Daily Archives: May 30, 2011

Music For Memorial Day (II): If You’re Reading This by Tim McGraw

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


I walk down the garden-paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jeweled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden-paths.
My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime-tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.
And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden-paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover.
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon–
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se’nnight.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

–Amy Lowell (1874 – 1925)

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

Music for Memorial Day (I): Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Miserables

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

(Washington Post) Rye Barcot–Our Memorial Day Duty

As a boy I had a vague appreciation for Memorial Day because my father, a Vietnam veteran, treated it as sacrosanct. After watching the morning parade in our home town, he spent time alone, somber and distant, while my friends flocked to the beaches and malls with their families to celebrate the beginning of summer.

Were they wrong to celebrate, I wondered.

I didn’t know. My father rarely spoke about his five years in the Marines. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized he still carried the war with him every day, along with the faint scar across his cheek from an enemy bullet that somehow didn’t kill him in a jungle 13 years before I was born….

Read it all.

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

In Southern New Jersey, How one Family helps Veterans be Honored, One Flag at a Time

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Absolutely not to be missed–made me cry.

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

Buglers who play taps at veterans' funerals know there's no room for error

While scores of veterans die each year in a military community like Charleston, only about a half-dozen buglers are available to honor them, according to Coates. He served at about 75 funerals last year and played taps at about 50 of them.

Coates, 53, is a Navy veteran who works full time as a welder and metal fabricator. He’s been playing trumpet since the third grade and plays taps on the trumpet.

A trumpet has valves, while a bugle does not. Both are hard to play when it’s hot or cold or emotions are running high.

“As a bugler, I have to tune all of the emotion out of it,” Coates said. “More than once I have bugled for friends and acquaintances, and that is hard. Also, it’s hard when the crowd is very emotional. In order to be professional, sometimes you have to mentally leave that service for a while and think about something else, bad as it sounds, because with a friend you want to be a part of it.”

Read it all from the front page of the local paper.

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

24 World War II Veterans get to go to the WWII memorial for the first time

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Watch it all–wonderful stuff.

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

VA Honors Military Sacrifice on Memorial Day

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend activities at VA’s national cemeteries, with color guards, readings, bands and choir performances. Events will honor more than one million men and women who died in military service during wartime, including more than 655,000 battle deaths.

At Rock Island National Cemetery in Illinois, Rep. Bobby Schilling will present the son of a deceased World War I veteran with his father’s Silver Star certificate….

On May 29, at Riverside National Cemetery in Southern California –VA’s busiest — volunteers will read aloud the names of more than 5,000 people who were buried there since last year’s Memorial Day….

Read it all.

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

The History of Memorial Day

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

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

The Nashville Cemetery USCT Sculpture

The Nashville VA Cemetery is home to a unique monument where long forgotten history is now being honored. The cemetery has been home to war monuments for decades, but the latest statue, erected to honor the nearly 2,000 U.S. Colored Troops from the Civil War who are buried there, is unlike any other in the country.

Watch it all.

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

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's D-Day Prayer on June 6, 1944

“My Fellow Americans:

“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

“They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.&

“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

“And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

“Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

“Thy will be done, Almighty God.


You can listen to the actual audio if you want here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, History, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President, Politics in General, Spirituality/Prayer

Memorial Day Tribute

Actor Joe Mantegna, co-host of the annual event Memorial Day concert at the U.S. Capitol, shares his feelings about this very special holiday as a time of remembrance to honor those who’ve died serving our country — as well as to show appreciation for our nation’s military and its Veterans.

Watch it all.

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

Facts About the National Cemetery Administration

”¢ NCA currently maintains nearly 3.1 million gravesites at 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico, as well as in 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites.

Ӣ Approximately 340,000 full-casket gravesites, 93,000 in-ground gravesites for cremated remains, and 111,000 columbarium niches are available in already developed acreage in our 131 national cemeteries.

”¢ There are approximately 19,968 acres within established installations in NCA. Nearly 60 percent are undeveloped and ”“ along with available gravesites in developed acreage ”“ have the potential to provide approximately 6.0 million gravesites.

Ӣ Of the 131 national cemeteries, 71 are open to all interments; 19 can accommodate cremated remains and the remains of family members for interment in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member; and 41 will perform only interments of family members in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member.

Read it all.

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

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, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve”“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 * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Iraq War, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Terrorism, War in Afghanistan

A Prayer for Memorial Day

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give thee thanks for all thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence; and give us such a lively sense of thy righteous will, that the work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.

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

Robert Munday Steps Aside from being Dean of Nashotah to go back to Teaching

The Right Reverend Edward L. Salmon, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and the Very Reverend Robert S. Munday, Dean and President of Nashotah House Theological Seminary, announce that Dean Munday has resigned as the Dean and President of Nashotah House, effective June 30, 2011.

