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As another 4th of July comes to bear, seeming to arrive even faster than the previous, it is often hard to find time to pause and reflect. As the rains moved into the East End tonight and the men rushed to the flag pole to keep the high flying red, white and blue from feeling a drop of water, I found myself in a rare moment of reflection. From previous entries it is pretty apparent where I stand on military appreciation and their role in what freedom we experience today. Although in the military, much like the fire department, you have those that do and those that wear a shirt that says they do, its a fairly safe bet that if 235 years ago a group of men hadn’t gotten tired of societies bull shit we wouldn’t be where we are today. I often find myself wondering, as I listen to the daily gripes of modern societies simpletons, if we could endure a similar struggle and come out on top. Could our politically correct world of “everybody gets a trophy” (Courtesy of Scott Kraut) and the “Job Corps” that has become government employment weather the storm of individual hardship without a finger to point blame or someone to listen even if you did? 

When feeling particularly cinical and unmotivated I like to play a certain scene from “A Few Good Men” as a pick me up.

This clip always seems to lift my spirits, that is until I realize that 95% of society side with Tom on this issue, while I on the other hand side with the decorated Col. Jessup. But as a society we have accepted mediocrity from our members despite how many other lives that impacts. But that’s another topic for another day.

Here is a short story I wrote for of which I am particularly proud to have been a part of and always brings the reality of this great Country back to my mind.

Camp Leatherneck and the East End DCFD

On November 10th, 2010 on the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corp and with Veterans Day approaching, the members of Engine 30 and 17 Truck received a very fitting email from our troops overseas. A little over a month prior the members of “The Heights” sent over a little “sign” of support for 9th Engineer Support Battalion of the USMC as well as all of our troops fighting for our Country abroad. The sign (shown below) included the company patches of the proud East End crews as well as the formally recognized patch of the District of Columbia Fire Department. The sign was sent to Cpl. Stephen J. Fennell, son of Truck 17 # 1 Lieutenant Stephen Fennell, and his fellow Marines on the grounds of Camp Leatherneck in Helmond Province, Afghanistan. See the attached picture of the brave Marines sporting the sign of support. The sign was hung in the weight room of Camp Leatherneck for the remainder of their deployment. The banner served the men as a constant remainder of the world they were protecting and the pride the crew from the East End and the rest of the DCFD has in their efforts to protect our freedom. Thankfully, the sign returned home along with the unscathed Cpl. Fennell and the rest of the 9th Engineer Support Battalion. One of the 1st stops Cpl. Fennell made when he returned stateside was to the quarters of Engine 30 to express his gratitude for our support and to share a well deserved meal with the crew. To all the members of the US Armed Services proudly serving our Country home and abroad, the members of “The Heights” and the entire District of Columbia Fire Department, we extend our deepest gratitude for your service. Semper Fidelis.

Cpl. Fennell safely home again

Regardless of individual struggles with society each of us may endure on a daily basis, it is the fine men and women of the Armed Services like Cpl. Fennell and Cpl. Kirk J. Bosselmann that have afforded us the right to worry about small issues that seem so big from under the blanket of freedom. Just say thank you and be on your way, otherwise I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post!

Happy Independence Day!