What are you doing on Saturday 4th may

On Saturday 4 May this year I'll go to work as usual in my corporate attire. About 11: 50hrs I will take of my corporate shirt and pullover and put on my CFA operational uniform shirt and pullover to remind me, and anyone else that is nearby, that I am a Firefighter and for the next 15 minutes or so I'm going to remember my fallen colleagues and pray that those not yet taken from us will be granted the qualities of TACT, LOYALTY, DEXTERITY, OBSERVATION, SYMPATHY, EXPLICITNESS, GALLANTRY AND PERSEVERANCE that they require as the qualities of a firefighter.

At 11:58 hrs I will lower the flags outside to half mast and then walk back into the station, inhibit the paging system and on the stroke of 12 I will set off the siren for 30 seconds as a sign of remembrance. For the next minute I will think about Nar Nar Goon, Narre Warren, Panton Hills, Geelong West, some survivors I have and still know, the Memorial Drive and Plaques at Fiskville, September 11, those guys on that Royal Navy Ship that perished a few years back, I'll punch Uncle Dick Eason in the thigh like I used to, quickly cast a gaze around the Fire Services Museum, or maybe I'll just go outside a stare at the bell on top of the tower.

Toward the end of my one minute contemplation I'll thank St. Florian, our Patron Saint of Firefighters, for being there with me over the past 27 years, keeping me safe. Those that know me will understand that that I would not be here without his divine intervention on more than one occasion. Don't rush in where angels fear to tread! Who will look after us if St. Florian isn't there?

At about 12:03 hrs the flags will be returned to the top of the mast. I'll walk back into the station and redress into my chambray shirt and pullover with corporate logo, hang my uniform on the back of the door and go and make a cuppa.

It will take about 15 minutes of my life. I'm passionate about remembering and praying for all firefighters throughout the world be structural, wildfire, aviation, motor, forestry, industry or whatever field they are in. We often go through hell and we need assistance to bring us back.

30 seconds of siren followed by one minute of silence. Not much.

What will you be doing on Saturday 4 May 2002 at midday?

By; angus mair cfa brigade support officer, australia