Thursday, April 25, 2013

Angels Wearing Helmets & Turn-Out Gear

As I write this entry, I am at my desk with another browser window open, as I watch and listen to the memorial service for the volunteer firefighters and EMT's, killed in the line of duty, in the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, TX. Yet, as tears roll down my face, I am seething inside.
On these posts, I have often ranted against the cable/satellite television networks and how they take so little regard of America's fire service. And now, in the dark, sad shadow of the loss of these brave heroes, the major news networks again disrespect us by only carrying the live broadcast of the memorial service online, most likely, until President Obama comes to the podium. After the tragic bombing in Boston (my great hometown, by the way) the entire memorial service was telecast. But when it comes to us, the ones who run in when everyone else is running, we, apparently don't deserve the same recognition.
Oh sure, there's plenty of coverage of the dedication of the Bush Library in Dallas. And there's a great deal of additional coverage on the tragic events in Boston and new details that are coming to light as the investigation continues. These stores do deserve coverage. However, the library dedication was this morning. The information from the bombing has been flowing since the capture of one of the bad guys on Friday evening. The memorial service did not begin until approximately 3:30 PM, EDT.
Being a news director is a job that is best described as a juggling act. There are times when the proverbial "cat in a tree," has to be the leading story. Then there are the times when very breaking news story could be the single headline all by itself. Add to that the personalities of news reporters on the scenes who are begging the studio to put their feed up, NOW; you can imagine why a news director's best friend is often a bottle of Aleve. And I honestly do appreciate the herculean task that they face. However, there comes a time when  you have to do what's right, not what's popular.
Today is one of those times. Twelve good and decent people, men with families, fathers and husbands, brothers and son, grandfathers, uncles, and friends. Yet, their characters stand high and above their other traits, because they had made a decision to protect their families and neighbors from harm, even if that harm cost them their own lives.
It's about time that the public remembers who answers their calls to 9-1-1, no matter the time, no matter the weather, no matter the danger. We do. It's who we are and it's what we do.