Lieutenant Firefighter Edward J Walsh and Firefighter Michael R Kennedy: May God embrace you for your consummate selflessness. May God embrace you for loving your neighbors so truly–so genuinely–that you were willing to sacrifice your physical beings for their safety.
Lieutenant Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy made a sacrifice that we refer to as “the ultimate sacrifice.” Upon reflection of the phrase “ultimate sacrifice”, multiple virtues are conjured up: valor; courage; duty and devotion; heroism; selflessness. But Walsh and Kennedy’s sacrifice–the sacrifice of their physical beings–is ultimately an act of love. The sacrifice of one’s life to protect the life of another is the most supreme act of love.
Thus, Lieutenant Firefighter Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy, left this world with love in their hearts. There is no doubt that their immortal souls are now in God’s serene embrace. They loved their neighbors, and demonstrated their love by putting their lives on the line on a daily basis in order to protect them. Walsh and Kennedy lived in accordance with Christianity’s Greatest Commandment: “Love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than this.” Therefore, there is no doubt as to the current heavenly state of their immortal souls. In this state, they await to be reunited with grieving loved ones.
We must be ever-mindful that their loved ones also made numerous sacrifices: Every time Walsh and Kennedy left home to go to the firehouse, the Walsh and Kennedy families sacrificed their peace of mind. Despite their worriment, they supported Walsh and Kennedy’s calling to protect the city and its inhabitants. Their unwavering support of their firefighter, and their willingness to sacrifice their peace of mind for the safety and protection of the people of Boston, demonstrates their love of neighbor. Moreover, we must recognize that the relatives, friends, and girlfriends (Kennedy had planned to propose to his girlfriend on May 11–Lilac Sunday) that surrounded Lieutenant Edward Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy had a tremendous influence on the type of men they were: heroes–men willing to sacrifice everything for their fellow man.
In a society in which selfishness is rampant–a society in which selfishness is hailed as a virtue by some–the selflessness of Kennedy and Walsh has given people faith in the human race again. Their sacrifice–their ultimate sacrifice–is a testament to the goodness of humanity. There are still those who choose selflessness over selfishness. There are those who measure success not by assessing all the material goods and money one possesses, but by assessing the virtues of goodness one possesses. There are still heroes out there. There are still virtuous people out there. There are still people who truly love their fellow man. Lieutenant Firefighter Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy, confirm that such people still exist. Not only did they save lives, but they also renewed our faith in the human race. Lieutenant Firefighter Walsh, Firefighter Kennedy, you will never be forgotten.