Dr. Harry Carter
Dr. Harry Carter
Editors Column- Tuesday, Aug, 27, 2013

I Pledge Allegiance

My friends, it was my pleasure to be attend the 112 Annual Convention of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman's Association (CVVFA) in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago. My friends and I come together each year to do the important work of the association. We also come together to share in the joy of fraternal friendship. In addition, many are the hours which we pass comfortably ensconced in our lawn chairs. Many of us also share the joy of puffing on our collective, respective cigars. It is a time of friendship and relaxation.

The title for this visit with you comes from the opening ceremony at the Shippensburg Fireman's Activity Center when the gentlemen from the local American Legion Post brought the colors forward during our opening ceremony. As I stood there reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, I paused for a moment to ponder the meaning of those few short words. We say them so often that sometimes I feel that we are just going through the motions. But what is their true meaning? How many among the American population have completely forgotten the import of these special words?

Let us start by taking a look at those words and seeing just what conclusion each of us arrives at.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Just 31 short words. But oh what a meaning they have. Perhaps the best recitation of these words came in a 1969 recording by the late, great American comedy legend Red Skelton. In that recording he took great pains to explain the true meaning of those words to him. He spoke of his love for America and all of the blessings it has provided since its founding. He spoke of our greatness in coming together as a nation of many coming together as one. He spoke of the dedication of our forbearers to making this a great nation.

So too is it with our organization. That is, my friends, what we here in the CVVFA are all about. We come together from our many different worlds to create a strong organization, one dedicated to education and serving others through our highway safety educational effort. Our organization was founded to solve problems which were identified back in the early 20 Century. Mutual Aid issues in the Cumberland Valley and the development of a common hose fitting size were among the early issued addressed by the CVVFA. We have labored hard and long to make our part of America a better place to live. We have also reached out around the nation to spread the word about highway safety.

Today our efforts are directed to the world of safety out on the highways and byways of our great nation. We have been hard at work for more than a decade now and I'd like to point with pride at a number of our achievements:

  • We have worked very hard for the development of the retro-reflective highway safety vest regulations.
  • We labored mightily on behalf of including retro-reflective chevron striping on the rear of fire apparatus being made a requirement in the NFPA 1901 standard on motorized fire apparatus.
  • We championed including requirements in the NFPA 1001 Professional Firefighter Training standard which cover on highway safety training issues.
  • Our association had developed and presented numerous training classes conducted at a wide variety of locations across America.
  • We have developed the Responder Safety Training Network in order to train fire, police, EMS, and towing personnel in the use of proper highway operations.
  • Legislative efforts have been ongoing in order to broaden the impact of 'Move-Over' laws in America.
  • We have done a great deal of work with the U.S. Department of Justice to broaden our impact in the law enforcement world.
  • o We have spent a great deal of time and effort working with the towing industry to get our message out to the people who are operating towing vehicles throughout America.

Although it doesn't seem like we do a lot on any given day, a look back at the last 14 years tells a great story of what we have accomplished. However, when you add it all together, we sure have done a lot. Stay with us my friends because there is a lot more to do.

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