Remembering Those Who Fought & Died, Honoring the Struggle for Peace

Decoration Day — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
… Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.

… Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

You silent tents of green,
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

Amazing Peace (excerpt) — Dr. Maya Angelou

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

… We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature? We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

… Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.
In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

… We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Peace.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

… On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

… We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

On Memorial Day, I don’t want to only remember the combatants. There were also those who came out of the trenches as writers and poets, who started preaching peace, men and women who have made this world a kinder place to live. — Eric Burdon

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived. — George S. Patton

Only the dead have seen the end of war. — Plato

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. — Mark Twain

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. — Joseph Campbell

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. — Mother Teresa of Calcutta

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. — John F Kennedy

My life is my message. — Mahatma Gandhi

Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed. — Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO

The hunger to belong is not merely a desire to be attached to something. It is rather sensing that great transformation and discovery become possible when belonging is sheltered and true. — John O’Donohue

I started thinking about that, and I used to think that the Talib would come, and he would just kill me. But then I said, ‘If he comes, what would you do Malala?’ then I would reply to myself, ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’
But then I said, ‘If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.’
Then I said I will tell him how important education is and that ‘I even want education for your children as well.’ And I will tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.’― Malala Yousafzai

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. — Otto Rank

Let us be kind, one to another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle. — Ian MacLaren, aka Rev John Watson

All my work, my life, everything I do is about survival, not just bare, awful, plodding survival, but survival with grace and faith. While one may encounter many defeats, one must not be defeated. — Maya Angelou


Proud to Be an American (excerpt) — Lee Greenwood
And I’m proud
to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men
who died, who gave
that right to me.

The Times They Are A’Changing — Bob Dylan
… Come writers and critics
Who prophesies with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, Congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

… The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Meditations on “Spirit”

Advocate to be with you forever. … the Spirit … abides with you … will be in you … because I live, you also will live … I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. — excerpts from Gospel of John 14

Interrelationship — Thich Nhat Hanh
You are me, and I am you.
Isn’t it obvious that we “inter-are”?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.

I support you;
you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy.

A Little Homily for the Holy Seasons of the Spirit  (excerpt) — Joseph Langland

Through all my childhood I often beheld ragged sparrows
flying upward throughout a series of lesser fallings,
beating their filmy feathers around the nest-clogged barn eaves.
Being no St Francis feeding among the field lilies,

I fell through tumbling air.
It is scarcely daring for birds to begin falling;
then grace is natural. Bedazzling flight
begins in descent until lovelier upswinging
embraces the side-slipping wings.
Then birds fly and heart skips.

Descent is good folly;
therefore, as it is sometimes holy
inasmuch as bird-natural worlds are an expression
in ranges of goodness and omnipresent wickedness,
of bright platonic otherworlds and omnipotent wills …


Adult life is dealing with an enormous amount of questions that don’t have answers. So I let the mystery settle into my music. I don’t deny anything, I don’t advocate anything, I just live with it. — Bruce Springsteen

The world is changed by your example not by your opinion. — Paulo Coelho

Even the smallest person can change the future … — JRR Tolkien

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one. — St Mother Theresa of Calcutta

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Be mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. — The Talmud (303, excerpt)

Tikkun Olam — The Repair of the World: If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that God has left for you to complete. But if you only see what is wrong and what is ugly, then it is you yourself that needs repair. — Menachem Mendel Schneerson

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. — Greek proverb

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” & “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever humans endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides … neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” — Elie Wiesel

The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. — Albert Einstein

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others? — Martin Luther King, Jr.

 


Peace Prayer — St Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Don’t Bother the Earth Spirit — Joy Harjo
Don’t bother the earth spirit who lives here. She is working on a story. It is the oldest story in the world and it is delicate, changing. If she sees you watching she will invite you in for coffee, give you warm bread, and you will be obligated to stay and listen. But this is no ordinary story. You will have to endure earthquakes, lightning, the deaths of all those you love, the most blinding beauty. It’s a story so compelling you may never want to leave; this is how she traps you. See that stone finger over there? That is the only one who ever escaped.

