The Vigilant Patch And Its Meaning
The Vigilant patch was first displayed on jackets and shirts worn by 30 Vigilant members who proudly paraded during the West Seneca Town Community Days, June 28, 2003. It contains a number of symbols and words, including some concealed in its meaning.
The outline of the patch was modeled after the New York Fire Department in remembrance of September 11, 2001 and the events that occurred that day. In particular, it honors the memory of 343 firefighters who unselfishly lost their lives while rescuing others from the burning towers.
Vigilant Fire Company, No. 1, Ebenezer, New York emblazed in a sunset gold represents the rich and colorful history of the fire company and the Ebenezer Community it has protected since its incorporation in 1896. The two most prominent colors, dark blue and silver white reflect the night and day commitment to respond to emergencies regardless of the danger and risk to the members.
Two flags are displayed with cross winds blowing in opposite directions. The American flag symbolizes the basic freedom and liberty we all enjoy and the West Seneca Town flag which demonstrates our commitment to the community.
Inside the patch is the Maltese Cross that contains four wings. Equally represented and balanced on the left and the right are the Star of Life, which symbolizes the member's commitment to the community through our response to first aid and emergency medical calls and on the left are the traditional horn/helmet/axe/ladder which represents our response to fires and rescues. The wings on the top and bottom reflect our affiliation with the West Seneca Fire District # 6. The background for those letters is stitched in white, which reflects an off color grey when viewed from an angle.
The Maltese Cross is outlines in red, which was chosen to represent bravery and courage, the lifeblood of the traditional fire department.
Centered inside the circle of the Maltese Cross is a rendering of the first Vigilant fire hall. Built in various sections first dating back to the late 1800's, the building represents a classic example of firehouse architecture. The peaks of the structure were added later to provide a lookout platform for spotting fires. During WW II, the platform was enclosed in glass and was used by the civil defense as a plane-spotting watchtower. The words SEMPER VIGILANTIA cradle the top and bottom of the firehouse.
"SEMPER VIGILANTIA" a Latin phrase, means "ALWAYS VIGILANT" This phrase has several underlying meanings and interpretations, but in essence if reflects the long line of tradition and perseverance of the men and women who have proudly held the position of being a member of the Vigilant Fire Company. And selflessly serving their community in trying times and periods of growth and prosperity. Clearly there is a sense of perpetuity in the pride and spirit of the company. A building may no longer exist, new apparatus is acquired and the old displayed as antiques, members join and leave us, but as the motto says, we are always vigilant!
Three members of the fire company, with suggestions from many members, designed the patch in May and June of 2003.