Monthly Archives: May 2017

(The Goodbook) Vaughan Roberts on assisted dying, dignity and dependence

How should Christians bring our perspective into the public debates about assisted dying?

Well for a start, we need to make sure that we are involved in these discussions, even if it’s just closer to home—in our offices, in our communities, among our friends, as well as in the national debate. We’ve got good news to share—so let’s get engaged. So much of this discussion assumes that some lives are just not worth living—and Christians need to say, no, every life has dignity.

Second, we’ve also got something important to say about suffering. Our culture can’t cope with suffering—it wants to reduce suffering as much as possible and at all costs. Christians say suffering is bad—it’s a result of the fall—but God can be wonderfully at work in and through it.

And third, I think one key assumption underlying the argument for assisted suicide is that there’s just nothing worse than being dependent on others. But a Christian worldview says that actually our dependence on God and on one another is fundamental to our humanity. It’s a good thing! Illnesses brings that dependence to the fore, and that can be mutually very uplifting—for the carer and the one being cared for—even in the midst of very hard times. My father found the loss of independence the hardest aspect of his illness to cope with. At the very end of his life he was paralysed and unable to speak. Those last few days were intensely sad and yet also, in a strange way, profoundly beautiful. He had given so much to us and now we in the family had the privilege of caring for him, stroking and kissing him, singing his favourite hymns and praying. Such dependence is not undignified. This is being human.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Books, Children, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Theology

(Christian Today) Egypt’s Christians say they are proud to die for Jesus as ISIS continues its deadly attacks

Coptic Christians have said that they “take pride” in dying for their faith following the latest slaughterat the hands of Islamic State terrorists.

“We take pride to die while holding on to our faith,” Bishop Makarios, the top Coptic Orthodox cleric in Minya, said over the weekend, according to CBC News.

Reports have emerged revealing that IS gunmen forced Christians on their way to a monastery off a bus on Friday, where they asked them to denounce their faith and convert to Islam. The Copts, including children, refused, which led to the massacre of 29 believers, one of the chaplains comforting survivors revealed.

Thousands of Copts have been mourning the slain in the bus shooting, expressing their grief and rage at funerals for the victims.

Read it all.

Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Uncategorized, Violence

Wednesday food for Thought–‘ the real greatness of a nation its true civilization is measured by the extent..of [its] obedience to the enenforceable’

…to my mind the real greatness of a nation its true civilization is measured by the extent of this land of Obedience to the Unenforceable. It measures the extent to which the nation trusts its citizens and its existence and area testify to the way they behave in response to that trust. Mere obedience to Law does not measure the greatness of a Nation. It can easily be obtained by a strong executive and most easily of all from a timorous people. Nor is the licence of behavior which so often accompanies the absence of Law and which is miscalled Liberty a proof of greatness. The true test is the extent to which the individuals composing the nation can be trusted to obey self-imposed law.”

–[Lord] John Fletcher Moulton, “Law and Manners” (Atlantic Monthly, July 1924) [Hat tip: BA]

Posted in Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

(ABC) A recent Trend among young Adults–Marrying Yourself, or Sologamy

For the 36-year-old, tying the knot was about making a formal commitment to the love of her life: herself.

“I’ve been told that I am a great catch and today I am catching myself,” she said.

What initially started out as a housewarming party, [Erika] Anderson said, later evolved.

“I was like, ‘And I’ll marry myself,’” she said. “I think it’s hard not to adopt whatever society’s messages are … and I certainly think that one of the messages is, ‘You are not enough if you are not with someone else.’”

Anderson is far from alone. She joins a small yet growing number of women from around the world who have held weddings for themselves. Yasmin Eleby celebrated her 40th birthday by saying “I do” to herself, and her mother even walked her down the aisle.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sexuality

(New Statesman) Rowan Williams on Rod Drehers’ new book-The Benedict Option:a new monasticism for the 21st c.

