Daily Archives: November 11, 2010

NPR–No Place To Call Home For Many Female Veterans

Since June, the 29-year-old [Cherish Cornish] has lived on the fifth floor of a temporary housing facility run by Father Bill’s & MainSpring, a private nonprofit group in Brockton, Mass. Cornish lives in one of five rooms reserved for homeless female veterans. She’s struggling to make a life for herself after the military.

“When I joined the Army, I was barely 20 years old,” Cornish says with a Southern accent, a legacy of years growing up in Texas. “I come out, and I’m 23, and so I just kind of came of age in the military. I wind up on my own again in an apartment. It’s the first time I’ve had to pay rent since I was a teenager. It’s the first time I had to pay a light bill ”” pretty much ever ”” and all these responsibilities and budgeting and stuff that I’d really never had to deal with in the military.”

There are other complications. Cornish suffers from PTSD. It took the VA several years to diagnose her. Cornish believes her trauma stems from her service in Iraq. She was a transmission specialist working at isolated outposts monitoring and intercepting radio communications. Still, she thinks she lucked out, because often she’d just miss getting physically hurt.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, War in Afghanistan, Women

One American College Football Coach prepared for deployment to Afghanistan

Clayton Kendrick-Holmes, football coach at SUNY Maritime College and a graduate of the Naval Academy and a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve, soon will be deployed to Afghanistan. This is part of his story.

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Sports, War in Afghanistan

A Soldier's Refrain: Going Home

With wars continuing in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of military veterans grows every Veterans Day. Commentator Forrest Brandt served in an earlier conflict ”” he was with the 1st Infantry Division in Lai Khe, Vietnam, from 1968-69.

Brandt, now a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves and an adjunct professor at Northern Kentucky University, wrote about the day he came home, July 18, 1969.

You need to listen to it all, all the music as well as the narration.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Military / Armed Forces

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918). It is just so moving and powerful you find yourself coming back to it again and again–KSH.

P.S. the circumstances which led to the poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.” The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: “The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.” Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Military / Armed Forces

A personal Challenge to Blog readers: Listen to a War Letter Today

There is a fabulous resource for this courtesy of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. There are many themes from which to choose, and various letters to see the text of and listen to. Take a moment a drink at least one in, and, if you have a moment, tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, History, Military / Armed Forces

Dominic Tierney–Jefferson’s Army of Nation Builders

Today, some officers warn that an army of nation-builders would lose its edge at conventional warfare. But in keeping with the founders’ belief that the soldier’s role was to build, not just to destroy, we need our own multipurpose military ”” an Army and Marine Corps with duties that extend far beyond winning tank battles or artillery duels against enemy states, or even fighting at all. And just as in Jefferson’s time, West Point in the 21st century should supply a nation-builder’s education, and we should encourage its efforts to emphasize in its curriculum the study of foreign languages and cultures.

The troops from America’s farming heartlands who are helping Afghans build greenhouses, grow cops and better feed cattle are not losing their identity as warriors ”” they’re following in the footsteps of our earliest soldiers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, History, Military / Armed Forces

A Prayer for Veterans Day

Governor of Nations, our Strength and Shield:
we give you thanks for the devotion and courage
of all those who have offered military service for this country:

For those who have fought for freedom; for those who laid down their lives for others;
for those who have borne suffering of mind or of body;
for those who have brought their best gifts to times of need.

On our behalf they have entered into danger,
endured separation from those they love,
labored long hours, and borne hardship in war and in peacetime.

Lift up by your mighty Presence those who are now at war;
encourage and heal those in hospitals
or mending their wounds at home;
guard those in any need or trouble;
hold safely in your hands all military families;
and bring the returning troops to joyful reunion
and tranquil life at home;

Give to us, your people, grateful hearts
and a united will to honor these men and women
and hold them always in our love and our prayers;
until your world is perfected in peace
through Jesus Christ our Savior.

–The Rev. Jennifer Phillips

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Iraq War, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, War in Afghanistan

Kelly Strong–Freedom is not Free

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze;
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform,
So young, so tall, so proud;
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought… how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?

How many pilots’ planes shot down
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves
No, Freedom is not Free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still;
I listened to the bugler play,
And felt a sudden chill;

I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant “Amen”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend;

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands.
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No. Freedom is not Free!

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature

Notable and Quotable

“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”

— On many memorials to the dead in war worldwide, as for example that for the British 2nd Division at Kohima, India; there is a debate about its precise origins in terms of who first penned the lines

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry

Veterans Day Remarks–Guess the Speaker

In a world tormented by tension and the possibilities of conflict, we meet in a quiet commemoration of an historic day of peace. In an age that threatens the survival of freedom, we join together to honor those who made our freedom possible. The resolution of the Congress which first proclaimed Armistice Day, described November 11, 1918, as the end of “the most destructive, sanguinary and far-reaching war in the history of human annals.” That resolution expressed the hope that the First World War would be, in truth, the war to end all wars. It suggested that those men who had died had therefore not given their lives in vain.

