Ever since I was a little kid I knew that the U.S. Flag was never, not ever to touch the ground. It was meant to be a sign of respect for this symbol of the greatest nation on earth because of the respect for God-given rights in our Constitution and its amendments. Hold the flag precious! Yes! I entirely agree. Always have.
But then there’s the rest of the story I only got to know in these past couple of years. It is narrated well in the short video above. What an education. Jaw dropping. Leaving one in thankfulness. This is graced humanity at its absolute finest, ever. Remember, the lives lost were for freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, the free exercise of religion (free to be Catholic also in the public square). Awesome. We are all in debt. The world thanks these guys.
These flowers, acquired in memory of dearest Morris Gordon, had a rough life, as did he. However, almost dead from freezing and wild conditions, this rose has come back to life. And we quite frequently offer Holy Mass for the repose of his soul and then also for his wife, who is very much alive. Long time readers will remember this video:
Skip to 1 hour 29 minutes: 52 seconds mark (I tried to copy the URL at that time, but I’m not techy).
Morris is Jewish. I can identify with that! By the way, Jesus is Jewish, and so is His Immaculate Mother.
And just to remind people of a couple of things:
“They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5)
And specifically, for this post on Flowers for the Immaculate Conception, we read this about the dearest Mother of the Redeemer:
“Who is this that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon and bright as the sun, resplendent as an army set in battle array?” (Song of Solomon 6:10)
So, a flower for you Mary, and in this case, a Morris Gordon rose.
Why this post is tagged for Memorial Day when we are supposed to remember the fallen in war? Because we should also remember WHY these men laid down their lives, that is, to save our friends from demonic atrocities.
Here’s the deal: we don’t have heroes just to say, “Look at them! And I’m pointing them out!” an exercise in virtue signaling. No, no. That’s all hypocrisy unless we strive to follow the example of those who were ready to lay down their lives for their friends, and then did just that. Love of God, love of neighbor. It’s all Judeo-Catholic. And we will fight for that. Thanks to the fallen in war. Thanks to Morris. Thanks to Jesus’ good mom, who as a supreme warrior, stood next to her dear Son, who will come to judge the living and the dead and world by fire. Amen. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
At Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Memorial Day was also Latin-Mass-Monday, and in the Traditional calendar, it’s the feast of the Queenship of Mary. She is Queen because she is Mother. It is her motherhood which makes her Mother of the Church Militant. In the very ferocity of her maternal solicitude for the children of God, she is encouraging to the warriors of this world, not only in the Church and Society, but on the battle field. I mean, look into her eyes: is she not beckoning us to lay down our lives for our friends, the greatest act of love, through, with and in her Divine Son who Himself has done the for us in The Battle, The War? Yes, yes she is.
Paying one last visit to the cemetery Memorial Day just before nightfall, I noticed a statue of Saint Therese that I never noticed previously. Her full religious name was Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, recalling childlike simplicity of holiness and integrity and honesty so fierce that being in solidarity with the sufferings of Jesus for us is possible, and with enthusiasm. Her nickname – the Little Flower – is due to her description of herself amongst others of Jesus’ Little Flock. She’s depicted as cradling a crucifix in a bouquet of flowers. Mind you, these flowers are for Jesus, in His childlike obedience to the Father regarding His Passion and Death, so that He might give these to the Immaculate Conception, His dearest Mother and ours, as she stood under the Cross. You know the drill:
Mary is the warrior with her divine Son, in a battle, a war, over against Satan, the fierceness of whom all warriors do well to carry in their souls. In laying down their lives for the good of mankind, they will have Jesus’ good mom to welcome them into the eternal habitations. Flowers for you, Mary.
Researching away on what looked like official military websites giving proper instruction for half-mast timings and re-hoisting, I found out I had intended to do everything wrongly. Due diligence when to 82nd Airborne personnel, who told me to my face that I was all wrong, that although I was right about slowly taking down the flags to half-mast as sunrise, the flags were NOT to go back up at Noon, but rather only at sunset. Thus, the picture above. I could include pictures of all the rest of the town flags but you get the idea.
Also, I stand corrected on another matter of flag etiquette, not that I didn’t know it, but I was concentrating on something else, that is, flags which were specifically marking the fallen on memorial day. Both the U.S. flag and the MIA-POW flag were lowered, but I didn’t bother with the other flags (not pictured, such as the N.C. State flag). My mistake, made here and at the highway-entrance-to-Andrews flag (the rest were on their own), was to permit a situation in which the U.S. flag was lower than other flags. That’s about enough to get me shot. But I’m learning!
The project now is to get new ropes and replace the present ropes. We’ll need a bucket truck for that. That will involve politics, etc. You would think that this would be a regularly attended matter of honor. But these are the days we live in.
