Welcome to my page of quotations for First Responders Day which is on October 28th, or just to say thanks to these important and special people any day of the year! We truly appreciate our firefighters, police officers, EMTs, paramedics, 911 operators, dispatchers, search and rescue teams, emergency services personnel, security guards, military, law enforcement, nurses, doctors, lifeguards, and public safety officials. You make our lives and our communities so much better with your selflessness and brave service.
Real heroes don’t wear capes. Real superheroes wear uniforms and badges and stethoscopes! ~Dean Cain, 2018
I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine. ~Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007)
How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she‑roes! ~Maya Angelou
Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls. ~David Thomas, as quoted in Tryon Edwards, A Dictionary of Thoughts, 1891
Courage can’t see around corners, but goes around them anyway. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
You may not have saved a lot of money in your life, but if you have saved a lot of heartaches for other folks, you are a pretty rich man. ~Seth Parker, quoted in Herbert V. Prochnow, 1000 Tips and Quips for Speakers and Toastmasters, 1962
It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. ~Tom Brokaw, unverified
Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him. ~Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965)
I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise
Of ordinary people leading ordinary lives
Filled with love, compassion, forgiveness and sacrifice
Heaven’s in our hearts
~Tracy Chapman, “Heaven’s Here On Earth,” New Beginning, 1995 ♫
Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone who has done a lot for you. ~G. B. Stern, Robert Louis Stevenson: The Man Who Wrote ‘Treasure Island,’ 1954
Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim. ~William Feather, The Business of Life, 1949
So many friendly things are done
In this good world ‘twixt sun and sun
That, do our kindest day by day,
We cannot half our debt repay.
~Oliver Marble Gale (1876–1943)
One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind. ~Malayan proverb
The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~Knight’s Treasury of Illustrations by Walter B. Knight, 1963 [Knight “gleaned from a wide variety of sources” for his treasury. I’ve seen this quotation attributed to Jack Herbert, quoted 1966; Mae Maloo, quoted 1975; and John E. Southard, quoted 1977.
Wishing good, merely, is a lukewarm charity; but doing good is divine. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher’s Stone, 1882
Hug a firefighter and feel warm all over. ~Author unknown
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice [V, 1, Portia] [Or the 1971 David Seltzer Willy Wonka’ized version: “So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
Some find their heroes ’mid the battle’s strife;
The greatest heroes are in private life.
~Simeon Carter (1824–1911), Poems and Aphorisms: A Woodman’s Musings, 1893
How beautiful a day can be
When kindness touches it!
~George Elliston, Cinderella Cargoes, 1929
If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life. ~Author unknown
You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give. ~Anonymous, 1940s
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pike, 1860
Every action of your life touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. ~Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814–1880), “Address to the Young”
The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden under ground, secretly making the ground green… ~Thomas Carlyle, “Varnhagen von Ense’s Memoirs,” 1838
Have you had a kindness shown,
Pass it on.
’Twas not given for you alone,
Pass it on.
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another’s tears…
Be a star in some one’s sky,
He may live who else might die,
Pass it on.
~Rev. Henry Burton, “Pass It On,” 1898
People are made of flesh and blood and a miracle fibre called courage. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
If you do a good job for others, you heal yourself at the same time, because a dose of joy is a spiritual cure. ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, unverified
No joy can equal the joy of serving others. ~Morarji Desai (1896–1995)
Cousin Hobson: Things are so soon forgotten; a brave act grows out of date.
Agatha: A brave act is never out of date.
~G. M. Robins, “The Weirdale Assize,” The Relations and What They Related, 1902
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point… ~C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, 1942
A brave arm makes a short sword long enough. ~French proverb
Optimism is the foundation of courage. ~Nicholas Murray Butler, unverified
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ~Gilbert K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908
The police officer who puts their life on the line with no superpowers, no X‑Ray vision, no super-strength, no ability to fly, and above all no invulnerability to bullets, reveals far greater virtue than Superman — who is only a mere superhero. ~Eliezer Yudkowsky, “Superhero Bias,” 2007
When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? ~George Canning (1770–1827)
No one is useless in this world… who lightens the burden of it for any one else. ~Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, 1865 [This anonymously greeting-card’ized version has been making the rounds since about 2008: “No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another. Thank you.”
I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom. ~Author unknown
But sound aloud the praises, and give the victor-crown
To our noble-hearted Firemen, who fear not danger’s frown.
~Frederic G. W. Fenn, “Ode to our Firemen,” 1878