By Jim Vannucchi, Director
… “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that the government, of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from this earth.”

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

What do you say at a time like this when a near 400 of our brothers and sisters, who bled the ground red for a solemn cause, lie in a state of honor beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York City. Firefighters who, with the fervor of a Holy Crusade, selflessly charged the crumbling towers again, and again, and again to succeed in but one objective; to save lives.

What do you say at a time like this to the parents who no longer have a son or a daughter to embrace, or to a child who no longer has a mother or a father to take comfort from, or to the wife or husband whose hearts have been forever ripped from their chests. Their oblation and courage have humbled me beyond words.

All I can extend is the verse of a silent soldier that stands eternal guard at Punchbowl National Cemetery over the heroes of Pearl Harbor from yet another great generation: “The solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

And to the terrorists who are culpable for this sinister and barbaric attack on America, cowardice is the badge of shame that you will wear for all of eternity.

In closing, I ask that the families of our heroic dead embrace a bit of comfort in the knowledge that their firefighter, on this very day walks with God, for, by the sheer fury of their will, in their final battle of good versus evil, they have done us all honor.

May God bless these fallen firefighters and may God bless America.


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