Thoughts after 2 Boston Firefighters Killed in 9-alarm Fire

It’s hard to pick the right words at times like this.

From wishing that firefighters and their families know we think about and appreciate them more than just in the days following such tragedies, to recognizing first responders are risking and giving their lives daily across this country and that this one just happens to be in my “backyard.”

Mostly though, I’m struck by the intensity that fire families have for each other. I see it in the news, I see it in social media, I see it from family and friends. The passion for each other that I see, hear, and read about reminds me of the way I feel about my family and close friends. But to feel this way about others simply because they are in the same profession? I understand it, but I don’t for a second think I “get it.” It speaks to the nature of what firefighters do for a living and what they and their families face every single day. It’s humbling to witness.

I’m also struck by the respect that they have for their line of duty. There is no shying away from the story, from the horror; no turning a blind eye to the reality of their lives. The dangers are real and the seriousness of them to be respected. All too often I see people pull the wool over their eyes and not face their mortality head on. For some reason I think about those who “don’t do funerals” or won’t visit dying friends/relatives in the hospital because of this refusal to face their mortality.

If anybody is to be afforded such a liberty, wouldn’t it be firefighters and their families? And yet everything I see is the exact opposite. The outpouring of support from fire families around the country, the escort fellow firefighters gave the body of one of the victims from Boston Medical Center to the nearby Medical Examiner’s Office, and just the overall sense I get that these brave men, women and their families stare the dangers of their profession directly in the face.

Again, humbling.

I have nothing but respect for all the firefighters of Engine 33 and for all firefighters and their families across this land.

2 of our bravest Americans were killed in the line of duty yesterday — Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, 33, of Hyde Park, a U.S. Marine veteran who was single and Lt. Edward J. Walsh, 43, of West Roxbury, father of three.

BFD1
Photo courtesy of Boston Fire Department

Resources:

Pictures of the tragedy from Boston.com — 2 firefighters killed in 9-alarm Back Bay fire

“We lost two heroes here today,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said at the press conference. “These two heroes ran into a burning building and got people out.”

In a statement, the mayor said words “cannot do justice to the grief that we feel tonight.”

“Our hearts are heavy with the knowledge that these brave men gave their lives to protect the safety of our city and its people,” he said. “A day like today makes us all too aware of what they are risking in the course of doing their jobs. They are heroes simply by virtue of accepting this duty.” — Two firefighters die in Beacon Street blaze

Boston Fire Department

@BostonFire

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  1. Very fitting tribute to Boston’s finest!

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