Mr. Speaker, firefighters are a special brand of people. When others are fleeing burning buildings, firefighters suit up and charge head first into the searing infernos and blackening smoke, not stopping until that beast is tamed. They go where others fear to tread.

   In Charleston, South Carolina, on Monday night, firefighters were called to a blaze at a local furniture store. As they were trained to do, they entered the engulfed building. Moments later, without warning, the roof of the furniture store collapsed, trapping and killing nine firefighters.

   Last night, at 7:00 p.m., 24 hours after the tragedy, at 30,000-plus fire stations across the plains of America, firefighters stood in reverent silence for their brothers. This devastation in Charleston is the single greatest sacrifice of American firefighters since 343 of them were killed on September 11.

   This Nation's firefighters are ordinary citizens armed with extraordinary bravery and dedication to the public. When danger occurs, most run from the danger, but America's firefighters are not like most. They run to the danger.

   And that's just the way it is.