Less than a month ago hundreds of Detroit Firefighters pulled their dress uniforms out of the dark recesses of their closets to prepare them. Many had to be rush off to the cleaners. Others were given the once over with an iron to get hanger marks out of trousers and freshened up creases. Long neglected shoes were polished. We prepared our uniforms for one of the few happy occasions we get to wear them, the Detroit premier of BURN.
This week the same preparation process will be repeated, but this week will be different. Collars will be straighter, pant creases crisper, and shoes will have a higher polish.
There will be one other difference. One tiny additional detail that is so very hard to add. A black band will be placed around our badges. This week hundreds will mourn the loss of a DFD brother.
We will gather outside the church waiting to file in after all the other mourners are seated. Two at a time we will make our way to the casket, in unison give a slow, solemn salute and proceeding to our seats. Mass will be said, and the bell will ring out the traditional last alarm. We will say goodbye.
Although we have lost our brother, the memory of laughter, that big smile half hidden under a bushy mustache, and the impact he has had on so many lives will not die. He will live on in our hearts, our stories and in the collective spirit that is the Detroit Fire Department.
Sheryl Jayson(a.k.a. Sheryl Fox)
“Carve your name on hearts – not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” -Shannon Alder .