The word hero is used very loosely in our society. We like to refer to a basketball player who sinks a last second shot as a hero. Or it could be that activist who fights for equal justice. Those people could be heroes to some people but my definition of a hero goes much deeper than those examples. I believe someone who risks their own lives to save others gets top billing as a hero to me. Sure, I believe there are other types of heroes that should get their due, but nothing compares to those who put their lives on the line to save fellow humans from death, serious injury or protecting someone else’s possessions or property. Such is the case with the 19 brave young men in Arizona who lost their lives trying to help out others.
These brave young firefighters had to know about the abnormal dangers involved in last weekend’s fire. They were very experienced and well trained fighters and something tells me that many knew this mission might be their last. But that did not stop them from using their vast training to stop or at least slow down a rapidly spreading fire. These young men saw the total picture. I am sure many were apprehensive about their mission but if they did not act, many homes and property would be damaged and potentially, many lives would be lost. They put aside their own concerns to help and save others. In the process, they paid for it by losing their own lives.
I really learned to appreciate firefighters during the 9/11 attacks. Many firefighters lost their lives on that fateful day as well. I think most people do not understand how dangerous that occupation can be. It is far more than having some guy unravel a hose and spray some water on a burning building, home or area. These people also are very adept at rescuing people or pets. It takes a ton of courage to go into a burning building with flames and smoke all around you with the purpose of saving someone’s life.
The Arizona firefighters also had to deal with gusty winds which made the raging fires even more difficult and unpredictable. And let us not forget about the 100 degree plus temps and having to wear all of that equipment. I cannot even imagine what those guys had to go through just before their deaths.
This story is even sadder when you think about who these guys were. Many were just young guys, not even 30 years old. They had their whole lives ahead of them. Some of the young men had families with young children. In a matter of moments, the bright futures of so many were tragically taken away by a force of nature.
These guys are gone but what they tried to do in protecting others from great harm and danger should never, never, never be forgotten. These brave men are a great inspiration to me and many others around the world for their awesome acts of bravery and courage. I cannot think of too many better examples of heroes than these young men. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families. We lost some true American heroes last Sunday.