“Sunday Thoughts”

alan_watts_by_mrhazard“Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is like when you trust yourself to the water. You don’t grab hold of the water when you swim, because if you do you will become stiff and tight in the water, and sink. You have to relax, and the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging, and holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.”

–Alan Watts

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Deshun Wang–Fierce!

How old are you? 20? 40? 60? Think it’s time to give up?

Hold up.

deshunwangAt least until you watch 80 year-old Deshun Wang; who is called “the Internet’s Hottest Granpa”, and hear what he has to say.  Wang, from China, is the world’s oldest male model.  He says he is the “Fiercest Northeasterner”, and he takes a little more than a minute to put most of us to shame.  Maybe, come Monday, I need to pull out the exercise equipment and get fierce.  But until then–This is your “Saturday Diversion”.

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“Sunday Thoughts”

clutter-shelves“The trouble with, ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’ is that there’s always more everything than places. “

Robert Brault

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BACK TREK

star-trek-logoSeptember marks the 50th anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek (The Original Series).  We have enjoyed fifty years of the iconic series with all its subsequent spin-offs, movies, novels, animated series, fan-films and conventions.

A week ago, a Facebook friend of mine, musician Jeff Greenberg mentioned that the classic Star Trek theme composed by Alexander Courage in 1966 had an interesting back story.  The theme played during the pilot episode “The Cage” featured a wordless vocalization by soprano, Loulie Jean Norman. (From Alabama, I might add)  Most Star Trek fans would be aware of Norman; but what most would not be aware of is that the inspiration for the melody has its roots in 1930s Jazz.

Alexander Courage states that his original inspiration comes from the Richard Whiting song,  “Beyond The Blue Horizon”, recorded in 1930. The song was recorded by Jeanette MacDonald and was the opening song for the film, “Monte Carlo”.  You can hear how he might have based his vocalization by Loulie Jean Norman on MacDonald’s soprano voice, but I don’t think I have the “musical ear” to appreciate the song, even if it is connected to Star Trek.

Other accounts say that Courage also used the musical progression of the 1941 song, “Out Of Nowhere”for other inspiration.  On that song, I can hear slightly what might become the fanfare of The Theme from Star Trek.

I’ll let you decide. These are your “Saturday Diversions”

And, as an extra added Diversion, and for inspiring this Saturday’s blog entry; take a look at Jeff Greenberg’s band, “Snake and the Charmers” version of an “On The Road With Dave” favorite, and get your kicks.

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Fulfilling Our Promise–Never Forget

For someone who never served in the military, I recognize holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day and pay tribute to those that did and still serve in the Armed Forces.  As the son of a retired military father and as a citizen of the United States, I am thankful for those who serve.  But on the third Friday of September of each year, I especially remember those who served, who never returned from battle. Those lost not to immediate death, but those lost in the chaos of battle, those captured by the enemy, those missing in action, those never recovered, nor rescued.  I am unsure why I feel this connection to those Prisoners of War and Missing In Action, only to say that I am with them and I think of them often.  And as a country, we should never forget any war that still rages on for their families or for those that are still missing.

Proclamation — National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 2016

NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY, 2016

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

For centuries, courageous members of our Armed Forces have embodied the best of America with devotion and patriotism. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we pause to remember our servicemen and women who never returned home. The hardship experienced by prisoners of war and by the family members of those who have gone missing in action is unimaginable to most Americans; it is our country’s solemn obligation to bring these heroes back to the land they served to defend, and to support the families who, each day, carry on without knowing the peace of being reunited with their loved ones.

pow_mia_poster_2016The United States does not leave anyone behind, and we do not forget those who remain missing. We will never stop working to bring home those who gave everything for their country, nor cease in our pursuit of the fullest possible accounting for all who are missing. We are working to fulfill this promise by strengthening communication with the families of those service members missing or taken prisoner. And as Commander in Chief, I am committed to living up to this responsibility.

The men and women of our Armed Forces face unthinkable conditions and bear the painful cost of war. Theirs is a debt we can never fully repay, though we will continue striving to remain worthy of their sacrifice. In honor of those who have not yet come home, and the families who struggle with the fear of unknown fate, we renew our fierce commitment to our patriots in uniform and pledge to do everything we can to bring those missing or held prisoner home.