The lack of specific discussion of groups such as the Catholic Worker movement and the Bruderhof is such that it is hard to envisage just what Dreher’s Benedict-inspired communities might look like – though he strongly commends home-schooling and likes the idea of orthodox believers living in close proximity to one another and to their church. What is left most worryingly vague is how such groups might maintain a level of self-criticism, and how they would handle issues around authority and management of conflict. Benedict has a fair bit to say about this, and Dreher shows he is aware of it and of the problem of alienating a younger generation by excessive exclusivism. However, more information on how actual communities have discovered and handled (or failed to handle) such matters would help.

The Benedict Option is unsettling. It confronts the prevailing consensus about how far the majority is willing to make room for principled dissent and public argument – yet at the same time shows a rather dispiriting lack of confidence in public argument. It puts a solid and appealing case for religious communities to be more serious about the disciplines that sustain prayer, compassion and integrity; but it is also a jeremiad against the decline of a certain sort of American public piety, and the sinister plans of relativists and revisionists.

The book is worth reading because it poses some helpfully tough questions to a socially liberal majority, as well as to believers of a more traditional colour. Yet it also fails to note the irony of advocating what it does in a climate where liberal triumphalism has already been shaken by a very un-Benedictine set of influences, through the resurgence of populist conservatism and protectionism. And neither restating liberal nostrums nor Dreher’s “strategy of hibernation” – to borrow a phrase from Adorno – seems an adequate answer to this.

Read it all.

Posted in --Rowan Williams, Church History, Religion & Culture, Theology

(IFS) Tyler VanderWeele responds to Bella DePaulo–What The New York Times Gets Wrong About Marriage, Health, and Well-Being

DePaulo criticizes research of the sort we reported in the Nurses’ Health Study for not distinguishing between the transition from singlehood to marriage, versus from marriage to divorce. And indeed, the Nurses’ Health Study participants were married upon study entry so that the estimate reported above is more reflective of the adverse impact of divorce compared to marriage. DePaulo argues that if you marry, you are also more likely to divorce. That is, of course, true: the effects of continuous marriage on health are going to be more protective than marriage followed by divorce.

But DePaulo seems to suggest that the right way to avoid divorce is to not marry. A more sensible solution would be to develop support resources to work through marital difficulties, when appropriate. Marital counseling, maintaining commitment, online marriage support resources,19 and the passage of time can pay off.16 One study indicated that among those who were married and rated their marriage as “very unhappy” but stayed married, 77% said that five years later the same marriage was either “very happy” or “quite happy.”

Beyond the question of divorce, however, a vast literature now exists (in addition to the Switzerland study) on the objective health effects of marriage,including studies that have examined never-married populations: these studies find similar protective effects of marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, History, Marriage & Family, Sociology

(NYT Op-ed) Bella DePaulo–Get Married, Get Healthy? Maybe Not

Today nearly as many adults are not married as married. Those who do marry are taking longer than ever to get there, and on average Americans spend more years of their adult lives unmarried than married.

The new and accumulating research suggests something heartening: People who are single are doing much better than we realized. Marriage is unlikely to bring lasting improvements to their health or well-being, and could even result in decrements.

Free of the myth that marriage is a magical potion, we can all pursue the life paths that suit us best. Marriage is still there for those who want it. But now people who prefer to live single can come out of the shadows. The possibilities for meaning and fulfillment in a single life have gone largely unrecognized. It is time for that to change.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, History, Marriage & Family

A Prayer for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of thine incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to thy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

O God, whose blessed Son, our great High Priest, has entered once for all into the holy place, and ever liveth to intercede on our behalf: Grant that we, sanctified by the offering of his body, may draw near with full assurance of faith by the way which he has dedicated for us, and evermore serve thee, the living God; through the same thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

–Luke 10:17-24

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Vatican Radio) Anglicans, Catholics in Erfurt: ‘Walking together on the way’

‘Walking together on the way’ is the title of a new document to be published by the the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, whose members met this month in Erfurt, Germany. Despite some “difficult conversations” and “hard questions” over the past year, the Anglican and Catholic theologians who make up ARCIC III managed, at the May 14th to 20th meeting, to conclude the first part of their mandate, finding agreement on ways in which the two Churches are structured at local, regional and universal levels.