Meditations on Presence and Matriarchs

Come into Animal Presence — Denise Levertov
Come into animal presence.
No man is so guileless as
the serpent. The lonely white
rabbit on the roof is a star
twitching its ears at the rain.
The llama intricately
folding its hind legs to be seated
not disdains but mildly
disregards human approval.
What joy when the insouciant
armadillo glances at us and doesn’t
quicken his trotting
across the track into the palm brush.

What is this joy? That no animal
falters, but knows what it must do?
That the snake has no blemish,
that the rabbit inspects his strange surroundings
in white star-silence? The llama
rests in dignity, the armadillo
has some intention to pursue in the palm-forest.
Those who were sacred have remained so,
holiness does not dissolve, it is a presence
of bronze, only the sight that saw it
faltered and turned from it.
An old joy returns in holy presence.

You. Your presence. Why can I not dip into your presence as I dip into sleep, clasp it and bask in it? How hold it? How savour it? It is more than I wanted. And less. — Muriel Ciolkowska

Your true home is in the here and the now. ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Be here now. — Ram Dass

Being fully present isn’t something that happens once and then you have achieved it; it’s being awake to the ebb and flow and movement and creation of life, being alive to the process of life itself. That also has its softness. … This is the process of making friends with ourselves and with our world. It involves not just the parts we like, but the whole picture, because it all has a lot to teach us. — Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness

Whether you understand it or not, God loves you, is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and compassion which are like nothing you have ever found in a book or heard in a sermon. ― Thomas Merton, The Hidden Ground Of Love

Here both recognizes and demands recognition … In order for something to be handed over a hand must extend and a hand must receive. We must both be here in this world in this life in this place indicating the presence of. ― Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
— Mark Twain

My mother said to me, “If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.” Instead I was a painter and became Picasso. — Pablo Picasso

The fastest way to break the cycle of perfectionism and become a fearless mother is to give up doing it perfectly — indeed to embrace uncertainty and imperfection. — Arianna Huffington

Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known. You’re being loved even more than your mother loved you when you were an infant, more than you were ever loved by your father, your child, or your most intimate lover—anyone. … This love is actually part of you; it is always flowing through you. It’s like the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything. When you tune in to that flow, you will feel it in your own heart—not your physical heart or your emotional heart, but your spiritual heart, the place you point to in your chest when you say, “I am.” This is your deeper heart, your intuitive heart. It is the place where the higher mind, pure awareness, the subtler emotions, and your soul identity all come together and you connect to the universe, where presence and love are. ― Ram Dass, Be Love Now

Mother
Whatever she was to me, she was the human
caught in something she could hardly stand,
she was like a flying singing being,
limed and jessed, a small soprano
of the trees, of ngetal and luis, reed and quickbeam.
No one said I had come from inside her,
yet from where else but that softness and music,
at birth I had stepped somehow back out of that laurel,
into which I had rushed away from my father,
and my mother was like a sister,
in thrall to three fathers
— mine, and hers, and Our Heavenly.
What she took from me she needed,
and much of what I had I had of her gift.
And it was as if I had known her from long before,
from any town square, back to near our beginning,
as if, in her, I met every woman burned with
ruis, coll, uath, saille, duir, beth, fearn, nion —
elder, hazel, hawthorn, willow, oak, alder, ash.
When I look back, I see her in woods,
woods in flower, though when I knew her
she was doing her time in the live grave,
she ate what she could,
coluratura lips pursed around some smaller spirit,
but if I sing, I sing from her.
First I would hear the note struck
on the piano, then her voice, rising toward it,
Druid mother I would hold now
in my boughs and pour forth
a newborn’s caroling.
— Sharon Olds

Scroll to top