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Father - Thomas S. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Since the terrorist attacks, my life has changed dramatically. Yes, I am an American,but the crashes and mass loss of life really hit home because my dad is afirefighter.

Being the son of a fireman can be the greatest! I see my dadin the local newspaper all the time, and I know he is out there saving lives.Unfortunately, there are lots of down sides. Living with the fact that yourfather may not come back from work is a silent reminder of how dangerous his workis.

I used to love the firefighters and how they rode the big red trucksand wore all those neat clothes. And for fun, all I could really think about wasthe fire pole. I used to watch them slide to the ground as if it took no skill atall. Then I tried and tried, but never succeeded, getting only blisters on myhand. My dad would let me play around at the station just about every day. Theother firefighters were like my family, always joking around, helping me up intothe fire truck, and even letting me honk the horn during parades. I wanted tohang out with them all the time. I wanted to be just like them.

As I grew,my ideas on firefighting began to change. I had a mind of my own, but oneinfluenced more by friends than family. I still wanted to become a firefighter,but now I knew of the demanding skills and energy it took.

Sometimes myfather would come home in the morning and after a muffled "Hey," he wassound asleep in bed. I got upset because my day had just started and I wanted todo something. Yet, every time I begged, his response was the same, "Maybelater. Just let me get a couple of winks." Then Mom came in, saying,"Dad was up five or six times last night, so let him get some rest." Ihated this, but went along and gave him time to sleep.

Yesterday, myfather came home from the station around 9 a.m., an hour later than usual. As Ientered the kitchen, I overheard my parents' conversation.

"Was itthat bad?"

"Yeah, the poor baby had died by the time we gotthere."

"Oh ... how did it happen?"

"We thinkthe mother rolled over on her. Who knows where the fatherwas."

"Did you try CPR?'

"Yep. We slapped the babyon the back once to see if we could get any sort of respiratory response butblood started dripping from the mouth. That's when the mother lostit."

While I listened to the horrible story, I realized my dad hasdone this for years! He's seen this sort of thing dozens of times, things thatwould make others break down. I wonder why he ever wanted to be a firefighter? Infact, why would anyone want to be?

As I listened, I felt an entirely newrespect for my father. Firefighters are bold, courageous people who risk theirlives for anyone, whether it's the President or a drug dealer. They are willingto do their job, no matter the circumstances. They are part of an elite squad ofheroes whom millions of Americans give their trust to in times of turmoil.

These are ordinary people, with bills to pay and children to watch asthey grow. Yet, they would give all that up for someone they don't even know. Mydad is a hero, living life to the fullest while helping others do the same.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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