Beyond The Horizon

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The Sounds of Silence
Pieces of April 1975 
Sometimes I may hear a song, see someone or often it’s just a slight odor that takes me back. Back to a time and place that resides in the dark recesses of my memory. I had one of those; “Memory Rewinds” a few days ago, as I often do. One that I have, each time I hear a very special song. I am instantly recalling a period in my life when I was lost in my own self pity. A time when I didn’t know who I was, who I wanted to be or where I was going. As I look back at this chapter in my life; from a more learned and self aware persona, I can at present, make some sense of it.

I am in no way glorifying any of my actions or non-actions. My thought-less, selfish and destructive attitude was childish and ignorant. Although this period has its place in my life book, I do have regrets.

In late 1975 on the Island of Okinawa-Japan, my overseas tour and enlistment was coming to an end. I was assigned to Naval Gunfire Platoon, Communications Company and had enjoyed my job as a Spotter. By this time I Had completed two major West Pacific deployments, multiple training exercises in the Philippines and a trip to Pohang, Korea. I was skilled in Jungle Survival, Naval Gunfire Support and Tactical Air Support. Proud to be a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps and loved every minute of it, (well not all of them).

I especially hated the days that my best buddies Danny (R.I.P) and Richard left the ‘Rock’, Okinawa. We had become very tight during our tour together, that had climaxed with the Evacuations of Phnom Penn, Cambodia and Saigon, South Vietnam.

Before that experience, I was very self-absorbed, overconfident and extremely ignorant.  During the months of March and April 1975 that  person died.  The exposure to such political chaos, human suffering and death awakened something or someone inside me. I felt so helpless, ashamed, frustrated and outraged. There was nothing I could truly do to relieve the suffering of those innocent people. Against a communist aggressor, these people who had waged war with us by their side. We, the United States, had abandoned them exactly two years earlier in their fight for freedom. The anger and hatred I felt for the invading North Vietnamese was nearly overwhelming. I was only able to contain and control these overpowering emotions by focusing all my energy on those that needed me. As hundreds, came aboard our ship, other Marines and I escorted them to designated areas, and during the voyage from Saigon to Subic Bay we stood guard over them (I remember feeling so small and humbled). We soon however found ourselves catering to their needs and doing anything to comfort them and even entertain the children. Their helplessness, sadness, fears and anxieties were contagious and overwhelming. I was however, comforted in knowing the gratitude of hundreds for my small part in saving them from death or a life of oppression.


 Please Follow...

I cannot say for sure when the transformation took place, weather it happened during that experience, or after. It is also possible that I continue to transform, even as I write this memoir. I became; No more the scared, ignorant child with no point of view. I began to search my soul and ask many questions of myself and others. I often spent hours contemplating my place in the scheme of things and pondering my future or non-future with the Marines.

Consuming ‘strong drink,’ alcohol was a way of escaping and avoiding the reality of life events and choices. I often drank myself into a stupor listening to Simon and Garfunkel, 'The Sounds of Silence.'


 The Escort 
From July 1946 To June 1948 Sgt Elmer Prater was stationed at Marine Barracks, Philadelphia, PA.  He served as part of the Security Detail until July 1947. He was then sent to: The Department of Army, Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot, American Graves Registration Service, Distribution Center #3. While there he was assigned the duties of Administrative Support and Escort of Remains.

Below is a list of Fallen Marines he escorted home between November 1947 and April 1948.

Cpl Thomas N. Norton, 517611 to Beverly, N.J. on 4 November 1947
PVT Jerome J. Cichocki, 967987 to Wilmington, Del. on 2 April 1948
Cpl Elwood Wright Earman, 497118 to Harrisonburg, VA. on 15 April 1948
Cpl Andrew N. Di Filippo, 399499 to Ardmore, PA. on 28 April 1948

 
”George Washington, then Command-in- Chief of the Continental Army signed an order on August 7, 1782 creating the  first Purple Heart; The Badge of Military Merit."






"Let it be known that he who wears the  Military Order of the Purple Heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall  forever be revered by his fellow countrymen."

Since WWI, The Purple Heart Medal has been awarded in the name of the President, to members of the U. S. Armed Forces who have been wounded or killed while engaged in Combat.      

