Ever since I was little I have been in Uniform. I wore the uniform of youth and exuberance. I ran with my superman pajamas and nearly killed myself making that cape stand out. I was amazed at the Captain Kangaroo and Mr Green Jeans uniforms. I watched Combat and Mchale’s Navy and even Gilligan’s Island. They all had some sort of Uniform. I got my first real uniform with the Cub Scouts. Before you knew it there was Boy Scouts and a Full Dress Uniform. I watched JFK’s Funeral and marveled at the Uniforms and the Caisson. I was a part of the largest uniformed organization in the USA.
My Fire Department uniform started with the T-Shirt. Not a dress uniform but important none the less. That navy blue T-shirt with the Maltese Cross stated you were a part of the Brotherhood of Firefighters. You wee treated with just a little respect. A simple nod of the head. A blast from the air horn. The feeling of camaraderie. That is what we all want at times. A feeling of belonging, acceptance and even understanding. Just a little peek behind the curtain.
We all hope to get that chance. The Staff shirt. The All-Access pass. The Badge, the Star, The Stuff. The knowledge that gets you behind the curtain, Door, or backstage. Law Enforcement, Fire and Emergency Service, Military, Hospitals, and Dr’s and Nurses, all have the opportunity to open the closed door or push past the crowd. Most of the time we are just physically moving the barriers put in place so Humanity does not have to witness some of the Horrors of Life and Crime and War. Other times it is the glimpse into the deep darkness behind the facade we erect in our minds. Coping mechanisms we employ to continue to do our necessary duty to our Fellow man.
I caution all my new and existing firefighters. You cannot un-see what you may have seen. Your mind works so much faster than the eyes. I learned from a simple Learn to Learn class that we see images of thousands that are recorded by your brain. We may only remember a few but they are in that brain ready for recall. Smells and sounds attach themselves to the images and wait to be remembered.
A Peek behind the curtain was not really expected for Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz but it was necessary. The curtain could have contained the opposite of the small kind Wizard. Dorothy’s peek got her Home. We may find many curtains in our lives. That peek may bring the satisfaction of a job well done. It may lead to other curtains and deep dark secrets. The peek and glimpse of life in the service to others is filled with danger to self, family , and the Brotherhood. Let’s help each other!