Meanwhile, when I was re-hoisting the flag up church, I got another fly by right close to flag and cross, by the mottled juvenile Bald Eagle whom I had met up with twice earlier in the day. He perched just down the street to surveil my activities. The picture doesn’t do justice to his wing span.
The flag at church this morning was also lowered to half-mast. As I did that, a huge eagle got my sight, a juvenile Bald Eagle. I immediately thought of the 16 year old KIA whose grave I had just then visited at the cemetery.
That picture doesn’t do the size of this juvenile Bald Eagle justice, as he’s waaaay up in the sky, far from the tree top you see in the corner. The juveniles are mottled as you can see this one is.
Most of the vets who are KIA in military cemeteries are juveniles who fought for our lives, our freedom. The Bald Eagle – as the whole world knows – is the symbol of our freedom to live.
Pictured above is Memorial Park which sits high above Andrews, NC, the very heart of Appalachia. The tradition in these USA and here in town is to lower the American Flag to half mast at sunrise. Mind you, this is a rebellious tradition wrought not by any groups or the town of Andrews itself, but rather of individuals who rightly have a sense of patriotism and lively respect for those who gave their lives for us. These individuals have, on their own dime, supplied the large size American Flag. Since they were preoccupied on Memorial Day, yours truly went up to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and some prayers for the honorable fallen and their families.
Those who could and would carry on the tradition were not available this year, and the town, I suppose, has been forbidden to schedule official ceremonies by insurance companies and lawyers trying to bow to the ridiculous, humiliating, oppressive, anti-Constitutional policies of the powers that be in this State of North Carolina. Personally, I cannot abide cancelling honor. I can’t.
By the way, the POW-MIA flag is also put at Half-Mast, as so many of our veterans died as POWs and so very many of our MIAs have, by this time, died…
After this, it was up to the cemetery to pray for the dead there, mostly teenagers by the way. Check out the dates on this tombstone: just 16 years old…
I was born in 1960. In 1976, when I was sixteen years old, a Sophomore in High School, I signed up for whatever state of affairs the draft had fallen into. A super-interesting article on conscription, the draft, selective service, who and what and when, is found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_in_the_United_States. Keep in mind that the Paris Peace Accords had already been signed three years earlier in January of 1973, officially ending our involvement in Vietnam, though the fall of Saigon, actually ending everything, wasn’t until the Spring of 1975. The nice gentleman took my application but said that no one would be contacting me at this point. Too many politics were at play. I thank James above, and all those who gave their lives.
The flag had also been put at Half Mast at Holy Redeemer Church. The flags are meant to go Full Mast right at Noon. I left instructions at the church that our Noon Mass would be delayed by ten minutes, as I would be busy with the flags up in Memorial Park, but that they were to gather at the flag in front of the church for prayers for the dead and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, after which the Flag was to be put up to Full Mast. This they were happy to do.
I couldn’t resist also getting the history of these two guys from Andrews…
Our POTUS has an amazing speech, very touching, at Fort McHenry. If you want to know something about our Flag, watch this:
If anyone is offended by the Flag, go and read this post I wrote, which has been visited by pretty much every grade school, middle school, high school, college, university and specialized institute, as well as by so many in our armed forces and all sorts of branches and bureaus and offices of government, right up to the top:
But in case anyone is too entitled not to learn something, or is afraid of Whitney Houston, I include this all below:
The Star Spangled Banner is misunderstood and is rejected by many as our National Anthem.
Fake news about it continues. Let’s do some analysis:
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there; O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream: ‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion, A home and a country, should leave us no more? Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation. Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’ And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
The lyrics were written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Baltimore fought against the Brits’ Royal Navy in 1812. The Brits just wouldn’t let it go, and had to engage again, and so lost again, almost thirty years after the end of the Revolutionary War. The Royal Navy would enlist mercenaries, the “hirelings” mentioned in the third verse, and enslave Prisoners of War to fight for them as well, the “slaves” mentioned in the third verse.
Why do I insist on this having nothing whatsoever even remotely to do with black African slaves when Key himself was a slave owner who lived long before the American Civil War? Because of the purpose of the song and what it is describing, that is, a particular night of battle in the harbor of Baltimore against the Royal Navy in which hirelings and slaves were employed in the battle by the Royal Navy, surely other Brits or POW American military.
Even if a tiny percentage of these hirelings and slaves happened to be black Africans, possibly most recently from the United States, the mentions of those hirelings and slaves wouldn’t refer to any previous status of slavery, but only to the slavery imposed by the Royal Navy on any POWs. To win this battle in Baltimore, there would be no interest in going to, say, Mississippi, and killing hirelings and slaves. To hold that to be the meaning of the words is simply ridiculous.
