Bravery is a strange concept which will mean different things to different people. 

Yesterday’s events in London will again highlight bravery. PC Keith Palmer stood at the gates of Westminster when he was attacked by Khalid Masood. 

PC  Palmer stood in the way of danger and paid the ultimate price for his act of bravery. 

Many people rightly acknowledged the bravery of politicians and pedestrians who stopped and offered assistance where possible. These acts are once off acts neccessary because of the extraordinary evil attacks. The bravery of PC Palmer was a part of his daily life as it is for every member of the emergency services. 

Tuesday 14th March saw an equally heroic display of bravery. Rescue 116 helicopter crashed while providing support in a rescue mission off the west coast of Ireland. Captain Dara Fitzpatrick was killed and the rest of her crew are still missing presumed dead. 

Captain Fitzpatrick and her crew risked their lives every time they responded to an emergency call. Just like PC Palmer, Captain Fitzpatrick paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the safety of others. 

Irish naval teams now stand ready to dive and hopefully recover the wreckage of the helicopter and the bodies of its crew members, Mark Duffy, Ciarán Smith and Paul Ormsby. Even this naval team must risk their lives to find answers for the families of rescue 116 but they are doing so willingly. 

Bravery comes in many forms and sadly we are seeing need for more and more bravery from our emergency services round the world. From doctors in Syrian hospitals and Afghan police to PC Palmer and Captain Fitzpatrick the world needs bravery to protect us from harm even if that means risking harm to themselves. 

World leaders will talk and praise the actions of their heroes and rightfully so but tomorrow or in six weeks, months or years a police officer will still stand in the way of harm or raise their gun in defence, a rescue team will still fly through rain and darkness to help those in need. 

It is not economics or budgets or accents or race which make people decent or a country what it is, it is the response of it’s citizens and the bravery of its heroes. 


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