Military Gear & Army Surplus Gear Blog

Why we shine our boots

Why we shine our boots


It’s once again time to shine my boots
sadly it isn’t for more marching practice or general maintenance. My boots
are actually in decent shape right now. We’ll be gathering our members together
to attend yet another emergency responder line-of-duty death funeral. A
funeral to celebrate the life of someone taking too soon on one of those routine
calls. I used to dread shining my boots especially since joining the CFD Honour
Guard. I didn’t grow up going to cadets, scouts, or much of anything that, that
required really spiffy looking boots. Shiny boots properly is a recently
acquired skill for me. I’m still not great at it compared to some of my
co-workers, who have a military background, but they’re starting to look better with
practice, and a lot of patience. I was told early on as a fire recruit, that
immaculately shined boots was a demonstration of the respect and
professionalism we have for our careers, our co-workers, and the flashes sown in
our uniforms that we wear each day with great pride. This didn’t really make much
sense at first, since this often tedious task seemed more like a punishment for
bad behavior. However, it is satisfying watching each gentle circle of matte
black wax turn glossy over time. A nice beverage or two helps make the process
less tedious. We were instructed that rushing the polishing process looks
terrible and is evident to the trained eye even from a distance. Take your time,
is a chance to reflect. To reflect on what I didn’t understand at first. My
career so far has been stellar. I found myself in many situations that have
helped broaden my knowledge and skill set in this ever-changing job. I go to
work conference in my training, and my abilities, and never doubt the competence
of the person sitting in the truck beside me. Sure there have been a few
hiccups along the way, but for the most part calls have gone according to plan.
Sadly we hear all too often about our friends and colleagues being taken too
soon during routine calls. No one ever expects a routine call to go sideways so
quickly and without warning. No one goes to work in the morning, expecting the
roof they are ventilating to collapse. No one expects an out-of-control car on the
highway to veer towards them unexpectedly. No one expects a person who is looking
to seek retribution on an unsuspecting authority figure to attack them
unprovoked. No one thinks that this morning was their last time seeing their
husband, wife, or kids. This is the unfortunate reality for Police Fire EMS
and military personnel. I’m fairly certain I’m not the only person in the
emergency services world that uses boot shining time as an opportunity to
reflect on family, friends, and coworkers. I sometimes smile when I think about the
calls that went smoothly, but I know that any one of those routine calls had
potential to end very differently and without warning. Tomorrow there will be
hundreds of uniformed personnel standing at attention along the parade route for
a man that many of us have never met, myself included. And although most of us
will never be placed in a situation that compares to what our fallen brother
experienced that fateful day. We collectively share the utmost respect
for someone who simply showed up to do his or her job, to help keep the rest of
us safe. This is why we shine our boots.


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