During the Salute, some kid is goofing off crying out faking like he was shot. But it immediately struck me that most veterans killed in action were teenagers, just kids. This kid has the right idea. Out of the mouths of babes and all that.
I was upset that this year the kids were not allowed to place flags at the tombstones out of respect for their classmates and friends.
I’m heading up to the cemetery right now. It’s a good and holy thing to pray for the dead.
6:00 AM on Ascension Thursday-Sunday at Holy Redeemer Parish in Andrews NC.
Note the patriotic flag foil around the flowers. It’s Memorial Day “weekend”. Make it a point to visit a cemetery and pray for those who bought us that freedom with their blood. Jesus shed His blood that they might have the privilege of doing that. Jesus shed His blood that we might have the privilege of striving in the grace of God to follow their example.
Memory… “When you do this, do it in memory of me…”
The word martyr refers to witnessing to memory…
Being on one’s knees is the best position to be in when adoring Jesus and praying for the dead…
At Myrtle Beach I saw things with both mom and dad that had a huge effect on me. They would bring me to the US Air Force Base (the bones of which are pictured above) and have me eat with the pilots and such. The base would soon close because of a decision to ditch the A-10s. Ironically, it was just now decided in 2019 to upgrade this close air support fighter especially loved by the guys on the ground.
In the speech to announce the closing, the officer said: “It’s the end.” My mom copied that out in longhand, again and again, on bits of paper that I would find later here and there, noting the context of the closing and the name and rank of the beloved speaker. The closing acted for them as the closing of an entire era that was held in living memory, but that too, they knew, would soon pass as well. “It’s the end.”
The two of them used to sit at the end of the runway when it was still military and watch the guys practice their take-offs and landings amidst fancy stuff in the air: warthogs and other jet fighters, a great show instigating lots of memories for dad in one way (surely calling to mind those who didn’t live to die another day back in WWII and the Korean War) and for mom in another way (surely calling to mind those many millions who were murdered by the Nazis).
Dad would later have some health incidents for which I was present in Myrtle Beach. Mom would die at Myrtle Beach in a place pictured above. Here’s a google-map shot of some items placed in an outdoor museum the South side of the runway, which, if you have good eyes, you can find in the picture at the top of this post:
Here’s a fantastic video with some flying action shots, including the Vought Corsair. How they’ve changed since the gull-wing Corsairs dad flew!
Both mom and dad had been through some great spiritual retreats at Mepkin Abbey in their last years. They had taken great notes and spoke glowingly of the retreat master. And for that I thank the dear Lord. “It’s the end”? No. They both learned that, in fact, as the Funeral Mass Preface has it:
Good speech, that, on Memorial Day, at Arlington National Cemetery. An even greater speech, also at Arlington, but on Veterans Day, Armistice Day, follows:
Long before this, way back in the day, Ronald Reagan narrated this original pieces of General George Patton. Note that the first thing he does in a victory speech is to remember the fallen. Lest we forget.
I suppose I’m eccentric, but for the moments when the cemetery was empty of visitors, I drove the paths and side-paths slowly, stopping often, while letting the bagpipes belt out on the car speakers. I’m sure the angels didn’t mind. It’s quite the powerful video.
Early this morning I took a trip up to Valleytown Cemetery and cleaned up some of the more poorly taken-care-of gravestones, replanting fallen flags of the veterans. A parishioner happened by and we prayed together in the lower end of the cemetery.
Way back up top, not far from the chapel, one will see this marker above. Look closely at the dates. That’s SIXTEEN years old, folks. Sixteen. What was I doing at 16? I wasn’t laying down my life for anyone. This guy was laying down his life for us all at 16.
Do you want to know what a Gold Star family looks like? Look at the inscription on the marker of the picture below, and then look at the dates…
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.
Memorial Day is coming up. When I was a kid, my idea of a cemetery was that it was filled with people who died of old age. It was one of Ronald Reagan’s many speeches at Arlington National Cemetery which set me straight. They’re all boys, teenagers, some out of high school, some just married, all of them giving all.
In this sorry world, we are all of us living on borrowed time bought and paid for. We must be thankful.
Meanwhile, Jesus, lays down His life to bring us to eternal life. He stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty, mercy bought and paid for in His own justice. We must be thankful. Humbly thankful.
Meanwhile, did you notice all the crosses in the cemetery? Can you pick out the Stars of David? I see two.
Before Mass at Noon we all marched outside and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, as is the custom on this Memorial Day, we raised the flag which had been at half mast in honor of the fallen heroes, and then quickly raised at Noon to honor their achievements for the country and the world. I was sopping wet under the vestments, as I had just been to the cemetery. It was raining. But, you’ll hear about that. And about this 16 year old…
That kind of brings it home. You’ll hear about that…