May 4 is now known as International Firefighters Day. It is also the feast day of Saint Florian. I have always known about the feast day but I am not sure when International Firefighters Day started, but it really doesn’t matter.
I think it would be a great time for one day to all come together as firefighters with all of our training differences, all of our urban, suburban, or rural depaftments and focus on our common areas.
We are all members of the greatest professions in the world. I say profession even if you are not paid. This is one of a handful of careers that is really as much of a vocation as it is a job.
I am proud that I have served in lots of capacities for 40 years. I cannot thank the many hundreds if not thousands of firefighters I have met, and those meetings helped shaped me or my career in some way.
My podcast has served to shrink the world in many ways, as I now have listeners in Sweden, many places in Europe, Australia, Canada, Asia etc. My spoken word is able to have something in common with fellow firefighters all over the world.I am thankful for each and everyone of those listeners.
On this day, I am going to be thankful I have had the chance to serve others and be part of the brotherhood and sisterhood. I am thankful that I have had the ability to train and help mentor some young firefighters who want to get into the service.
Just sit back a little today and marvel at how lucky you are for the gift of the fire service in your life.
You are something special, you are a firefighter!
I also have included a piece about Saint Florian for those that are interested. This piece was written for my blog by Retired Fire Chief Jim Blanchard of Saugus Massachusetts. (Jim wrote a number of pieces for me and they can be found at the petelamb.com page with. A tab across the top that says history.)
Here is the piece:
All firefighters are aware that Saint Florian is the patron Saint of firefighters. Many have purchased and are very proud to wear the Saint Florian medallion around their neck. These medallions are usually gold and many are shaped in the form of a Maltese cross with the image of Florian stamped in the center of it. If you ask who Florian was or why he is our Patron Saint, most firefighters don’t know. They assume it is because he made some heroic fire rescue or maybe he was a priest who was involved in the fire service. These answers are the typical response but neither is accurate.
Rome began to hear some rumors about the way Florian was governing his land. It was reported that he was not enforcing Rome’s law forbidding Christianity. Rome did not believe this, but they did sent investigators to check. They reported back that it was true. Rome sent a group of soldiers to confront Florian. They warned and threatened him that he must enforce the laws of Rome and abolish Christianity. Florian not only refused he confessed that he had embraced the faith and become a Christian himself. Rome was furious. They tortured him and demanded he renounce his faith. Florian steadfastly refused. Rome ordered his execution.
After his death, people who were trapped by fire reported that they invoked Florians name and his spirit delivered them from the flames. These occurrences were reported and documented many times. Florian was confirmed a saint for his commitment to his faith and the documentation of his spirit delivering trapped persons from the flames.
It is only fitting, that firefighters, committed to their duty, and instilled with the spirit to dedicate themselves to the protection of life and property, should choose such a man as their patron saint.