 


 

Elmer Prater Serves in the 3C’s
The below Documentary has been constructed using official records obtained by the writer from the National Personnel Records Center.
Roland Clemons and Elmer Prater 1941
Elmer Prater 1941













Elmer enrolled in the 3C’s at the age of 18yrs, in April 1941. He and a close friend, Roland Clemons requested enrollment together on 14 April 1941. Note: On the application form, this question was asked: Applicant’s reason(s) for desiring enrollment? Elmer answered: “Help parents and learn some trade.” On 17 April 1941 Elmer and Roland signed the 3C’s contract and were administered the CCC Oath of Enrollment at Stanton, Kentucky for a period of six months. Both were in a physical conditioning program until 21 April.
Records do not indicate where they went for conditioning, although references indicate conditioning was conducted by US Army personnel at the nearest Military installation to the place of enrollment.
A few days later, Elmer and Roland arrived at Fort Douglas, Utah. Fort Douglas was the Headquarters for the 3C’s program and a US Army Post. Under the direction of Army personnel, 3C’s enrollees completed many projects for the National and State Park Service. Six months later, on 1 October 1941 Elmer re-enrolled for another six months as a ‘Senior Leader’ and on 1 November 1941 he was transferred to the 2557th Company at Camp Ruby Lake, Nevada.

Six months later, he again re-enrolled, and again, was transferred. On 16 May 1942 he reported to the 2539th Company at G-108 Wells, Nevada. The Town of Wells, Nevada is just north of Ruby Lake, founded in 1869 by the Central Pacific Railroad. This enrollment and new assignment however, did not last six months, and on 23 June 1942 Elmer was ‘Honorably Discharged’. Records show that he had requested an early discharge to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.

During his 14 months of 3C's service, Elmer was paid about $30.00 per month. However, the CCC Finance Administration, sent $25.00 home to his parents each month. He was allowed to keep $5.00. Note: My Grand-Father, Vincent Prater operated a small country store from his home and was constructing a building that would become, 'Prater's Store'. It is well known in the Prater Family that the money sent home was used to buy cinder blocks for construction of the store.

I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this bit of Family History. Ask your Parents, Grand-Parents, Aunts and Uncles. You may discover; Someone in your Family played an important role in our Nations History.

Some CCC History:
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program for unemployed men age 18-24, providing unskilled manual labor related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural areas of the United States from 1933 to 1942. As part of the New Deal legislation proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), the CCC was designed to provide relief for unemployed youth who had a very hard time finding jobs during the Great Depression while implementing a general natural resource conservation program on public lands in every U.S. state, including the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The CCC became the most popular New Deal program among the general public, providing jobs for a total of 3 million young men from families on relief. The CCC was never considered a permanent program and depended on emergency and temporary legislation for its existence. On June 30, 1942 Congress voted to eliminate funding for the CCC, formally ceasing active operation of the program.
During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide that would become the start of most state parks, developed forest fire fighting methods and a network of thousands of miles of public roadways, and constructed buildings connecting the nation's public lands.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 
Recently I was selected for a special training and treatment program at the VA Clinic near my home. At the time of this entry, I had been in the program for about four weeks.  

First; allow me to give you a bit of back ground. I have been receiving treatment, counseling and medication for job related issues for many years. The first time I was hospitalized and received treatment was in early 1985 while on Recruiting Duty in Jacksonville, Florida. During the rest of my career, I was hospitalized twice more and finally diagnosed and prescribed medication and treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I decided to retire from the Military in September 1998 after more than 24 years of service in the Marines and Navy.
This brings us to present day: In this new program I am being asked to confront traumatic experiences head on. I am to evaluate a specific event or multiple events and the effect(s) they have had on me. There is actual writing involved. I have found it very difficult to put past events into words; words that describe the event, my feelings (emotions), actions and re-actions during and after. Specific details, such as names and dates elude me. The right words to explain the traumatic event(s) just don't seem to find their place on the paper. I become extremely frustrated and overwhelmed with emotion, and am unable to complete a project, satisfactorily.
It is and has been much easier to write fictional stories.
"Reality can be Brutal!"

Forgive Me
 My Dear Friend, Forgive me. In all these years I haven’t called, scribble a few lines or sent a card. I would really like to talk with you or sit and write page after page. However, when I ponder the conversation we might have, or the meaningless lines upon the page… A gentle sadness overcomes me…So I retreat.
 
Wonderful times we must have had. Jokes, stories and friends, of course we shared, you’ve told me so. Sadly My Dear Friend, the decades since, I have lost much. I can no longer put a name to a face, or a face to a name. Even meaningful and special events need much coxing to be brought fore in memory.

Dear Friend, you may be comforted in this: Although, my mind’s eye can no longer see, my Heart will forever be warmed. It will be warmed by the knowing of a more joyful and peaceful time shared with you.

And so…Each time you hope for a call, a card or a letter, read this note. By the knowing, your Heart too will be warmed.

