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Uniformed Services, Uniformly Valorous By: Michael Tremoglie
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, December 10, 2001


COLLECTIVELY cops, fire personnel, EMTs and the military are often referred to as uniformed services. They share more than just a name, however. Novelist W.E.B. Griffin, who has written several series about the men and women of the uniformed services stated: "(They) share a number of unique traits: astonishing courage, loyalty, and camaraderie…like no other profession. "

Griffin omitted something.

Each day, members of the uniformed services report for work they know there is a possibility however slight that they may not report off.

They do it anyway.

The members of the uniformed services know this because they are never called when all is well. They are only called to protect the lives of their fellow citizens. They know that in the process their own lives may be in jeopardy.

They do it anyway.

Despite what one journalist wrote, uniformed personnel are not trained to go towards a disaster instead of away from it. They do it because that is who and what they are. I do not ever remember a course in the Police Academy that was called "How to Go to a Disaster and Rescue People." There were courses about how to save people in water, from burning buildings, etc.

Nobody needed to be told that you were supposed to go there.

When members of the uniformed services went inside the World Trade Center to help others they did so not because they were trained like dogs to do so. They did so because that is the kind of people they are. They knew the risks. They did so knowing the possible consequences. They have done it before.

They did it anyway.

There are a couple of occupations more dangerous than being a member of the uniformed services. Store clerks, cabdrivers, bartenders all have jobs that are more dangerous not by much. The difference is that uniformed personnel place themselves at risk with alacrity.

The uniformed personnel knew what they were getting into when they arrived at the World Trade Center. They knew what the possibilities were. They arrived quickly and they went to work to help the people inside the buildings. Aiding people who attended colleges the rescuers probably could not afford to attend.

They rescued them anyway.

Some of the people they rescued probably consider uniformed personnel crass and vulgar. There were rescuers on the 82nd floor when the building collapsed a place the rescuers ordinarily would not be permitted to be because of their societal status.

They went anyway.

They knew what was happening. They did not have to do it. They could have said, "Oops, sorry, just can’t get there."

They would still have their jobs. Nobody would have condemned them.

They did it anyway.

Fire personnel who were caught in the explosion, like New York City Fire Department’s John Morabito, who survived the explosion of the second tower are still on the jobrescuing people.

Morabito already risked himself once he continues to do it anyway.

I once rescued three people and a dog from a burning twostory structure. I could not even conceive of what it would be like to be in a burning skyscraper. No training can prepare one for that circumstance. There is no school or academy available for that purpose.

The uniformed personnel who are venturing into danger in lower Manhattan and the Pentagon will not ask for gratitude. It is rarely given to them.

They do it anyway.

When you hear the reports of what the uniformed personnel did, remember there is nothing in their job description that mandates they risk their lives. Certainly they know the hazards; however, nothing requires them to sacrifice their lives for that of others or for any benefit, monetary or otherwise, that would accrue. There is no bonus for lives saved.

They do it anyway.

The next time you read or hear a news story criticizing uniformed personnel from intelligentsia such as Gore Vidal who once said that the men and women of the uniformed services are recruited from the criminal classes remember that, despite the risks, despite the costs, despite the difficulties, despite the criticism from the chattering classes they do it anyway.


Michael P. Tremoglie is the author of the new novel A Sense of Duty, and an ex-Philadelphia cop. E-mail him at elfegobaca@comcast.net.


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