Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Morning Rant 148

We live about a mile from one of the many venerable local cemeteries. As we passed on Sunday morning on the way to church, it was decked out in fresh flowers and other remembrances from those who survived, to honor those who didn’t. It is a place of sublime beauty and peace and of great importance to our neighbors and our friends. While we have no relatives there, we can certainly understand the feelings of those who do. For us, as we drove to church, it provoked memories of more familiar resting places which house the earthly remains of our kin. Those who raised us are all long gone to their just reward. It also provoked warm feeling for the countless others, in our military, whose names are unknown to us, who sacrificed so much for our families. May God grant them the rest which they have so well earned.

Part of the service at church was the presentation of a New Testament to a fine young man who reports for basic training on Tuesday. It is a lovely volume which is scaled to fit in his breast pocket. In previous conversation with him, I had mentioned that I had one as well, nearly sixty years ago which I carried throughout my three year stint. I neglected to mention that mine had a steel plate in one of the covers. I am personally convinced that the spiritual significance of the book was of far more value than that physical aspect. I still have it!

“Meaning of a Flag-Draped Coffin”

The following was sent to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends. At a military funeral, it is tradition for the honor guard to remove the flag prior to interment, fold it thirteen times and present the result to family members. It is a moving ceremony and invariably reflects the honor and respect the members have for both the deceased and the flag.

After some research, it was determined that there is no official “script” to accompany the folding of the American flag for presentation. The one printed here is usually attributed to a former chaplain at the Air Force Academy but should not be construed as official. For your consideration; here follows the note:

”All Americans should be given this lesson. Those who think that America is an arrogant nation should really reconsider that thought. Read it and be proud of the country we live in and even more proud of those who serve to protect our 'GOD GIVEN' rights and freedoms.

Here is how to understand the flag that laid upon the coffin and is surrendered to so many widows and widowers. Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day! The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, 'Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.'

The 6th fold is for where people's hearts lie. It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their nations motto, 'In God We Trust.'

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today. There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why.”

Official or not, it will bring a deeper meaning when I see Old Glory dutifully and respectfully folded for presentation.

And Finally

Granny put a new hummingbird feeder out and it raises one question. Where were those critters hiding before the new feeder appeared? Suddenly, the air is full of them. They bring a whole new definition to the concept of avian speed. The only one which can be positively identified is of course, the most common—the ruby throated. The feeder was hung from a vacant support which is only about 5’ from the regular bird feeder. There appears to be no conflict between the two groups of birds. This is no doubt because they use completely different feeding systems. When the hummingbird tongue is extended for an entry to the feeder (or flower?) it appears, with the long beak, to be as long in total as the bird itself.

From my chair at the computer, it is exactly 12’ to the feeders through a huge window. This is exactly what I had in mind when I designed and built the room and the covered deck. Further, my grape experiment is coming nicely and they are more than half way to the roof top trellis in less than two years. God is good.

We have elected to stow the extreme rant for this occasion and curb our critical tendencies. There will be much left to complain about tomorrow. Enjoy your Holiday and a day of remembrance for those who gave their all to provide the freedom to continue our lives in liberty.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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