Solace  
For those: Fraught with profound, overwhelming Anger.
You ask; “Why do I see so much Anger in your eyes? Why is it that Anger seems to be your fashion?”
Unexpected is my reply - But soon, understood…
“You see; Anger is my persona, my name, my legacy.” I am; Adult-child of Abuse and Neglect, born of incident. Poverty, Hunger, Illiteracy and Pride are my Ancestors. My sustenance was alcoholism. I was fostered with abandonment. Punishment verses discipline was my first lesson learned. Failure became my middle name and Hopeless my nickname. Introvertism and apprehensiveness was my adolescent shield. I mastered early, the art of masquerading, cloaked behind a veil. War and Carnage advanced the melding of the boy to man. Chaos, Un-truths and Aversion; Ruled and engulfed my existence. My apathetic soul was forged by, Death and Betrayal. My closest friends became Hatred and Malice. I depended on them to be resolute and right, always the black or white. Father Time and Ghosts of Age built for me, a strong fortress a dungeon. The walls are constructed of Sadness, Hurtfulness and Pain. Before the gate stands Ambiguity, the Praetorian Guard. Armies of Doubt, Denial and Avoidance patrol with-out. I know I must escape, open wide the fortress gate.
The Tyrant within me must submit. My motto now; “Defeat with Honor and Esteem.” Optimism - my armor. Hope - my sword. Valor, Reason and Accord; my comrades. Shackles of doom will fall. Liberation awaits.

Hitherto, my name and my standard - Anger.  Absolute victory achieved, the recompense - mine.

Forevermore, a new name.  By a new name, I will be celebrated. The name shall be Solace;

Solace of Courage – Solace of Loyalty.”
John Vincent Prater © 2010

Treasured Memories  
A family member, after reading some of my poetry asked if I could write something about Corsie Noble Prater, my Grandmother. Many times since, I have sat for long moments thinking about Grand-ma. I always have the same picture of her in my mind. She is wearing one of her long flowered dresses that buttoned down in front and fell about half way between her knees and her black leather shoes. Her long black hair with streaks of grey was always pulled tightly back and tied in a bun on the crown of her head. Warm eyes, behind black framed glasses seemed to look deep inside my soul when she talked with me. She would say “Johnny, when you get older, please don’t smoke, cuss or drink whiskey. They’re no good for you. Promise me you won’t do any of that bad stuff.” I’m not sure why I remember her saying that to me. I think maybe she must have said it more than once, and I can almost feel her pain and anguish as I play it over and over in my mind. It wasn’t until I was a little older, maybe ten or twelve that I began to understand what she had meant. Eating my Grand-ma’s cooking was one of the best things I remember. I could never get enough gravy, biscuits, and fried apples. It was so much fun to watch her enjoy her coffee too. I would always ask for a taste, but she’d tell me that it would stunt my growth. “Coffee is an adult drink. “ She’d say. She liked it very hot and with milk. I don’t know if she used sugar, I never paid much attention to that. What sticks so vividly in my minds’ eye, is how she would pour it gently into the saucer under the cup. Then she would sip it from the saucer. Back then as a kid I thought; how funny is that. Now I realize she was doing it to cool the coffee just a bit so she could really enjoy it. After a few times of this ritualistic method, she would drink the rest from the cup.

Big meals on special occasions or holidays were the greatest. There was always so much food and delicious pies and deserts. I was the most shy of shy boys in those early years. I know now I was more than a little introverted and had a lot of anxiety about being with lots of people, even family. I was usually a loner and looked for a corner to eat my food. I preferred it when it was just me, Grand-pa, Grand-ma and my Uncle Arnold in the house. I felt that sometimes my Grand-ma liked to be alone also. When it was just her and me eating one of my favorite meals, fried chicken, soup beans (pinto beans) and cornbread, she was my fun Grand-ma. If you have even eaten a ‘Down Home Country Cooked Meal’ as I just described; then you know it is finger lick’n good, literally. Now, I am one of those country-raised boys that was taught to clean his plate. A phrase I grew up with, and try to practice even today was, “Waste not, Want not.” So… I would watch my Grand-ma; gingerly gather bits of crumbled cornbread between her thumb and two fingers. With my head down, pretending not to notice, I watched has her delicate fingers-tips moved around the plate. When she was finished, there was not a crumb of cornbread or bean soup left on her plate. Not knowing, she was teaching me. Moreover, as I write this, the emotions swell up inside me. I am over-whelmed with Love and Admiration for her. My Grand-ma was showing me what it meant to truly be your-self and enjoy things in your own special way. Her numerous, subtle teachings touched me and molded me in many ways. Treasures all, some to share the rest now stored away in my minds scrape book and photo album of her and that old wonderful house on the hill.

