THE SHIFT Remembering Lt. Ed Walsh, Mike Kennedy Boston Fire Department: EOW 4-1-14

PHOTO: Larry Richardson
Funeral of Boston Fire Lt. James Walsh


By: John MacDonald

The shift began that fine summer’s day

He arrived on time not a moments delay.

Tactics on his brain and was considered the best

Of all of the men who wore the same badge on their chest.

He labored and trained with all their support

Loving his friends as his family, their station, their fort.

The fire, the battle, of which all of them waited

Rely on your buddy, independence they hated.

 The alarm was their warning For which they waited and sprang

Sirens, bugles and bells That echoed as they rang.

He was the one they respected and admired the most

Legendary blazes he battled, they called him the ghost.

 That day was not long, So clear and so crisp

As the alarm rang they sprung into action,

some pumping their fist…

The engine was clean and shined in the sun

His crew on the ready, second to none…


Arriving on scene the building ablaze 

His crew rushed through the door for all to amaze.

He led them to rescue young children, woman and men

Twenty then fifty, perhaps one hundred and ten…

 All was thought to be rescued as the building weakened and swayed

He cleared the building of his crew, and suddenly he stayed.

For he heard a faint voice from the end of the hall

Where did it come from? He thought they rescued them all.

The fire it rose and deafened his senses

His father appeared and they mended their fences

Walking along a cool stream where they sat and they sipped

Discussed his final walk and the end of his trip…

He was asking his maker for one final call

Allowing him one more rescue of the girl down the hall.

 Her prayer it was answered and outside she arrived

Coughing and hacking, not dead…

…yes alive.

At the end of the fire, the scene, yes his grave

At half mast the flag would soon wave.

All they found of him, his helmet, some hose and a boot.

Most of it found, by his stations new recruit…

 The firehouse in black, his locker the alter, his bench the pew

All that prayed, so many he knew.

The bagpipes they played, the parade, the procession

All that took notice they learned a hard lesson.

It was they that he told, you should never turn back

For in a flash of an eye you may slip through the cracks.

 Answers they seek, for their brother they sift

Wishing that day, he came home from his shift.