First responders are back in the news.
They’ve answered the call in recent days to assist along the Texas Gulf Coast. They are responding at this moment to those who’ll need them in some U.S. territories in the Caribbean and in South Florida. They answer the call daily when homes burn, when motor vehicles crash or when people suffer an assortment of medical emergencies.
The Texas Panhandle War Memorial is going to play host on Monday to a ceremony commemorating the 16th year since the 9/11 attacks on our nation. It starts at 8:45 a.m. at the memorial grounds, next to the Randall County Courthouse Annex on South Georgia Street and the Canyon E-Way.
I feel the need to speak about those individuals. We ought to honor them daily, maybe even hourly. We should thank them when we encounter them.
The War Memorial seems a fitting place to honor them. After all, the memorial offers tribute to those who gave their last full measure in defense of the nation. Those plaques that surround the garden contain the names of the fallen from the Texas Panhandle dating back to the Spanish-American War of 1898.
When you think about it, those are the names of first responders of another kind. They went to war. They fought and died in defense of the nation they all loved.
I admit to being not as faithful in expressing my own gratitude to first responders — the firefighters, police officers, the emergency medical techs, the military personnel. We see them all the time. My wife and I — on occasion — have paid for service personnel’s meals.
But we all ought to extend a hand when we encounter, say, firefighters shopping for groceries at the supermarket or police officers having lunch. You get the idea.
They perform a unique service to the public they serve. They run toward danger when it presents itself.
I am left to use this forum to offer a simple two-word salute, which I know is insufficient.