To the people who run into burning buildings

Stopping in at the local firehouse and offering a quick word of appreciation wouldn’t be the worst idea we hear today, not after this half-week of reminders that there are people who go to work every day by running into the most horrific places that people are running away from.

It’s a fact we admit we forget until the club of orphans grows, as it did yesterday in Boston when two firemen died before our eyes — it was broadcast live — while saving dozens of lives.

“Citizens were saved, and that’s what we do. We sacrifice our lives for the citizens of the city of Boston,” said Richard Paris, president of Boston Firefighters Local 718 union, his voice quavering. “That’s what Firefighter Michael Kennedy and Lt. Eddie Walsh did today and I’m very proud.”

For most of us, our worst days at work don’t involve recovering the bodies of babies who were buried in a mudslide, as happened in Washington state.

Or dangle at the end of a ladder as a burning building is moments away from collapsing…

All the people watching that rescue in Houston this week seemed to think they were more expert at the art of rescuing people than the people who were actually doing it.

The construction worker and the two firefighters who saved him were interviewed this morning on NBC’s Today Show.

Related: Tracy man saves baby from a fire (KMSP TV)