DOVER, DE - With a heavy heart for the friends and families of the firefighters, police and paramedics who sacrificed their lives last Tuesday in a noble efforts to save others, Senator Tom Carper today delivered the following tribute to Delaware's volunteer firefighters and their auxiliaries at their yearly convention: "This convention is normally a joyous occasion, a time to reflect on the families you have saved, the children you have rescued, and the homes you brought back from certain destruction. In any other year, this is a time to gratefully express our appreciation to our firefighters and auxiliary members and to celebrate your service and what it means to Delaware. This is not any other year. This has been a week of profound sorrow and of national outrage. A deep sense of grief hangs over us today, like I've never seen before, clouding our happiness. We have witnessed this week one of the greatest tragedies in our nation's history. Our hearts and our prayers go out to the parents, to the spouses, and to the children of the aircrews and passengers aboard the aircraft that were hijacked, as well as to the families of those who worked at and perished in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Our hearts are particularly heavy for the friends and families of the firefighters, police and paramedics who sacrificed their lives in their noble efforts to save others. Figuratively, if not literally, they were your brothers and sisters. Just a few days ago, they were moms and dads to their own kids, sons and daughters to their own parents. Today, they are gone. And while they are gone now, their heroism and their selflessness lives on in the heart of every firefighter in the room and in this state. We will not forget those whose lives were lost in their service to others. Nor will we forget their families in our prayers for them, our support and comfort for them, and in our grim determination to track down and severely punish those who aided and abetted these terrorists and others like them in this country and on this planet. As we salute those firefighters who have fallen this week, let us stop for a moment and offer a prayer for the future. Our world is an increasingly dangerous place and our safety rests â€“ at least in part - in your hands - a new generation of men and women striving to uphold the standard of dignity and decency carved out by those who served before you. I want you to know that my heart was filled with pride when I learned in our nation's Capitol that, literally within hours of the tragic events in New York City, a convoy of dozens of emergency vehicles, with scores of Delaware emergency personnel on board, were en route to offer assistance. And whether those selfless men and women ever made it to the scene of so much carnage in Manhattan is not the point. The point is that they were willing to stop what they were doing at a moment's notice. They were willing to put their own lives on hold, leave their own families, and help those who needed help in the worst possible way. At some point, all of us need to look back and take stock of where we have been and where we are going. Have we lived our lives in the service to others, or merely for ourselves? Have we made clear our commitments and worked with purpose to fulfill them, or simply meandered in search of a cause? At the end of the day, can we say with confidence that we did our best and worked to our fullest potential? For you, our state's volunteer firefighters and the members of your auxiliaries the answers are clear. You live a life of service. You embody a commitment to excellence that serves as an example and an inspiration to us all. Whether working to protect those of us here in Delaware, or risking your lives to fight the raging wildfires of the West, or joining in that convoy to New York City, you prove to the nation time and again, that if a family is in trouble, if a fire threatens a home, if rising floodwaters endanger a child â€“ Delaware's volunteer firefighters will be there for us â€“ and for America - leading the way. We don't say it enough, but you will here it often today â€“ thank you. Not just as your United States Senator, but as a father, and a husband â€“ thank you. Thank you for protecting my family. Thank you for protecting our families. May God bless you, and our state, and our nation.