Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Honors Fallen Houston Firefighters

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Wednesday, June 05, 2013  •  Austin, Texas  •  Speech

Days like today are difficult.

Events like this one are painful, but also necessary.

It's our duty to honor these four individuals; four people who sacrificed everything in service to their community.

It's our responsibility to offer what comfort we can to those closest to them to convey to them our deepest sympathies, along with the pride and profound respect we have for their lost loved ones.

It's our time to send our prayers and best wishes to their fellow firefighters who were injured in this fire, including those still hospitalized from their wounds.

I certainly don't have to tell anyone who's here today about our responsibilities. You all understand the magnitude of this loss, just like those who battle fires understand that flames don't discriminate.

It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned veteran or a fresh graduate of the academy, working just your second fire.

Firefighters understand that you can follow every safety rule and prepare and train until the correct procedure is second-nature, but if you're in the wrong place, in the wrong fire, tragedy can still strike.

That's what makes firefighters so extraordinary.

They go to work every day with that understanding and still rush toward the danger everyone else flees.

While always respecting the fires they fight, they shut out their fear and boldly march into harm's way to save lives, save homes, and preserve livelihoods.

In so doing, they give people a second chance to be with loved ones at holidays, birthdays, graduations and weddings.

In short, they give people a second chance at life.

It's hard to imagine a world without such individuals.

Even in our nation's darkest moments, the dedication of our first responders shines for all to see, and it's as inspirational as it can be heart-breaking.

Our fire stations, our police precincts and our hospitals are staffed by people who, at some point in their lives, were inspired by the nobility, and the importance, of public service.

Maybe their inspiration was public, such as the events of September 11th.

Or maybe it was a much more personal event; seeing firefighters respond quickly to a neighborhood fire, perhaps, or witnessing an EMT saving the life of a grandparent.

Wherever such dedication comes from, it's a blessing for us all.

That dedication drives them to greater heights of service, helping make a better, safer world.

It certainly drove the four individuals we honor today.

To those mourning loved ones, please know that their sacrifice and their selflessness will continue to inspire future generations of firefighters.

And, in that important way, they will continue saving lives for many years to come.

May God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the Great State of Texas.


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