As of July 1, 2011, Dean Munday will become the Research Professor of Theology and Mission at Nashotah House. Dean Munday will be relocating his family and residence from the Nashotah Deanery to Hobart House, a residence owned by the seminary on Upper Nashotah Lake.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

New online resource helps children talk about parents' drinking problems

Research shows that around 2.6 million children in the UK are living with parents who are drinking hazardously and 705,000 are living with dependent drinkers. (1)

The Children’s Commissioner for England and The Children’s Society have today published the first booklet of its kind for use by children affected by a parent or carer drinking too much alcohol. It will help them to have frank discussions with teachers, professionals or an adult who they trust when they are worried about a parent or carer and the problems caused by their alcohol consumption.

Read it all and follow the links from The Children’s Society.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Alcohol/Drinking, Blogging & the Internet, Children, England / UK, Marriage & Family

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: Children’s Hospice Doctor

DR. JAMES OLESKE (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey):…I went into pediatrics because I loved children, and I thought I would help children, and I wasn’t prepared to go to funerals, so many at least, in the beginning of my career. My teeth were cut on all the AIDS kids I took care of, and kids would come in, you know, with all their baby teeth were blackened down to the gum line. They’d have abscesses, and their thrush was so bad it would make it impossible for them to swallow or eat. So then you have an infant”¦.In the beginning of the epidemic, when people were initially afraid, people who had AIDS and who were dying””they were left alone. Everyone shuns you, even your doctor. In that era I would reach my hand through the bars, because kids are always in these cages, and just hold their hand or leg and just, I guess, in my own way pray and hope and wish and lay hands on.

One of the reasons I’ve gotten into the Circle of Life and palliative and pain management is that I saw what a bad job I did in AIDS””very painful disease, and I wasn’t aggressive in the beginning.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Hay Festival 2011: Xiaolu Guo says China views America as threat

Leading Chinese author Xiaolu Guo has revealed that China still views America as its biggest enemy and competitor.

Speaking on a panel simply entitled, ”˜China’, at the Hay Festival, the author of ”˜A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary’, said: “For the last 20 years China thinks America as a model but is also the enemy.”

Talking about her experience of education in Beijing, Chinese-born Guo who now lives in London, revealed that anti-Americanism was still very strong and people were told to intensively study American work and texts, such as J.D Salinger’s Catcher in Rye, in order to know everything about the “enemy”.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General

Genderless' Baby Raises a Storm of Controversy

The Toronto Star reports that, following their home waterbirth, Witterick, 38, and her husband, David Stocker, 39, sent a simple email to everyone in their social network, explaining that they planned to keep their child’s biological sex a secret. Only six people — apart from Storm — know the child’s biological sex: the parents, his or her two brothers Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, and the two midwives present at the baby’s birth.

“We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …),” the Toronto-based couple wrote.

At only 4 months old, Storm has already lived up to his or her name, birthing a tempest of controversy. The story has made international headlines, was featured on “Today” and “The View” … [recently] and has spurred ethical debates throughout the parenting blogosphere.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Marriage & Family, Media, Psychology, Sexuality

(Time Magazine) China: Can Education Curb a Mistress Epidemic?

…Li Yinhe, a researcher at the Institute of Sociology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), says that education alone will not be the answer to a problem so deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. “This is a social custom, and it’s well known that social customs are the hardest to change,” Li says. “In traditional society, people believed that the more wives a man had the more successful he was. Now this tradition has found room to grow again.”

Throughout China’s dynastic history, keeping mistresses was not only tolerated, but actually had the official seal of approval from the men at the top. The country’s emperors maintained legendary harems of concubines, as did noblemen, wealthy merchants and anyone seeking to enhance their social status. Indeed, the country’s most famous classic novel, Dream of the Red Chamber, relates the story of an imperial concubine in the Qing dynasty who supports her entire family, including its own numerous concubines, thanks to the emperor’s patronage.

That historical context has perpetuated the notion that having a mistress equates to having status and power. Now, in today’s status-hungry China, keeping a mistress is once again the fashionable thing to do.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Education, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Women

Editor in chief of Muslim Brotherhood online portal resigns

The editor-in-chief of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Arabic-language online portal, Ikhwan Online, announced today that he submitted his resignation to the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abdel Galil Alsharnouby, who has been the editor of the group’s homepage for years, objected in his resignation on his Facebook page to what he considers the MB’s use of him as a scapegoat.

The MB site came under fire for their coverage of the “Second Day of Rage” demonstrations that took place last Friday. Criticism came because the group, which strongly opposed the demonstrations, provided what critics described as extremely biased, similar to the coverage of the state-owned media of the Egyptian revolution before the overthrow of Mubarak.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Islam, Media, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Local Paper Portrait of a Diocese of South Carolina Parish–Saint Mark's, Charleston

St. Mark’s, a historically black church within the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, has reached the end of a 146-year first phase that began Easter Sunday in 1865, the year the Civil War ended and black churchgoers chose — and sometimes were forced — to strike out on their own.

At the cusp of its uncertain next phase, parish leaders said they are confronting a convergence of challenges and tensions that at once hold promise for a vital future and threaten to tear the congregation asunder.

Its survival, they said, depends on a careful strategy that balances respect for its heritage, pride in its racially integrated character and an acknowledgement of contemporary reality.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes