Every October, we gather to honor the lives and service of 22 individuals who gave their all in service to this city. I was proud to join the men and women of the Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department (JFRD) on Oct. 10 to pay tribute.
Firefighting is one of the most noble professions, and we are blessed to have some of the best in the business. Time and time again, the men and women of JFRD demonstrate their excellence as one of the premier Fire/Rescue departments in the nation.
Just a few weeks ago, I witnessed the bravery and dedication of JFRD in the response to Hurricane Irma. And we as a nation saw another example of the commitment and character of first responders recently in Las Vegas. It takes a person with selflessness, courage, and resolve to commit to this honorable duty.
Few among us would run toward gunfire to help those injured in the crowd. Few among us would wade chest deep into rising waters to rescue people stranded in their homes. Few among us would charge into roaring flames and dark smoke to carry others to safety.
The heroes enshrined on that wall in front of Fire Station 1 put the lives of others ahead of their own, and the men and women of JFRD do it every day. They signed up willingly to do this important work. They swore an oath to the people of this community to protect lives and property.
When I got home that night, I made it a point to share with my children the sacrifices brave men and women make on their behalf every day in our city. And I told them about the 22 firefighters who gave their lives to that commitment.
All of us should pause and reflect on the sacrifices so many have made to get us where we are today as a city, a nation, and a people. May we always remember and honor the lives and service of these noble heroes.