Call for heroes was answered across the USA

Published on Monday, September 15, 2014

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Peter Janowski
Boiling Springs FD Firefighter

Jim Fair

Peter Janowski

Boiling Springs FD Firefighter


By Peter Janowski

Boiling Springs FD Firefighter

Firefighter Peter Janowski delivered this eloquent speech on the anniversary of 9/11 this year at the Boiling Springs Fire Department’s annual remembrance of lost heroes on that fateful day in the United States.

Thirteen years and one day ago today . . .

On September 10th, 2001 . . .

America was a very different place than it has now become.

We felt relatively safe and comfortable. And the things we were worried about seemed manageable, or at least unlikely to happen to us. Many of us had become fully occupied with our own lives and our own concerns.

But we had become complacent in many of our ways.

We had become devoted to a great many things of lesser importance.

The latest technology or the newest gadget, toys we wanted to have, fun we wanted to experience, the most recent celebrity news or sports statistics. Meanwhile, having forgotten and neglected many vital things that should never be overlooked . . .

One of those things was this, we had forgotten what a hero was.

Some were even wondering if there were any real heroes left at all.

Sports figures or entertainment personalities were hailed as heroes. Athletes who did well on the ball field or actors and entertainers who performed well for the cameras were lifted up as our national icons and ideals.

Then came the horrible events of the next morning, September 11, 2001 . . .

And our world, and our perceptions of that world, was shattered forever. But in the midst of this terrible tragedy a call went out . . .

A call for heroes.

A call for real men.

And the firefighters,

and the police and security officers,

and the emergency medical providers,

and other first responders in New York, in Washington, in Pennsylvania, and across our great country . . . answered that call.

You see, real heroes are those who selflessly give of themselves for others. Real authentic manhood when it is boiled down. When it is reduced to its very essence . . . is this, giving oneself for the good of another.

Using one’s gifts and talents, one’s skills and abilities to serve the needs of others.

And the firefighters and first responders of that terrible September day demonstrated for America, and to the rest of the world, what true heroism really is, what true manhood really is, and what being an American is really all about.

Today we remember once again our fallen brothers and sisters . . .those who risked and those who sacrificed their lives in an effort to save others in need.

As I remember, I have wondered . . . how can we best recognize and honor our fallen fellow Americans?

We can attend services and prayer vigils and ceremonies like this one and remember our fallen. We can honor them in our sorrow and in sober remembrance of their service and sacrifice. But we can also honor them by living according to the creed they were called to die by . . .

By living lives of service and love for those placed in our life pathway.

You may remember the events of 9/11 and hugging your family and loved ones a little tighter the next time you saw them. We can remember our honored dead today by doing this again.

Remember those who are no longer able to be with their families. Embrace your family tightly again tonight when you go home. Never take the relationships and the life you have for granted.

In the midst of my remembrance of fellow firefighters who bravely responded to the World Trade Center disaster . . .

I have asked myself, how would I respond in a situation where danger was imminent and death was a very real possibility?

Do I have what it takes to be a real hero?

How can I know?

Well, the laws of nature and even the scriptures tell us that the one who is faithful in “”small” things will also be faithful in the “big” things.

We know that our lives can be given for others in many ways.

Giving your life away may mean clearing your schedule to be with a sick friend or relative . . .

It may entail turning the television off to call your mom or to talk to your wife . . .

Sacrificing the night out with your friends to take your wife out on a date . . .

It may be shutting down the computer to just play with your children instead . . .

It may look like taking out the trash, or doing the dishes, or folding the laundry . . .

It could mean sacrificing that habit or hobby to buy something special for your wife.

You see . . .

If you sacrifice your life daily in little ways to help others, if you practice giving your time away to serve others, if you are faithful in the “little” things . . .

When the time has come for the “big” thing, the overwhelming and terrible test . . .

The incomprehensible situation . . .

You will be ready to give your life away. Because you have already been doing that. We can also honor the fallen by preparing ourselves to follow after them.

We in the fire service would do well to remember that we really do live on the knife’s edge. Our lives can be changed forever just a few short moments after our station tones drop.

We must make sure that our souls are secure – that we are ready to die.

The only sure way I can recommend for that is to place your trust in the Son of Man. He fully demonstrated true manhood when He gave his life that many might be free. He poured his life out for the good of many souls.

We would do well to follow his example.

As we set aside this time to remember the past and the sacrifices of those who have gone before us . . .

Let us dedicate ourselves anew to living by the creed that our fallen brothers died.

God bless America.



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