Saturday, March 29, 2014

Once More Into The Blood-Streaked, Falling Sky

"Courage", the great Mark Twain once famously observed, "is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."  On the same subject Amborse Redmoon posited that, "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."  

By either Twain's definition or Redmoon's definition, Lt. Edward J. Walsh, Jr. and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy were men long on courage.  On Wednesday, these two were among the first members of the Boston Fire Department to respond to what would eventually become a nine-alarm inferno in the Back Bay.  While doing that which they loved to do and that which they were driven to, which was run at full speed into harm's way in order to save those already there, Lt. Walsh and FF Kennedy were killed.  And Boston, a great American city that has had to do more than its fair share of mourning these past twelve months, mourned yet again.  Two of its Bravest answered their last alarm.  

According to the Boston Globe, Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh, Jr. of Ladder 33 was a nine-plus year veteran of the Boston Fire Department.  Lt. Walsh's late father had been a lieutenant in the Watertown Fire Department, which is where Walsh the younger was raised.  Although Lt. Walsh initially pursued a career in finance, he ultimately responded to the call to become part of the "family business".  Not only was his father a lieutenant in the Watertown Fire Department but his late uncle Bill was too.  Lt. Walsh's cousin, Bill, is a captain in the Watertown Fire Department.  

Lt. Edward J. Walsh, Jr., forty-three years young, was married.  He is survived by his widowed bride and their three children - two sons and a daughter - all of whom are younger than ten.  

The Globe reported that Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy of Engine 15, who worked with Lt. Walsh at the Boylston Street Firehouse, joined the Boston Fire Department six-plus years ago.  FF Kennedy joined the Department after having served this country as a United States Marine, which service included combat duty in Iraq.  Last April, when terrorists bombed the finish line area of the Boston Marathon, FF Kennedy was among the first of the first responders on scene giving assistance to those in need.  He, himself, had been in training to run the 2014 Boston Marathon, which is less than one month away. 

When he was not on-duty, FF Kennedy enjoyed spending time helping others in a variety of ways.  He was a member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  He organized functions such as a mass blood donation/bone marrow registry sign-up by members of the Department for a six-year-old child from Rhode Island stricken with leukemia.  He was active in a motorcycle club, the American Infidels, which is densely populated with veterans such as FF Kennedy.  

Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, who was unmarried, was only thirty-three years old.

For Lt. Walsh and FF Kennedy, for their families and for their brothers and sisters of the Boston Fire Department, may our strength give them strength, may our faith give them faith, may our hope give them hope and may our love give them love in an amount at least equal to that which they gave it to - and for - the people of Boston.  People who they took a vow to serve and to protect and for whom they gave their lives in honoring that vow.


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