This picture perfectly sums up heroism in an instant. I was a firefighter for 10 years and drove engines and ladder trucks for most of that. It is always an adrenaline rush when you pull out of the station and see a column of thick, black smoke in the distance, knowing you are about to go to work. I cannot even fathom looking through that windshield and seeing that boiling column from nearly 100 stories up. And yet, in bottom of this picture, as everyone was running to get as far away from the towers as they could, Ladder 118 is driving as fast as they can straight into the chaos. The level of uncertainty in their minds had to be incredible but they still pushed on and all 6 members gave their lives that day as did 337 other FDNY members along with many other first responders. Heros don't wear sports uniforms, sing on stages or show up on the big screen. Not all, but most of them, are nothing more than spoiled rotten babies who have no clue what true sacrifice, valor and courage mean. The real hero's are in the fire station down the street, the police car on the corner, working in a hospital or in a tent in the desert fighting for freedom. Most will never face a situation as drastic as that fateful day but some will. And though they don't know when or where, they all show up to work every day, ready to respond whenever they are called. Respect them and thank them the next time you have a chance because they are willing to do what the vast majority never would so that everyone else never has to see the demons when they close their eyes at night.
#repost from @code3content
FDNY Ladder 118 crosses into lower Manhattan from Brooklyn responding to the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001. All six firefighters on board were killed when Tower 1 collapsed. Photo by Aaron McLamb