To the unsung heroes who work in fire services… we call you, “The Thin Red Line”.

You are often seen. Your big, red fire trucks are hard to miss. Your work is often spotlighted by the media, but for all the wrong reasons, because death and destruction get high ratings. You work long hours, sometimes several days in a row. Holidays? There is no such thing. Working a 9-5 schedule? No such thing. Living with coworkers in a fire house is just not the same as being at home with your family. You wear one-hundred pounds of gear and carry the heaviest pieces of equipment.

Many of you silently suffer from the heavy psychological and emotional tolls the job demands from you. Your dreams are engulfed in flames; images of injured, mangled, burned, dead bodies haunt you. The faces of all those you have lost come back to life in your nightmares. Acute stress and post-traumatic stress injuries run rampant through your ranks. More firefighters die by suicide every year than are killed in the line of duty. But you’re afraid to talk to anyone else about it for fear of being judged or labeled because no one could possibly understand.

And yet, you still faithfully suit up for work. Very few have the courage to run into the fire and help total strangers; so if not you, then who? And thus, you commit yourselves to a level of fitness unparalleled by others. You are always training, so you are ready and prepared for the unpredictable nature of your work. The fire is no match for you. You’ve weighed your options and come to understand the rewards of your career far outweigh the above losses. The small children who wave at you when they see your engines roll by is all the motivation you need.

But today, the Thin Red Line shines ever so bright and we see the brave men and women who fight the flames that threaten our homes, businesses, and wild lands… the men and women who work in fire services. Thank you all for your service. Carry on, knowing we all see you and appreciate you.