On September 16, 2016, the stark black and white banner symbolizing America’s Missing in Action and Prisoners of War will be flown over the White House; the United States Capitol; the Departments of State, Defense, and Veterans Affairs; the Selective Service System Headquarters; the World War II Memorial; the Korean War Veterans Memorial; the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; United States post offices; national cemeteries; and other locations across our country. We raise this flag as a solemn reminder of our obligation to always remember the sacrifices made to defend our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 16, 2016, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I urge all Americans to observe this day of honor and remembrance with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

missingman-tableToday at many military installations and support organizations during the in-dining experience and at special ceremonies; the Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony will be taking place.  Those of us not in the military will have our lunch or dinner with family or friends as usual.  On this National POW/MIA Recognition Day, I have posted the ceremony script in one version, so that you might get a “taste” of what families and friends of Prisoners of War/Missing In Action personnel are doing today to honor the missing.

As you entered the room, you may have noticed a special table; it is reserved to honor our missing men.

Set for six, the empty chairs represent Americans who were or are missing from each of the services – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard – and civilians, all with us in spirit.

Some here were very young, or not yet born, when the Vietnam War began; however, all Americans should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served the cause of freedom in a special way.

Let me explain the meaning of this table, and then join me for a moment of silent prayer. The table is round – to show our everlasting concern.

The cloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve.

The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans…and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers.

The yellow ribbon symbolizes our continued uncertainty, hope for their return and determination to account for them.

A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families – who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.

The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share a toast.

The chairs are empty – they are missing…………….. (moment of silence)

Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America’s POW/MIAs, to the success of our efforts to account for them, and to the safety of all now serving our nation!

For more on this day; read last years entry–Until They All Come Home–here at “On The Road With Dave”.  I shall not forget.

Further Reading:

National League of POW/MIA Families

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Please Watch The DPAA video

US Accounted For–From The Vietnam War

US Prisoners of War who returned alive from the Vietnam War

powscaledflag

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“September 11th Thoughts”

It’s September 11th, 2016.  15 years ago our country was the victim of a terrorist attack.  We watched in horror, sadness, and disbelief as the Twin Towers of The World Trade Center fell  to the ground.  We watched in fear, for our country, as the Pentagon burned.  And we marveled at the bravery of the hijack victims of one plane who fought the hijackers on their plane and crashed, most likely averting an attack on Washington DC.

We were angry, sad, and resolute to bring these terrorists and those responsible to justice.  For weeks, months, and years, we held fast to the remembrance of those who fell on that day. We grieved with the survivors; we grieved with the families of those whose lives were lost on that day.

And then, slowly, we moved on.

We  notice the date each year as it passes. But as each year does pass, the notice becomes less significant to us.  Another day.  We grow tired and fatigued of the media coverage. We forget the imagery that we saw.  We even force ourselves not to view it.  Not to remember it.  There is too much to distract us. Life in the United States has moved on.  If we had no direct connection to the victims of that fateful day then,  we just have other more pressing concerns; that’s just the way it is.

wtcmuseumwallBut for those still “trapped” on that day–Still mourning, still grieving with a lack of closure–they cannot forget.  They fight each day.  They advocate for each other.  They counsel each other. They erect memorials, they lobby our government, they create programs of “good works” to honor their dead,  and they hope they instill into our consciousness a memory that we will not forget, nor fail to notice.

kwolfwtcmemorialI do not forget this day, nor fail to notice.  When that day happened, I watched on TV along with the millions of others. My connection was that I am an American citizen.  That was it.  Years later, while on a business trip, I met a man whose life was turned into chaos on that day.  His wife was in one of the Towers. When it fell, his life fell into the same ruins.

He did not give up.  He still grieves. But he has also been one of those people who counsels, advocates, and lobbies for the families, and victims of that tragic day.  I see his wife’s name on the memorial and I know it is more than just a faceless name. It was-and is– a life with meaning. A life worth more than a passing yearly notice.

On this September 11th, I ask you to go to 9/11.Org. Donate $9.11. Read the resources, so that you might perform a good deed in the name or honor of one of the victims or survivors.  Of particular interest this year at the organization is the recognition of the over 13,000 children that were born on September 11th, 2001.   These children are banding together to make their birthday, not just a celebration of their birth or a black mark on our history.  They are encouraging good works. They are becoming active citizens in our country.  They are saying that Hope was also born on that day.  Hope that is also worth remembering.

 

These are my thoughts on this day. I remember.

And now for your “Sunday Thoughts” for the day. May we all remember.

 

“Remember the hours after September 11th when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran upstairs and risked their lives so that others might live; when rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon; when the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation’s Capitol; when flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.”

— John Kerry

 

Memorial Photo © By Charles Wolf

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