the fire out

I want to fill my calling
To give the best in me
To guard my every neighbour
And protect their property

And if according to Your will
I must answer death's last call
Bless with Your protecting hand
My family one and all

The names are etched on the stone, a testament to the risk of the calling that is the life of the firefighter.

It's a new monument, but a stark and fitting one. And because the firefighter's profession is dangerous, there is room on the wall for more names- and room for more walls. And there will, sadly, be more names.


  1. Replies
    1. A very fitting way. I'll have to do the same with the police memorial sometime.

  2. a sad looks a little like the vietnam memorial, with all those names...

    1. It does, yes. A good deal less names, of course, but the influence is there.

  3. I thought it looks like the VietNam memorial as well...very poignant...

    1. This is one of those cases where the artist gets it right. It doesn't always work out. There's a monument here that's an abstract example of sheer confusion.

  4. What a great and well-deserved tribute.

    1. I wondered how it would turn out on a damp day like that. I'll have to photograph it in clear weather sometime.

  5. Replies
    1. They are. I've known some firefighters, and it really is a calling to be respected.

  6. Lovely poem and post William. Is the fireman pointing at something specific--like downtown or the fire-station?

  7. A wonderful tribute to those who protect us.

  8. I missed this one--wasn't online yesterday except by phone!

  9. Lovely idea to honor firefighters.

  10. You wouldn't know this, William, but my husband Pat (Grenville) on our blog was a professional firefighter in our native NJ for 27 years. There is a large tribute similar to this one in Piscataway, NJ.