Reading of the Names
October 5, 2016
Guest Speaker: Marilyn Pfisterer shares the heartfelt words of Chief Keith Smith that resonates through all times.
Keith Smith Speech
October 1, 2008
I was asked to tell you want this monument, this memorial mean to me…because I have a history with this place and it has always guided me spiritually and emotionally.
You stand facing pillars of stone, with names of people on them. You will hear their names shortly. The stone columns are of course symbolic, representing strength and the names of people on them are the very foundation of our heritage. Who we are has been historically forged by them. They are our peers and they stand here to teach us.
Picture with me, those 74 men standing here in a line beside me. They are facing you.
All of them have something to say………it is a lesson and it is a lesson for you and me.
Many of their lessons are the same, but all of them are important. Here is the message……
I will speak for them.
Do not take your job for granted
Train often; train as if your life depended on it – it does
Never trust your enemy
Trust your gear but know it is not a failsafe
Know your limits; if your body tells you it is at its limit, it is too late
Believe what you see and hear but know you are not seeing or hearing it all
If you feel the enemy you must act by fighting or withdrawing
Never be alone
Look after your partner
Do not panic
If you think it is routine – it is not – be prepare for the non-routine
Beware of the building and its age
Changing conditions are a certainty
Do not underestimate your situation – always be aware
Caution and awareness are the same thing
If you think something isn’t right…..then something isn’t right
Experiences are lessons learned, both good and bad
Common sense is a practice
Safety is not a word but an action
Getting to the scene is dangerous…10 of those standing here did not get to the scene
Luck favors training and effort
What you don’t know will kill you
These are expensive lessons but paid for by these men. They do not ask for your sympathy……they ask for your attention.
These men, these columns – stand here to inspire you. Their job is not done and it will never be done as long as we do what we do. They are our spirit. We are the brains and brawn and energy. You will never be the firefighter you want to be without them as part of your soul. Their spirit is as much a part of me as is my training.
We have said we will not forget them so today let their names ring out and let their memories stand beside you tomorrow
God Bless you!