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When a fireman leaves the "job" and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder.
We wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know.
We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times.
We know in a fireman's life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet.
We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life.
We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is. These are the burdens of the job.
You will see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the fire service world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing.
Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the "job" and merely being allowed to leave "active" duty.
So what I wish for you, is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.
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