There's a reason why these types of jobs have such a high divorce rate. Its hard on those left behind, on those who can't go on the adventure - or suffer through the daily grind - to watch the one they love the most complete the challenges set before him with the attitude of 'all in a day's work.' I'm incredibly blessed in the fact that my firefighter listens to and calms my fears, answers any questions I have, and never keeps secrets from me - and that's the rule we've had since he was a Police officer.
If you know a man, woman or couple who are in either of these fields, before you start criticizing their work field or decisions, get to know them and their challenges. Offer support and encouragement. They need it. They know they make mistakes. They know they are ostracized by media and the culture. What they don't know is who to trust, how to ask for help, how to beg for forgiveness, where to find friendship outside of the brotherhood their occupation sometimes provides.
Its so easy for us to nitpick. Why is it so hard to offer encouragement?
September 11th, the honor and sacrifice that day contained, the heroism that was displayed by so many will never be forgotten. But all of those men and women were ordinary people that had, up to that point, been almost invisible in today's culture - especially when it came to the media. And now on the news, whenever you hear of police officers or firefighters, its generally to criticize their decisions or paint them in horrible hues. But they have that same heroism that we all appreciate when its our lives on the line.
Don't wait until the next crisis hits to show your appreciation. Be a hero to our silent hero's and give support and encouragement today. Have the courage to end the mean conversation towards them. Learn about their job, ask questions and maybe some of the things they do will make more sense.
September 11th will always be a day in history. But if we learn from it and let it teach us the value of our fellow citizens, it can be so much more.