Thursday, September 06, 2007

Firefighter Paul Cahill's Funeral

From The Rev. Daniel J. Mahoney, chief chaplain of the Boston Fire Department, described Cahill and Payne in his homily as the "latest heroes in the long blue line.""Once more the muffled drumsOnce more the skirling pipes. Once more the tears. And once more the hymns," Mahoney said, looking out at Cahill's casket, draped in a white baptismal cloth. A firefighter's helmet adorned with the number 30 was laid at a table at his feet, next to a dress blue hat.
"How much sorrow can Paul's family suffer?" Mahoney asked. "How much pain can the Boston Fire Department endure?"
"The citizens of Boston know when the bell rings, when the box is struck, Boston firefighters -- like all firefighters -- respond, no matter the risk, no matter the cost," Mahoney continued. "But how grievous the cost is that brings us together here in Holy Name this morning."Having Father Mahoney as an important part of my life for nearly forty years now........I can hear those words in my head as I read them. Unless you have personally witnessed something like this, you can never know. Last June, when I attended Paul Barry's funeral, was when I realized this. I had seen funerals on TV. I remembered watching the coverage of the last Boston firefighter to die in a fire, Stevie Minehan. But to read about it, or to watch it on TV, is to scrape the surface. I struggled to describe how it felt and in the end, the word that came closest was - beautiful. "Awesome" comes close. Not in the way we use it now-a-days to describe something good, but as in something that fills you with "awe", to be awestruck.
You know, Paul's got a"straight ticket" to Heaven.
*the top photo is from and the rest are from AP via Yahoo news photos.*

1 comment:

AFSister said...

I'm late to the comment party... but I totally concur.

If you've never personally witnessed a firefighter's funeral procession, you should. They are amazingly solemn, beautiful, sad, proud, and quiet- except for the unmuffled sound of sobs.