Prayers, Creeds & Thoughts
Firefighters are a unique group who experience situations most of us will never confront in our lifetimes. That provides them many opportunities to contemplate the human experience from a perspective we may have difficulty understanding.
As a result of that rare perspective, firefighters, through the years, have written about their thoughts, hopes and observations in words that are meaningful and touching. We invite you to read through their offerings to learn a little more about firefighters everywhere. We salute their courage, concern and selflessness.
You told me not to drink mom, so I drank soda instead
I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would
I didn’t drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should
I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right
Now the party is finally ending, Mom, as everyone is driving out of sight
As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I’d get home in one piece
Because of the way you raised me, so responsible and sweet
I started to drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road,
The other car didn’t see me, Mom, it hit me like a load
As I lay here on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say
The other guy is drunk, Mom, now I am the one who will pay
I am lying here dying, Mom….I wish you’d get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a balloon
There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom, I’ll die in a short time.
I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn’t drink.
It was the others, Mom. The others didn’t think
He was probably at the same party as I
The only difference is, he drank and I will die
Why do people drink, Mom? It can ruin your whole life.
I’m feeling sharp pains, now. Pains just like a knife.
The guy who hit me is walking, Mom, and I don’t think it’s fair
I’m lying here dying, and all he can do is stare.
Tell my brother not to cry, Mom, tell daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom, put “Daddy’s Girl” on my grave.
Someone should have told him, Mom, not to drink and drive
If only they had told him, Mom, I would still be alive.
My breath is getting shorter, Mom, I am becoming very scared.
Please don’t cry for me, Mom. When I needed you, you were always there.
I have one last question, Mom, before I say goodbye:
I didn’t drink and drive, so why am I the one to die?
Many mothers, fathers, and children die every year from drunk driving.
We ask everyone, PLEASE do not drink and drive.
wherever flames may rage
give me strength to save a life
whatever be its age
Help me to embrace a little child
before it is too late
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate
Enable me to be alert
to hear the weakest shout
and quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out
I want to fill my calling and
to give the best in me
to guard my neighbor and
protect his property
And if according to your will
I have to lose my life
bless with your protecting hand
my children and my wife.
To be skillful and brave.
Please let me never falter
When there are lives to save.
Be with my fellow firefighters
And ride with us each run,
From the moment we “suit-up”
Until the job is done.
Be with me as I guide a child
Through the dark and smokey haze
Give me strength and courage
As I fight the deadly blaze.
Lord, I put my safety in Your hands,
But in the chaos and the strife,
Help me act with selfless courage
God, just let me save a life.
I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning bedroom for trapped children, flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you burns.
I wish you could comprehend a wife’s horror at 3 a.m. as I check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late. But wanting his wife and family to know everything possible was done to try to save his life.
I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucus, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke-sensations that I’ve become too familiar with.
I wish you could understand how it feels to go to work in the morning after having spent most of the night, hot and soaking wet at a multiple alarm fire.
I wish you could read my mind as I respond to a building fire “Is this a false alarm or a working fire? How is the building constructed? What hazards await me? Is anyone trapped?” Or to an EMS call, “What is wrong with the patient? Is it minor or life-threatening? Is the caller really in distress or is he waiting for us with a 2×4 or a gun?”
I wish you could be in the emergency room as a doctor pronounces dead the beautiful five-year old girl that I have been trying to save during the past 25 minutes. Who will never go on her first date or say the words, “I love you Mommy” again.
I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine, the driver with his foot pressing down hard on the pedal, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain, as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, “It took you forever to get here!”
I wish you could know my thoughts as I help extricate a girl of teenage years from the remains of her automobile. “What if this was my sister, my girlfriend or a friend? What were her parents’ reaction going to be when they opened the door to find a police officer with hat in hand?”
I wish you could know how it feels to walk in the back door and greet my parents and family, not having the heart to tell them that I nearly did not come back from the last call.
I wish you could feel the hurt as people verbally, and sometimes physically, abuse us or belittle what I do, or as they express their attitudes of “It will never happen to me.”
I wish you could realize the physical, emotional and mental drain or missed meals, lost sleep and forgone social activities, in addition to all the tragedy my eyes have seen.
I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life or of preserving someone’s property, or being able to be there in time of crisis, or creating order from total chaos.
I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, “Is Mommy okay?” Not even being able to look in his eyes without tears from your own and not knowing what to say. Or to have to hold back a long time friend who watches his buddy having rescue breathing done on him as they take him away in the ambulance. You know all along he did not have his seat belt on. A sensation that I have become too familiar with.
Unless you have lived with this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am, we are, or what our job really means to us… I wish you could…
And when he’d go to work each day he’d say “Mother, wish me luck”
Then dad would not come home again until sometime the next day
But the thing that bothered me the most was the things some folks would say
A fireman’s life is easy, he eats and sleeps and plays,
and sometimes he won’t fight a fire for many, many days
When I first heard these words I was young to understand
But I knew when people had trouble Dad was there to lend a hand
Then my father went to work one day and kissed us all goodbye
but little did we realize that night we all would cry
My father lost his life that night when the floor gave way below
And I wondered why he’d risked his life for someone he did not know
But now I truly realize the greatest gift a man can give
is to lay his life upon the line so that someone else might live
So as we go from day to day and pray to God above
Say a prayer for your local fireman
He may save the ones you love – Author unknown
Into your boots and down the pole!
Release the brakes and let’er roll!
That fire is down by Casey’s block
And will take a heavy toll!
Get that hydrant! Pull away!
Clear that hose and make it lay!
The flames are shooting through the floor
We’ll make the front stairway!
On your belly! Get down low!
Hug that nozzle! Sweep it so
The water hits the ceiling
And wets the floor below!
Get up closer! There’s your fire!
Take your licking and don’t aspire
To nice warm bunks and quiet sleep;
Tonight you’re going to earn your hire!
Pick up boys, we’re going back!
Clean those engines, they’re all black!
Change that hose! Watch those butts!
Every length up on the rack!
Back to bed and sweet repose;
I hate the sight of fire hose!
And who can sleep in this dam dump
When Healy’s snoring through his nose?
J. C. SHANAHAN,