It is a tragic fact that these hopes have not been fulfilled, that wars still more destructive and still more sanguinary followed, that man’s capacity to devise new ways of killing his fellow men have far outstripped his capacity to live in peace with his fellow men.Some might say, therefore, that this day has lost its meaning, that the shadow of the new and deadly weapons have robbed this day of its great value, that whatever name we now give this day, whatever flags we fly or prayers we utter, it is too late to honor those who died before, and too soon to promise the living an end to organized death.

But let us not forget that November 11, 1918, signified a beginning, as well as an end. “The purpose of all war,” said Augustine, “is peace.” The First World War produced man’s first great effort in recent times to solve by international cooperation the problems of war. That experiment continues in our present day — still imperfect, still short of its responsibilities, but it does offer a hope that some day nations can live in harmony.

For our part, we shall achieve that peace only with patience and perseverance and courage — the patience and perseverance necessary to work with allies of diverse interests but common goals, the courage necessary over a long period of time to overcome…[a skilled adversary].

Do please take a guess as to who it is, then click and read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry

Local Newspaper Editorial–Honor our Veterans today

On Dec. 23, 1777, Gen. George Washington wrote from Valley Forge to the Continental Congress: “I am now convinced, beyond a doubt that unless some great and capital change suddenly takes place in that line, this Army must inevitably be reduced to one or other of these three things. Starve, dissolve, or disperse, in order to obtain subsistence in the best manner they can.”

Yet the general and his army somehow endured despite continued supply shortfalls, eventually triumphing over what was then regarded as the world’s most awesome military force.

In the nearly 233 years since that fateful day when the creation of our nation hung in the balance on the cold ground of Pennsylvania, America’s military has bravely and effectively taken on many additional challenges, including today’s protracted missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Along the ever-perilous, often-glorious way, our warriors’ enemies, battlegrounds, weapons and objectives have changed. Yet their valiant service has remained an inspiring constant.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Iraq War, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, War in Afghanistan

FT–China inflation surges to 25-month high

Chinese inflation surged to 4.4 per cent in October, well above the government’s target of 3 per cent, and increased pressure on the authorities to introduce new tightening measures.

Amid intense global debate about the impact of the US Federal Reserve’s new quantitative easing on global inflation, the Chinese government said domestic consumer price inflation had risen from 3.6 per cent the month before to its highest since October 2008.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Martin of Tours

Lord God of hosts, who didst clothe thy servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and didst set him as a bishop in thy Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Thou who sittest on the throne, making all things new: Renew our faith, and hope, and love. Renew our wills, that we may serve thee more gladly and watchfully than ever; renew our delight in thy Word and thy worship; renew our joy in thee; renew our longing that all may know thee; renew our desires and labours to serve others; that so we may walk in the light of thy love and in the power of thy Spirit, now and for evermore.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

–James 1:2-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Press Association: Student protest in London sparks Tory HQ evacuation

A huge demonstration against tuition fees by tens of thousands of students and lecturers descended into violence today when a group of protesters smashed their way into the headquarters of the Conservative party.

A number of police officers were injured after they came under attack from youths, some wearing scarves to hide their faces, amid scenes of chaos. Eight people were taken to hospital with injuries after the violence flared at Millbank Tower, next to the River Thames in central London.

The demonstration, organised by the National Union of Students and the University and College Union, started peacefully, with up to 50,000 students, lecturers and supporters, marching from Whitehall past Downing Street and Parliament.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, Education, England / UK, Politics in General, Young Adults

Presidential Commission Weighs Deep Cuts in Tax Breaks and Spending to Help National Indebtedness

A draft proposal released Wednesday by the chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan commission on reducing the federal debt calls for deep cuts in domestic and military spending starting in 2012, and an overhaul of the tax code to raise revenue. Those changes and others would erase nearly $4 trillion from projected deficits through 2020, the proposal says.

The plan would reduce projected Social Security benefits to most retirees in later decades ”” low-income people would get higher benefits ”” and slowly raise the retirement age for full benefits to 69 from 67, with a “hardship exemption” for people who physically cannot work past 62. And it would subject higher levels of income to payroll taxes, to ensure Social Security’s solvency for the next 75 years.

But the plan would not count any savings from Social Security toward meeting the overall deficit-reduction goal set by Mr. Obama, reflecting the chairmen’s sensitivity to liberal critics who have complained that Social Security should be fixed only for its own sake, not to balance the nation’s books.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Health & Medicine, House of Representatives, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Senate, Social Security, Taxes, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government

ENS–Pennsylvania Convention calls on bishop to leave

The 227th annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, by a vote of 341-134, has asked Bishop Charles Bennison Jr. to “resign immediately.”

A resolution containing the request also said that Bennison “does not have the trust of the people and clergy of the Diocese of Pennsylvania to continue to serve as their bishop.”

Bennison made no comment on the resolution after it passed.

Passage of the resolution came hours after Bishop Paul Marshall of the neighboring Diocese of Bethlehem wrote to Bennison and the convention, calling on him to resign and suggesting that convention participants urge Bennison to leave.

“You need to realize, I humbly submit, that you are the premier diocese of the Episcopal Church in this Commonwealth, and arguably (along with Connecticut) the mother diocese of our church in this country,” Marshall wrote. “It matters to the rest of us, and to the world, how you get along. It is not a confession of sin to admit that things have not worked out well, but it is surely a matter of empirical evidence.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils