Letter: Say Thanks

Letter: Say Thanks

To the Editor:

Police officers chase criminals, walk up to dangerous situations without hesitation, fight crime and protect our families. Our firefighters and EMS do the same, they walk into burning buildings, save lives, risk their own every day and more often than not, they do all of this without the hand shaking and hand clapping of the citizens they serve. But then, that’s how they’d prefer it. Much like the men and women of our Armed Forces, no police officer, firefighter or paramedic applied for his or her job in hopes of striking it rich. These men and women work long hours for little pay so, as the USCG so aptly puts it, “other may live.”

On occasion we lose a first responder to injury or, every now and then, one of these heroes gives their life to the cause.

It’s times like these where an Alexandria firefighter has suffered a great injury or loss of life that we should step back from our busy day and consider the differences in what we do versus what they do. I know that I sit in an office most days and, most of my friends and acquaintances do the same. I have friends who are lawyers, they spend a great deal of time in court and I have friends in sales, they spend a great deal of time in their cars. At the end of the day, 99 percent of us come home at a reasonable hour to our spouses and kids. We have time to cook and eat, time to read bed-time stories, time to sleep and time to wake up with a cup of coffee to get our days started right.

The ways the 99 percent of us spend our days and nights aren’t wrong, quite the contrary in fact; but the way our hero first responders spend their days … is exceptional. Exemplary. Extraordinary.

This is why I often take a step back and think about these men and women. I think about their families and friends and how everyone in their lives sacrifices just to be associated with such an honorable person. I implore you to do the same. When you see a police officer on the street, stop and say hello, perhaps offer a handshake and a hearty “thank you.” When you see our local firefighters food shopping or walking our neighborhoods ensuring our smoke detectors are working, thank them.

Remember that they don’t do their jobs for the thanks we provide but, I’m sure the thanks we provide help them do their job.

Alexandria is not just a city, we are the very essence of a community and, in a community, and we take care of each other. When a siren cries in the distance, when a fire truck or ambulance rushes by, remember that the men and women inside are saving a life at that very moment, one way or another.

Let’s all raise a hypothetical “glass” to our first responders. We know who you are, we care about you, we respect you but most of all, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Scott Gordon