The new statement opens the way for the Commission to tackle the second part of its mandate on how the Churches, at local and universal level, are able “to discern right ethical teaching”.

But what does the new ecumenical text contain? And how will it affect ordinary Catholics and Anglicans in the pews?

To find answers to those questions, Philippa Hitchen spoke to the Catholic co-secretary of ARCIC III, Fr Anthony Currer of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity….

Read and listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Roman Catholic

(MG) Our spire could topple, Montreal’s Christ Church Cathedral officials warn as they launch campaign

Christ Church Cathedral is asking the public for $8 million to save its spire and for other repairs to the 158-year-old building.

The Anglican church’s steel spire is corroded and could topple unless it is rebuilt, officials said at a launch of the fundraising campaign at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Earlier, Parks Canada and the Historic Monuments Board of Canada unveiled a plaque recognizing the historic significance of the 1859 church, which played a key role in expanding the city from Old Montreal to today’s downtown.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Stuff) Christchurch religious leaders rally for Anglican bishop Victoria Matthews in her Cathedral Battle

Christchurch religious leaders have rallied to support Anglican bishop Victoria Matthews in her battle over the Christ Church Cathedral.

Eight religious leaders from all the major Christian denominations – including Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic – have written a letter to The Press calling for Anglicans to be “left to make decisions as to the future of the cathedral”.

“The role of the wider community (including other Christian denominations) is to respect their decision (whatever it might be) as being one that is true to their understanding of their call from God, in this place, at this time,” the letter states.

Read it all.

Posted in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Provinces Other Than TEC, Urban/City Life and Issues

(VOA) Famine Looms in Former Boko Haram Stronghold in NE Nigeria

The United Nations is warning that more than 1.4 million people in northeastern Nigeria could face famine by September because of a severe funding shortage. To date, only 28 percent of the U.N. appeal for more than $1 billion to provide humanitarian aid for nearly seven million people has been received.

Since Boko Haram militants began their armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria in 2009, the United Nations estimates more than 20,000 people have been killed, nearly two million are internally displaced inside the country, and about 200,000 have taken refuge in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Government forces have recaptured much of the territory held by Boko Haram, but the security situation remains fragile.

Read it all.

Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Nigeria, Poverty, Terrorism

(Tel.) The Right Reverend Keith Sutton, Bishop of Lichfield, RIP

The Right Reverend Keith Sutton, who has died aged 82, was Bishop of Lichfield from 1984-2003 and before that spent five years as suffragan Bishop of Kingston in Southwark diocese.

He was one of the Church of England’s most highly regarded leaders, combining considerable intellectual gifts with a warm, attractive personality.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals

(CC) Charles Howard–Ministry is out of control

There is certainly a rhythm to ministry. Annual holy days and weekly ser­vices provide an important consistency to the vocation. As a university chaplain, I move along an academic calendar, with convocation at the beginning of the year, midterms, fall break, finals, and then winter break. We resume with the second semester, spring break, midterms again, finals once again, and then graduation before entering the much-welcomed summer recess. In late August, we start all over again.

And yet, there are holy interruptions. Some are simply individuals dropping by the office because they need to talk. They might interrupt sermon planning or some of the other quieter aspects of ministry and life. Other interruptions are more jarring, like the middle-of-the-night phone call alerting you to an accident.

The times when I have found myself too often interrupted by the more serious kind of holy interruptions are the times I tend to explore other job possibilities. What I learned that first night of CPE was true: ministry truly does have moments when it is out of control. I have been tempted to swim to the banks of this vocational river and climb out. But staying within the out-of-control-ness of ministry and the out-of-control-ness of life is an important discipline for all of us to swim through.

Read it all.

Posted in Pastoral Theology

(ACNS) Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree statement on ecclesiology

Anglicans and Roman Catholics should see in each other “a community in which the Holy Spirit is alive and active,” the latest communiqué from the official ecumenical dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church says.

Members of the third-phase of the Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission (Arcic) met in the central German city of Erfurt early this month for their seventh meeting. They chose to meet in the city to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – it is here that Martin Luther was ordained and lived as a monk.

