Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"REMEMBERING" By Juliana Marie Valenzuela Shinn

Check out this amazing reflection on the events of the Salisbury Millworks Fire by Juliana Marie Valenzuela Shinn. This can be found on her Facebook Page - Titled
“Remembering”By Juliana Marie Valenzuela Shinn

Morning chores.
Truck check-off.
Heather calls to me.
Fear in her voice.
"Who was that?"
Someone called a May Day.
I wasn't scanning, I did not hear.
Portable on FG channel.
Other portable on Fire Dispatch.
Base on EMS Dispatch and scan.
Holding hands.
Ears straining.
An open mic.
Slow, steady breathing.
Attempts to raise.
No response.
Then a voice.
Yelling. "Get us out of here, we're burning up! Get us out!"
A call for RIT.
A call for EMS.
Unit enroute to the hospital.
Emergency traffic.
A second ambulance calling.
Have performed a cric.
CPR in progress.
Knowledge that one is lost.
A name?
No one knows.
Coyt's voice.
"A very somber response to Rowan Regional carrying one.
A second lost.
Our tones sound.
Out into the rain.
Teardrops diluted by raindrops.
One hand on the wheel.
One hand holding my partners.
A phone call.
A name.
Another call.
Two dead.
One badly injured.
We transport.
The scent.
The taste.
Smoke permiates the air.
A haze.
Red eyes.
Empty tissue boxes.
A closed door.
Two stand guard.
A brother is never left alone.
A closed door.
Two stand guard.
A brother is never left alone.
Do I want to see the cric?
We walk in together.
Hands clasped.Silent.
The door closes again.
Two stand guard.
A brother is never left alone.
Chief enroute to make notification.
In his eyes.
In his heart.
We stand in a circle.
The phone rings.
In a daze.
Auto pilot.
A heaviness.
An ache.

This is how I remember March 7th, 2008. Small flashes. The following week is harder to recall. Countless hours at the Fire Department. A baby named Victor. Four bottles of tire wet. Black bunting over red lights. So much food. No appetite. The procession taking Justin and Vic to Charlotte. A hero returns to his house. Injured. Alive. Applause. Prayer. The procession bringing them home again. This one much longer, the interstate closed. Crowded square. Flags flying and a firetruck, rescue truck, ambulance, patrol car on every overpass. The funeral. Apparatus farther than the eye can see. Trucks from Los Angeles, Alaska almost every state in the Union. School children with signs line the route. Flowers from Greece. Two geese flying. A lone piper. Amazing grace. The trip to New York. Apparatus on almost every overpass between Salisbury,NC and NY, NY. Spending my day at Millers Ferry FD to run medical calls. Watching them place equipment on their trucks. Hose where a casket lay days before. Remove the black bunting from the lights. Check back in service. Back to business as usual. Business will never be usual. A year later. Arm bands have faded from continual wear. Tattoos in honor. Apparatus and buildings dedicated. Say "The fire" and everyone knows which fire you are referring to. Like JFK or 9-11, where were you? What was your assignment? Your memory of the day? Always remember. Never forget. John 15:13.

Reprinted with Permission from Julie Shinn

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