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As we slip into September this year we recognize the 15th anniversary of one of the most horrific days in the history of our great country. I think it’s fair to say that the significance of that day, and each anniversary that rolls along, is most profoundly felt by us – police officers and firefighters.
That day, more than any other time in our history, illustrated to the world what we already knew; that firefighters and police officers are very special types of people. People who, on a daily basis, willingly head into dangerous situations in order to protect the lives and property of our fellow citizens. The world found out what we already knew – police and firefighters lived together on the streets, worked together on the streets and sometimes died together on the streets. The world would call those members who gave all that day, and the rest of us via association, heroes.
I remember going to NYC a few weeks after that day to attend a couple of FDNY LODD funerals. The people of New York would stop us on the street and thank us for our service. It was a very somber, but very proud time to be first responders.
Unfortunately the memories of the politicians, and those of the general public, are very fickle and extremely short-lived. I wrote something a few months later on our union website, after coming back from NYC and another LODD funeral, warning my brothers and sisters to enjoy their revered status in our society because it was only a matter of time before we would be considered part of the problem once again as opposed to part of  the solution. It didn’t take long. Budget shortcomings, pension deficits, overtime spending…blamed on the greedy public unions.
Now segments of this country seem to be at war with the police, and again by association, anyone on the street in a uniform. It’s become of greater importance that we stand our ground and stick together. Cover our backs – police to firefighter, firefighter to police and retirees to active members. There is no other group that understands what we’re going through, what we’ve gone through and what we will go through in the future.
What is happening now on the streets is disgraceful! Many citizens, influenced by what the main stream media selectively report, truly believe the police are running roughshod over the rights of “innocent” victims. These same citizens are the ones who will vote for those politicians who want to strip us of our benefits. A group such as ours needs to be watchful of those who would take advantage of such sentiment to strip away the rights and benefits for which we sacrificed over the long, hard years of our careers.
As always – stay safe…and healthy! And have each other’s backs!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the monthly commentary “The Way I See It” are Tom Kenney’s and not necessarily those of The Providence Police & Firefighters Retirement Association.

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