During their meeting, the members of Arcic agreed the text of a new statement looking at Anglican and Roman Catholic ecclesiology. Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be Church – Local, Regional, Universal, to be known as The Erfurt Document, will be published next year.

Read it all and make sure to read the full communique linked at the bottom.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Roman Catholic

Kendall Harmon’s recent Sermon–What is the significance of the Ascension for Christians (Acts 1:1-8)?

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, Ascension, Ethics / Moral Theology, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Joan of Arc

 

Holy God, whose power is made perfect in weakness: we honor thy calling of Jeanne d’Arc, who, though young, rose up in valor to bear thy standard for her country, and endured with grace and fortitude both victory and defeat; and we pray that we, like Jeanne, may bear witness to the truth that is in us to friends and enemies alike, and, encouraged by the companionship of thy saints, give ourselves bravely to the struggle for justice in our time; through Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christina Rossetti

O Lord, whose way is perfect: Help us, we pray thee, always to trust in thy goodness; that walking with thee in faith, and following thee in all simplicity, we may possess quiet and contented minds, and cast all our care on thee, because thou carest for us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him, and burns up his adversaries round about. His lightnings lighten the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.

–Psalm 97:1-6

Posted in Theology: Scripture

In Pictures: The US Observes Memorial Day 2017

Take the time to look at them all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Photos/Photography

Music For Memorial Day (II): American Soldier by Toby Keith

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Music

Even more Poetry for Memorial Day–Theodore O’Hara’s “Bivouac of the Dead”

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

No rumor of the foe’s advance
Now swells upon the wind;
Nor troubled thought at midnight haunts
Of loved ones left behind;
No vision of the morrow’s strife
The warrior’s dream alarms;
No braying horn nor screaming fife
At dawn shall call to arms.

Their shriveled swords are red with rust,
Their plumed heads are bowed,
Their haughty banner, trailed in dust,
Is now their martial shroud.
And plenteous funeral tears have washed
The red stains from each brow,
And the proud forms, by battle gashed
Are free from anguish now.

Read it all.

Posted in Poetry & Literature

More Poetry for Memorial Day: Tomas Tranströmer’s The Half-Finished Heaven

From here:

Despondency breaks off its course.
Anguish breaks off its course.
The vulture breaks off its flight.

The eager light streams out,
even the ghosts take a draught.

And our paintings see daylight,
our red beasts of the ice-age studios.
Everything begins to look around.
We walk in the sun in hundreds.

Each man is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.

The endless ground under us.

The water is shining among the trees.

The lake is a window into the earth.

Posted in Poetry & Literature

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 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.

“Amen.”

You can listen to the actual audio if you want here and today of all days is the day to do that. Also, there is more on background and another audio link there.–KSH.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President, Spirituality/Prayer

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


Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Music

More Poetry for Memorial Day–Patterns

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 Death / Burial / Funerals, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

(WSJ) Victor Davis Hanson–What We Remember on Memorial Day

On Memorial Day we should remember that all commemoration is underpinned by ambiguities about the causes, conduct and aims of particular wars. No one has captured the heartbreak of the war dead more effectively than the Marine memorialist E.B. Sledge, who wrote “With the Old Breed,” a horrific account of his nightmare on Peleliu and Okinawa.

Sledge is sometimes simplistically described as an antiwar voice (“So many dead. So many maimed. So many bright futures consigned to the ashes of the past.”), but he did not end his gruesome story of combat with a universal denunciation of war. He finished instead with a solemn reminder—somewhere between Horace and Wilfred Owen—that circumstances count.

His words are worth recalling as we cast our eyes over the endless fields of tiny flags we will again see this Memorial Day on the graves of Americans who gave their all for us:

Until the millennium arrives and countries cease trying to enslave others, it will be necessary to accept one’s responsibilities and be willing to make sacrifices for one’s country—as my comrades did. As the troops used to say, “If the country is good enough to live in, it’s good enough to fight for.” With privilege goes responsibility.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces

Andrew Lumish Honors Veterans By Cleaning Their Headstones

Watch it all for memorial Day.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces