Last Friday, two Colerain Township Firefighters (northwest side of Cincinnati) were killed while fighting a house fire. While the details are sketchy at best, yet, it appears that they entered the house to search for anyone still inside. While searching, there was 'a catastrophic structural failure' that either sent them tumbling to the basement or had the first floor collapse on them while in the basement. Either way, sad, as it has come to light that all the occupants had gotten out safely. (I think just a couple.)
The city has been in mourning since, and heartfelt well wishes have been pouring in from around the country, as well as from overseas.
On top of this, the only soldier who had been listed as MIA in Iraq was also from the Cincinnati area. His body was recently found and identified.
To say that the bright sunshine of spring has been tempered by dour feelings is an understatement.
Today, the two firefighters (one the first female captain of the department) will be laid to rest after a dual Funeral Mass at the Cathedral. There is an expected crowd of 5,000. The issue is that the Cathedral only sits 1,000 in the main Church, plus potentially another 1,000 in the undercroft. The plaza out front will be wired for sound to help with the overflow.
In reading the reports from the paper over the last few days, what has struck me is the bond between those in public service. In today's paper, there was a report of a retired EMT who has deeply felt the loss of a brother and sister, even though she never knew them.
I feel much the same way for a brother priest. When I hear of a priest who dies an untimely death, I sense the loss of a brother. When someone injuries a brother priest, I feel that injury. In soe analogous way, I understand and empathize with what the firefighters here in this area are suffering and grieving.
As another aspect, my uncle (mom's brother) is Chief of the volunteer department of my hometown. He was on scene a few years ago in a neighboring village when two or three firefighters were killed in an explosion. It was difficult for him, as for the entire community.
As always, pray for those who protect others, whether spiritually or physically.