Sunday, December 31, 2006

Time Marches On....but stop for a moment and give pause...

Sunny - Hi 53 Lo 35 for Baghdad, Iraq
Rainy - Hi 56 Lo 46 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Time of Your Life,
Green Day


I have always found comfort in pomp and ceremony- the steadfast ritual of tradition. With age, it has become more meaningful. From baptisms to weddings to funerals the symbolism of what is done and said can be quite moving.

Ceremonies of this nature are an opportunity to reflect on the life to be, the life in progress, or the life lived. It is only natural when reflecting on someone else's journey we look at our own journey. At the time of President Reagan's death, the entire country grieved-- Never in my life had I witnessed anything like that--- The outpouring of sympathy, the grief we felt as a nation--During President Reagan's state funeral, like the rest of the nation, I felt that I had lost a close member of my family. He meant that much to me. I desperately wanted to go to Washington, but that was out of the question so, in trying to deal with my own grief, I focused my attention on "the schedule" of the funeral. I took comfort in learning the symbolism of the caisson, the Old Guard, in understanding the meaning of the caparisoned horse (riderless horse). I found out when they were going to do 21 gun salutes, I learned about the history of the Lincoln catafalque upon which Reagan's (and now Ford's) casket rests. In learning and knowing the schedule, I felt comforted. I was being tasked to do something. I had a purpose. It helped. Pomp and ceremony is designed to do that.

A plan for a funeral must be in place when the president takes office. However, once he has left office the president and his family sit down and design a detailed funeral. The funeral is a reflection of the man and his first lady. (Tuck that away in a recess of your mind for future consumption.) The men and women that carry out these orders for the family are the most compelling- the most the simplest of terms they are carrying out orders, but with that they are showing the utmost respect for the fallen comrade or fallen leader... If you have ever been to a military funeral, the silent precision of the changing of the guard gives chills and brings tears.

Our nation is so young... We have only had 43 presidents... 43... That is one hell of a small club. In that time we have fought in 11 wars. The deadliest was the Civil War with nearly 620,000 lives lost. Our ugliest moment in time was our fight within....................

It has been said and I concur that President Ford was a decent man- kind, honest, humble. As a nine year old, I remember his voice more than anything-- soothing.... comforting... His voice was that of a great uncle or grandfather.

"I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances.... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts."

When President Ford took office- it proved once again that our government works. No, he was not elected- not as Vice President, nor as President, but a series of events brought him to this most exclusive of clubs and it is the chain of command that our brilliant forefathers had the insight to put in place. Our government did not stop... Yes, we were coming out of Viet Nam and the scandal of Watergate... Our flag had been witness to much worse... President Ford was the man to bring calm to our nation. The feeding frenzy needed to end and end it he did.

OK...OK... President Ford was........a little on the boring side... But in reflection, he wasn't boring at all. He was simply a quiet soft spoken gentleman of integrity, honesty, and good character. Chevy Chase came to fame making fun of the man. But remember, President Ford was an athlete... he was masculine grace.... He was offered contracts to play professional football-- the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. He turned them down............. He went to Yale and became an attorney. Like so many of his generation he served his country during WWII. From there he served his country for another quarter of a century in Congress and we know the rest... 6 months as the Vice President and President for a little over 2 years.

I remember the 2 attempts on the President's life- one by Squeaky Fromme and the other by Sara Jane Moore.

But what I remember most vividly and fondly are the family moments and their dog having puppies...

So, as I watched President Ford's motorcade last night on Fox, I reflected on my personal remembrances and what the Ford Legacy will mean to me... I will remember that he brought comfort to us when we thought our government was vile and corrupt. But more importantly, I will remember a big gentle man that loved his wife and loved his family and loved his golden retriever, Liberty...........

We live in such an amazing country. We live in an amazing time. WE have a responsibility to the next generation to leave it better than the way we received it. We live in a time when the enemy is no longer defined by a border- a nation... It is our responsibility to remain vigilant. We owe it to our founding fathers who fought so couragously for our independence and freedom.

We owe it to our great great grandparents that endured a nation that was ripped apart in a time of great inner turmoil. I have no doubt President Lincoln was our greatest president. A lesser man would have crumbled. He knew what our nation stood for.

And, we owe it to the greatest generation... the generation that fought a war against an evil tyranny-- that put everything aside to remember Pearl Harbor...a generation that sacrificed so much...

As I look back in reflection at 2006, I must look forward to 2007. It appears we are approaching a fork in the road. I will remain vigilant and stand by my convictions that my family raised me to uphold.

What will our nation do? Where is she headed?

We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature has placed in our power... the battle, sir, is not to the strong alone it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.

-Patrick Henry

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

* Blogger and Spc. J. R. Salzman from Lumberjack in a Desert was injured before Christmas. He lost his right arm and his left arm has been injured as well. He is currently at Walter Reed Hospital. Go visit him and send him a note or leave him a comment... go...go now... really.

H/T: BlackFive and Little Green Footballs

* Military District of Washington - Guardians of the Nation's Capital

* Military District of Washington - The MDW is responsible for administering of state funerals. Visit this website to learn more about the funeral, the schedule, "the why'd they do that's...."

* Ford Presidential Library and Museum - A letter from Mrs. Ford can be found here. Photos of President Ford courtesy of the Ford Presidential Library and Museum. Please click on photo to enlarge.

* U.S. Torture and Atrocities - Visit this site... you can see all the awful things that are happening in Iraq.... really... go... I love our servicemen......

* Goomba News Network - Last May we lost one of the best bloggers- Nickie was kind, giving and so bloody funny. His blog, Nickie Goomba, was one of the funniest around. He hit serious topics too--- I still miss him. Thankfully, some of his familia have put the GNN back on the blogosphere... enjoy.

* Earth Cam - New York City - Watch the ball drop on Times Square.

Time of Your Life

Another turning point
A fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist
directs you where to go.
So make the best of this test
and don't ask why.
It's not a question
But a lesson learned in time.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs
and still frames in your mind.
Hang them on a shelf
In good health and good times
Tattoos and memories
and dead skin on trial.
For what it's worth,
it was worth all the while.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

I wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!


seejanemom said...

I went over there earlier this week. Bless his heart. Honestly, when are Americans going to wake up and realize who is going to bat for their right to blather on about hating America?

Laura said...

Thanks for a great post. One of my memories of President Ford is receiving a printed card of congratulations from him when I attained the rank of First Class Cadette in Girl Scouts. He was a great supporter of Scouting, in general.

Happy New Year, Cathy!! Best wishes, Laura

Mike said...

Who will we get to replace men of this kind as they leave us? John McCain and his ilk? I don't think so.

Jedi Master Rob said...

These past few days have been an eye-opener in regards to President Ford. All that I knew of him was that he seemed a little boring and that he was the President that Chevy Chase built his career upon in those early days of SNL. Only now, after he has passed, have I learned of his quiet nature and strength of character. He never planned and schemed to "leave a legacy" like President Clinton. He knew that he had a duty to the American people regardless if they had elected him or not. . regardless of how they would remember him.

President Ford was not about receiving kudos, "attaboys" or grandstanding. To me, he personifies President Reagan's famous quote: "There's no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."

Great post.