Opinion: Some Question Heroism of Firefighters and I Don’t Get It
I think we can agree that we've all done something stupid that we regret - especially on social media.
If this doesn't apply to you, I'll at least admit that it applies to me.
I've written things that I would love to take back. At least a few times.
Saturday afternoon, in the aftermath of the Ocean City Boardwalk fire, we posted a "Thank You" to local firefighters, who fought the blaze in sub-freezing temperatures:
When the post went up, I certainly didn't think it was anything controversial.
Then we received a couple interesting comments:
Okay so they did there jobs ...what they get paid too do
Why don't we say this about all jobs what about all the people working everyday to make our food fix cars building houses i just don't get it.
.........what about utility workers,gas,electric who out their lives in danger for us. It is unthinkable how we discriminate in who we call hero’s. The business that were shut down arguably by way of a fraud closing businesses for ever, they are hero’s to me. I am going out on a limb and tell it like it is they get good pay and terrific retirements and benefits it is their job. All that said I want everyone to be safe.
I've copied and pasted both comments here "as is" - complete with the original spelling and grammar mistakes. I won't dwell on those, that's not what this is about. (I'm also not including the names of those who wrote the comments.)
The fact that I don't understand is that there are two people who aren't comfortable with the fact that we refer to those firefighters are "heroes."
Are you kidding me? People who put their actual lives on the line to save people, their belongings, their businesses, their cherished possessions, their loving pets, and more are not heroes? In my eyes, they are Supermen and Superwomen without the capes and superpowers. They literally are RISKING THEIR LIVES - most often for people they don't even know!
I've heard this before - people questioning why some people are heroes, while others aren't singled out as such. Honestly, I find it kind of sickening.
Obviously, both of the people who commented are sadly mistaken about their "it's their job" comments. A vast majority of firefighters in this area are volunteer - they don't get paid. As a matter of fact, most, in the end, pay for the opportunity to volunteer - because they care so much!
Volunteer firefighters sacrifice their time (and their families' time) to train, to go on calls and more. Often they must pay for their own equipment and training. It takes a special person to make this commitment.
This isn't to take away anything from paid firefighters. While they're "getting a paycheck", they are also constantly putting their own live on the line. Just because "it's their job" doesn't make it any less important or any less heroic.
Now, let explain this to the people in the back. Just because someone isn't a firefighter (or police officer, or first responder), it doesn't mean that you are less important based on what you do. A person who cooks food, or builds houses, or fixes cars (or talk on the radio) may have some heroic moments in their lives, but, face it, they're not running into burning buildings, while everyone else is running out.
Yes, there are other heroes. People who fix our utilities lines in thunderstorms, blizzards, and hurricanes do heroic work. No one is denying that. Doctors, nurses, and other on the "frontline" during pandemics certainly are heroes.
Our point in thanking firefighters for their service Saturday was not meant to exclude others - it was only meant to thank those who came through in the worst of times.
Again, to the people who commented above, I hope it was just a moment of "saying something without thinking."
Finally, if you would like to be a volunteer firefighter - and do things like running toward burning buildings, I'm 100% sure your local fire company would be happy to hear from you and allow you to apply for membership. It's been a terrible time for volunteer departments - recruiting numbers are way down everywhere.
Hopefully, we are all heroes to somebody.