Most U.S. citizens know about the bravery, courage and dedication of its firefighters. Such courage is on display every day in times of distress -- as evidenced in New York City's Twin Towers disaster of Sept. 11, 2001.
Across the border in Canada, citizens are equally proud of their firefighters, most of whom are volunteers. In fact, 85 percent of the firefighters in Canada are volunteers, protecting 80 percent of that nation's counties.
To recognize the stalwart efforts of their country's volunteer firefighters, Canada Post has issued a new 48-cent stamp. The main design features a firefighter carrying a child to safety during a raging fire. In the background are flames and dense smoke from a burning building.
The Canadian volunteers are well-trained in handling fires in high-rise buildings, shopping malls and industrial sites, as well as homes, farms and schools. In addition, they often tend to the injured at accident scenes, search for missing children and teach public safety.
Canadian officials say these firefighters spend many hours away from home performing their duties and their commitment is unparalleled in modern times.
The new Canadian 2003 stamp honoring the volunteer firefighters were made available Friday. Stamps and official first-day covers can be obtained from the National Philatelic Centre, Canada Post Corp., 2701 Riverside Drive, Suite NO141, Ottawa, KIA OB1.