Stay vigilant, stay safe – and never forget

I can only imagine how the families of our 343 fallen FDNY brothers must feel today

For those involved in responding to, and recovering from, the tragic events of 9/11, it was especially rewarding to watch President Obama's speech last night announcing the death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden through the skillful work of our intelligence community and Special Forces Command.

I can only imagine how the families of our 343 fallen FDNY brothers must feel today, along with the many survivors of those lost at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pa.

I know we can all join together and appreciate the men and women in uniform who went to war to avenge their deaths and help prevent future attacks on American soil.

At the same time, we must recognize that we're still at war; with an adversary that has proven capable of adapting its strategy, tactics, and organization time and time again.

We know that firefighters — along with our brothers and sisters in EMS, law enforcement, emergency management, and emergency communications — remain integral to the defense of our homeland from both foreign and domestic threats.

Let's all celebrate this heroic achievement, but remember to stay vigilant, stay safe, and most of all ... NEVER FORGET!

About the author

With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.

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