Why a fire dept. uniform is the greatest in the world

It's not the uniform, it's the person wearing it who makes it more than just cotton, stitches, patches and polyester


By Michael Morse

“It's not the uniform, it's the person wearing it who makes it more than just cotton, stitches, patches and polyester.”

That little gem of insight came to me yesterday as I drove to work while listening to the Red Sox spring training game. Tim Wakefield was in the booth talking between pitches. I found myself lost in a bit of nostalgia as they talked about the World Series wins, knuckleballs, the records, and the joy of baseball.

(Photo/Los Angeles County Fire Department)
(Photo/Los Angeles County Fire Department)

Tim mentioned how they make rearview mirrors small and windshields big, and how driving while looking backward is not such a great way to go, because the view forward is so much more interesting. I had to laugh as I checked my own mirror and windshield and agreed with the old knuckleballer.

When Tim said that he was proud to wear the greatest uniform in the world I gave an automatic cynical chuckle, and thought how delusional sports stars are, when people in "real" uniforms patrol our streets, fight our fires, respond to medical emergencies, and protect our country.

Heroes.

Uniforms.

Sports stars?

Cops. Soldiers. Firefighters. EMTs and paramedics, now those are the real uniforms! Or maybe not. Maybe a sports star can be a hero, with just as much to give to the world as the "other" uniforms. Maybe their contribution to the world has just as much value, maybe not in a life and death way, but valid nonetheless.

I've gotten far more enjoyment watching sports, and have far more fond memories and great times surrounding a sports event than I ever did when surrounded by the police. (That only happened once or twice, and I didn't do it.)

People are people, and what they do is just as important to them as what I do is to me. If Tim Wakefield wants to believe that the Boston Red Sox uniform is the best uniform in the world, he deserves to feel that way, and has every right to. Just like everybody else who wears their uniform proudly, be it the suit and tie, the scrubs, the machinist‘s dickies, the cook's whites, or a pair of pajamas.

We all have our own niche, and how we choose to live our lives and handle the daily grind is our own business, and if we choose to wear that uniform heroically, well, good for us!

I have chosen to wear the uniform of The Providence Fire Department. To me, that is the greatest uniform in the world, even when it's threadbare, torn, and dirty. I actually like it even better — might not be as crisp, but it suits me fine.

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