The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center heightened our awareness of many important things but it was the first responders’ selfless commitment to saving the lives of others, at risk to their own that stood apart. Their actions drove home to the country at large that first responders live and work in every community with the same, but often unrecognized, commitment.
William S. Phillips is intimately familiar with this level of dedication; he was a firefighter before he became an artist. The events on 9/11 shook him to his core. “You become a firefighter because you are driven by a sense of community and purpose,” Phillips relates.
“Firefighters always have, and always will be, walking into that burning building looking to save lives.”
Bill’s approach to A Prayer for My Brother was that of a fellow firefighter from Oregon paying homage not only to those that died in service in New York City, but to firefighters throughout this country. He wanted this work to commemorate and support firefighters nationwide.
Since its initial release as a Fine Art Edition, William S. Phillips' A Prayer for My Brother has provided funds to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (www.firehero.org) in fulfillment of that goal. The organization’s mission is to honor and remember America's fallen fire heroes and to provide resources to assist their survivors in rebuilding their lives. “The self sacrifice continues in every corner of this country and beyond,” says Phillips.”Some of those men and women rushing into buildings today may have been only a child when 9/11 occurred. Still, it is the same spirit of community and purpose that drives these firefighters today as it did that fateful day in New York City ten years ago.”
When we first released A Prayer for My Brother, we really weren’t certain what the reaction to the image would be. We wanted to honor the sacrifice and loss in the way we knew best, through art. Perhaps we could raise some funds for The National Fallen Firefighters as well. We found Phillips’ art was not only embraced by the firefighting community, but by the communities in which those firefighters lived. Galleries and individual citizens purchased and donated the image to local firehouses. Some organized fund-raisers, auctioning off the privilege of donating the image to the local firehouse to raise funds for that town’s first response needs.
We encourage you to take the opportunity to let your local firefighters know you are a community that recognizes their commitment to the well being and safety of others by presenting them with a print or canvas of William S. Phillips’ A Prayer for My Brother.