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My grandfather was a fireman, indeed he was the fire chief in Wilmington N.C. Here is a wonderful oxymoronic ice sculpture of a fire man. What makes this one especially poignant is that this is an image from 9-11 from a fireman involved in quenching the blaze at the World Trade Center and rescuing those that he could. Utterly exhausted, you see him here sitting down, holding the flag, and being held up by an angel.

This reminds me of an episode from my childhood that involved my grandfather and me. It was a hot humid summer night and the fire bell went off in his house in Wilmington in the wee hours of the morning. My grandfather jumped into his fire clothes and rushed down the stairs. The bell was so loud, and was next to my bedroom, and I had to be peeled off the ceiling when that thing rang. It would have awakened the dead. Grandfather jumped in the red cruiser with the light on top and head off to an apartment fire. I couldn’t sleep after that. This was B.C. (before air conditioning) and I was sticking to the sheets anyway.

Hours later he returned exhausted and smelling of smoke. I asked him what happened. He had gone into the blazing inferno and rescued a child upstairs, but not without having the floor collapse under him and him miraculously walk out the front door unharmed. I imagine that same angel was leaning on Pop that night.