Farewell to the National Fire Academy
“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. There is an adage which says that, ‘Nothing can be destroyed except by fire.’ We strive to preserve from destruction the wealth of the world which is the product of the industry of men, necessary for the comfort of both the rich and the poor. We are defenders from fires of the art which has beautified the world, the product of the genius of men and the means of refinement of mankind. But, above all, our proudest endeavor is to save lives of men—the work of God Himself. Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even at the supreme sacrifice. Such considerations may not strike the average mind, but they are sufficient to fill to the limit our ambition in life and to make us serve the general purpose of human society.”
—Chief Edward F. Croker, FDNY, circa 1910
AFTER 44 YEARS of service, this I believe. As a member of the fire-service discipline, what I know and what I do not know has life-and-death consequences for me and others. Therefore, a fire service calling demands my highest level of professionalism.
Our proudest moment is when we accept the fact that fire prevention, smoke alarms, and fire sprinklers will save more lives and property from fire than we ever will.
Our noblest deeds of daring are measured by having the courage to do each task one hundred percent correctly one hundred percent of the time, especially when others around us are not, because lives are at stake.
Our supreme success is achieved when there is no injury, or death, or loss from fire.
As firefighters we honor the past because many people and events have put us here today; we celebrate the precious present because we have accomplished much and tomorrow belongs to no one; and we believe in the future because that is where we will spend the rest of our lives serving the people and achieving our purpose.
Thank God for firefighters. Thank you God for letting me be a firefighter. Class dismissed.