So what would we do without them all? If you think back to the last decade-plus of natural and man-made disasters, think then about who are always the most involved? Firefighters, police, teachers, nurses and doctors. I’d suggest going back to the dawn of civilization but our memories as a race are so short.
But just consider the events just from 9/11/2001 until now, involving certain people running toward the problems. Firefighters and police always head to where the problem is. The first instinct of teachers is to protect the children. Nurses stayed with a mother having a baby in the middle of a tornado in Oklahoma. The thing in common with all these folks is that they provide the structure of our society. We could manage quite nicely in many ways without Congress, at least the one we have now, but what would we do without our firefighters, police and teachers? Without the nurses and doctors who always head to where they’re needed. And the folks in these professions choose their fields, choose to put themselves on the line, choose too many times to sacrifice.
So how do we recognize these folks? We allow our local and state and federal governments to minimize their salaries while at the same time asking more and more of them. Oh, we make a lot of noise when disasters occur, but then that famous short-term memory kicks in.
Do we really want to forget the heroes of 9/11? Do we want to forget the teachers and administrators who ran toward the gunfire at Sandy Hook Elementary? Or the folks like the nurse who waded through flood waters toward her hospital to help when Superstorm Sandy struck? Or the brave souls who died in West, Texas, trying to put out a fire? Or the teachers who covered their children in the schools at Moore, Oklahoma. I say “their children” because when they have that responsibility, those children become theirs.
We need to become a nation of activists. Oh, not the kind who riot and picket, but the kind who go to local government meetings, who insist on recognizing and keeping the folks who hold our society together. The ones we count on being there when something terrible happens, with their hands out to give, not to take.