Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dedicating a Fire Engine

Another new experience today - dedicating a new fire engine (or fire 'appliance' in today's jargon) at Welshpool's Fire Station. My invitation to the dedication came from Brenden, the Watch Manager (proper title for the local Station Manager) via the Mayor of Welshpool. After the prayer's and Bible readings, I was invited to contribute to the proceedings. I had not anticipated being asked to speak, so was scratching my head searching for something appropriate to say. At the last second I had a brainwave.
Began by describing an appearance on a Welsh language radio programme called 'Beti a'i Phobl' (Beti and her people) which is a sort of 'Desert Island Discs'. I was required to choose four of my favourites. One of the tracks I chose was 'Into the Fire' by Bruce Springstein. He wrote it as a tribute to the firefighters who risked (some of whom sacrificed) their lives after the New York Twin Towers were rammed by terrorists. At the time, I'd thought of it as being akin to entering the operating theatre for my 'lower bowel re-section', not feeling certain about re-emerging afterwards. Anyway, it was an event that raised the appreciation of firefighters across the world. No matter how careful the Watch Manager is, firefighting is a dangerous business - and most of them in the photograph are volunteers. Like our soldiers in Afghanistan, they deserve the best equipment we can provide. Brave boys. Nice Appliance. Firefighters 'tea and sandwiches' to follow.


TCOAH said...

It's kind of a funny-coincidence that you refer to Fire Stations and volunteer fire-fighters. I travel a new route to my office and I pass a really smart looking fire-station in Fairfax County, Virginia (northern VA, just west of Washington, DC). Many of the Fairfax fire-fighters are volunteers and boy do they love their work. Their appliances are often visible from the road and it’s plain to see that the fire-fighters take great pride in their engines. They are sparkling clean (unlike my car) and bristling with keenness. Does that make sense? The engines look as keen as the fire-fighters who fuss over them. I get the impression that the level of camaraderie is extremely high. They save many lives often at great risk to themselves. They are professionals; many of the fire-fighters in northern VA were called on to attend the fire at the Pentagon on ‘911’.

Anonymous said...

Glyn's choice of song was apt, and the 9/11 was bought to mid wales to me personally, by association. I spent some months in Edmonton Alta Canada in 1993, friends husband was a paid firefighter, as so met some of his shift colleagues when my friend was at work . Hung out at the local sports bar, went out to eat, bowl etc.......heard one of the guys had moved back to N.Y N.Y as his elderly mother needed support.....two days later on 9/14 my friend called from Canada to say Dave had gone into one of the towers but never came out......brings thing close to home.......that song holds great significance for me too.
sometimes i think we take forgranted the volunteers in this country that do so much for nothing..except occasionally some thanks and gratitude.

tcoah - life in the Chicago lane said...

When 9/11 happened it had a deep impact all over the States. In Chicago just west of the elevated track "Loop" there was great concern that Sears Tower would be hit by the missing United Airlines flight. United Airlines had their major hub at Chicago's O’Hare airport.

I lived and worked just five minutes or less walk west of Sears Tower. So I had nowhere to retreat to. Offices drained of staff, everybody headed home. My home was across the street on the 42 floor of Presidential Towers (tower 2) on West Madison.

Tom, a good friend (we were class buddies, attending law school part time at DePaul - East of Sears Tower) told me to head out to his place in Park Ridge - just within Chicago's city limits; but I felt a bit awkward about that, he was married to a GP and had kids, I felt I would be intruding even if it was an emergency - I figured if the worst came to the worst I would get my bike out of storage and cycle 30 miles or so west to stay with my ex-in-laws, they were family to me and I knew I would not be intruding, they would take me in at a drop of a hat. But I made a mental calculation that even if Sears was hit, it would not fall like the World Trade Center Tower (at that point only one WTC tower had collapsed, the second one did so while I was on the phone with Tom).

I knew my mum back in Cardiff would be very worried and I tried to ring home, but the international lines to the UK were not working. It was very bad, it seemed like the sky was falling in with iconic buildings collapsing with thousands dead, the Pentagon on fire, and a missing plane.

Every plane was ordered to land - I could see one of Chicago's airports from one side of my apartment - airliner after airliner was landing, and none taking off.

I walked to the front of my lounge and looked right up at Sears expecting the missing airliner to fly into it. It never came. News came that it had crashed in a field in PA.

I heard from friends who worked in Sears Tower that there was a mass evacuation, but no panic.

Thousands of people streamed out of the building. The nervousness came later, when workers returned to their desks and businesses in Sears Tower.

People needed their jobs to pay bills.

Life had to go on.


Glyn Davies said...

TCOAH - Probably same the world over.

Anon - Its the second track on 'The Rising'. Didn't think anyone else would have known about it. Don't remember it getting much airtime. Its a very emotional track for me

Welsh Connection said...

"After the prayer's and Bible readings,"

Is Powys now a theocracy?