OUR OPINION: ‘Protect and Serve’ doesn’t take a day off

Published 4:00 am Friday, March 31, 2023

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the term “First Responder” casts a broad shadow over many members of our community.

From the officer you pass on your morning commute to the firefighter who pulls your loved one from a burning building, first responders come in many forms. All too often, the first responder is someone we don’t consider — and certainly don’t offer words of thanks to — until we need their services.

They are the ones who answer the call, no matter the time or place. While they’re not outfitted like Superman in a flashy cape and tights, first responders are as close as you can get to a superhero in the real world.

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First responders in our community and beyond face the unthinkable every day — a sacrifice for which they’re not thanked nearly enough.

When the road is icy and your car lands in a ditch, our first responders are the ones who come to your aid. When your great-aunt has fallen and can’t get up, or when your father has breathing difficulties, we rely on our first responders to drop what they’re doing and save us.

When a tornado terrorizes your neighborhood, a pandemic comes knocking or even when you’re hurting and don’t know why, a first responder is the person designated to help you.

Even when we’re speeding and need a reminder to slow down (either in the form of a warning or a dreaded citation), it’s the first responders’ job to keep us from being a danger to ourselves and others. And if, God forbid, we wake to flames licking the walls one morning, it’s the first responder’s job to stop the blaze.

There is hardly a more noble calling than protecting the people of your community. The oath to “protect and serve” doesn’t make exceptions for holidays, rainy days, snow days or any other days in between.

In this day and age, with violence increasing, severe weather incoming and struggles abounding, our first responders have more responsibility on their shoulders than ever before.

The first responder doesn’t take a day off, and our gratitude for them shouldn’t, either.

Here’s to you, first responders. Thank you for keeping Vicksburg and Warren County safe.