( Written for FIRE AND WATER.)
In olden times, when the battle-field was the scene of glorious deeds, the bravery of our forefathe is was extolled in story and in song. They fought for freedom, the greatest heritage of man; they battled for their homes and native land; they faced the enemy, prepared to conquer or die in the struggle. The gory battle-ground, covered with the bodies of friends and foes, was a heartrending sight to the survivors. All honor to our gallant soldiers! None can, none will, question their noble work. Another picture presents itself. Men are battling again to save our lives and homes. They face danger in every conceivable shape without one thought, save that of duty to their fellow-men. They expect little or no reward, and in many instances find their expectations realized. The modern hero wears no epaulettes, and when death comes no monument is erected to the memory of one whose sole aim was to save the lives and property of his neighbor. A good, honest fireman is one of the truest men on God’s green earth. Night and day he is called upon to risk his life to save the homes of rich and poor. True it is that he receives pay for his labor, but how many citizens would take the place of a fireman for the amount paid monthly in any city ? Consider for one moment the danger to life and limb standing in his way. Falling walls, deadly electric wires, stifling smoke and roaring flames. Watch the fireman battling fearlessly with fire, and then answer whether heroes are only found where men meet to destroy and pillage. In every city and hamlet the born fireman awaits the call to duty. The reddened sky nerves him onThe foe has no terrors, and when a crushed and shapeless body is extracted from the ruins of a burning building, then the busy world pauses for a moment to pity the wife and family of a man who forgot everything but the safety of his fellow-men. ’Tis true that the chosen heroes of earth stood alone while those they labored for hurled at them contumely, scorn and contempt. Labor on, brave men ! Some day the true value of the protectors of our homes will receive proper appreciation.
Stand up erect! Thou hast the form And likeness of thy God ?—who more ?
A soul as dauntless ’mid the storm Of daily life ; a heart as warm
And pure as breast e’er wore.