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Fire captain goes from red to rhetoric

Ryan Carter

Fire Capt. Bob Ramsey went from battling blazes in Burbank to the

halls of Congress this week.

For the past several years, he’s wanted to hear the State of the


Union address from the House of Representatives Chamber Gallery.

His wish came true Tuesday night, thanks to an invitation from

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).

He wound up a few rows behind First Lady Laura Bush, sitting next


to a congressman’s wife who gave him a lesson on the protocol for the

standing, clapping and sitting, as they listened to President Bush’s


“It had always intrigued me,” Ramsey said. “You see it and wonder

what it would be like to be part of it. It exceeded my expectations.”

As for the speech?

“I thought it was visionary, but I would like to have heard more

about solving domestic problems.”


Schiff extended the invitation to Ramsey when he wound up with an

extra ticket.

“We are given one ticket for our spouses for the gallery,” Schiff


“I thought it would be wonderful to offer it to one of our first

responders in our new war on terrorism.”

He had heard Ramsey really wanted to see the address.

His office contacted Ramsey, who flew to Washington, D.C., on



“It’s always a thrill to go to the State of the Union,” Schiff

said. “For one night of the year, it’s the greatest theater in the


To his surprise, Schiff said several other congressmen also

brought firefighters.

“Robert had a lot of company in the gallery,” he said.

Still, Ramsey touted the uniqueness of the event.

“It was an honor and a privilege to be there, and an experience I

will never forget,” he said.

“I mean, how many people do you know that have gone to one these


Reporter Ben Godar

contributed to this article.