Corsie Noble Prater was a wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend to many. To me, her young scared grandson, she was the most important woman in my life. As I have no memories of my birth mother, just a few black and white photos, my beautiful Grandmother did her best to shelter me, comfort me and teach me Love. And… as different as they may be from yours, these are my memories of the Grandest Lady in the whole wide world.


Mother

This woman, in whose womb I became. This woman, who birthed me, gave of herself so that I may be nourished, nurtured and protected. This woman in whose bosom my head did lay, whose hands held me near so to know no fear. Her warm soft touch and gentle kisses giving form to my heart from the very start. This woman whose calming voice soothed, comforted and guided me along, un-knowingly molding the future me. All this and more a wonderful dream to cherish and hold. The truth be told… I neither know nor need another story. J.V.P 2007


Finding Love 
We must always learn from events in our life.
Love is a very powerful force that is not to be taken lightly. Love does not plan it's next move or carefully choose victims or advocates. Love simply waits right there in the open until discovered by passers-by. There are also other emotions, feeling and attitudes waiting in close proximity to Love. Sometimes it is easy to mistakenly grab hold of an impostor. If this happens, Love is left standing all alone watching as you struggle with the charlatan. Let your Heart be your guide not your mind. The mind can deceive you, the body and its strange and wonderful reactions can confuse you.  But... Your Heart will never lie and will never betray you.

Teenagers vs Adults 
Teenagers, in general seem to be more defiant and rebellious in today’s society than ever before. I find that there are many who dwell outside the house of common courtesy and decency. I do however doubt these same teens behave the same in their home, and interact with parents and grandparents in similar manners as they do in public. These comments are my own and I will attempt to express my opinion without speaking for anyone. I take full ownership and responsibility for what follows:

I have experienced and witnessed such behaviors first hand on several occasions. The most recent incident occurred just this morning , as High School Students in my neighborhood made their way to the school bus stop on a near- by corner. This incident is not the first of its kind nor will it be the last. First, allow me to describe the street I live on and nearly all the similar streets in this community. The street is narrow, but is the standard for two-way traffic. There are sidewalks on either side that are usually walk-able from end to end, as it is one of the association rules to not block the sidewalks. This particular street is a kind of thruway for families that reside in the community as well as the gated community to the west end of the street. This street in short as it spans only two blocks with about ten homes on either side. There are two speed-bumps, low and rounded, not steep and sharp. As you can imagine, they do nothing to keep traffic at the require 25mph.

That morning, just before 7:00 AM the constant beep-beep sound of a vehicle in reverse prompted me to take a look. I will admit I am sort of the watchdog for our street. My neighbor directly across from me was preparing to leave for work. He had his car in the street, which is appropriate as it was after 6:00 AM. What I observed is typical behavior, as I mentioned above, for many of the Teens in this community. A large mini-bus contracted to provide transportation for special needs children was directly in front of my home. The driver was attempting to maneuver around a Teenager walking in the middle of the street. As my neighbors’ car was on the right side of the street, this left more than enough room for the mini-bus. However, there was an obstacle, the Teen who had no intention of moving. Another vehicle was approaching from the opposite end of the street with no plans for slowing down for the speed bump. The mini-bus driver was forced to back out of the way of the approaching vehicle as he/she was blocking the left side of the street. The Teen, still standing in the middle of the street proceeded on his way to the corner bus stop. The mini-bus was again forced to go around him as other vehicles waited impatiently behind. The school bus was at the corner, just to my left and front. A white sedan that had been behind the mini-bus stopped and picked up the Teen. As he entered the vehicle he remarked; “That (blank) almost hit me!” The white sedan sped toward the corner, vaulting the speed bump stooping at the corner. Several other teenagers exited the sedan including the one who had inspired this blog. The driver of the white sedan put his car in reverse and proceeded to travel back the direction he had come. He drove past two homes to my left before backing into a driveway to make a 180. He then continued on his way to the end of the street and the waiting stop sign.

After shaking my head at the scene that had just unfolded before me, I stood at my front entry trying to enjoying the morning fresh air. Turning to go back into my home, I considered what I had just witnessed while suppressing the mounting emotions and negative thoughts inside me.


Universe 
The Sun is the center of our Planetary Universe,
giving light, warmth and nourishment to all that revolves around it.

Are you the Sun; the center of the Universe for others?
Do you brighten their lives? Do you warm their souls?
Do you give substance so that they may become a brilliant star?

The answer is not within, it is without.
Open your heart - Open your mind. 
Reflections of yourself are in the many eyes
turned upward as they revolve around you.

You Are The Center of Their Universe.


What Are Values?
 I beg your indulgence as you follow along with my passionate statements, innuendos and conjectures, in this no holds barred bit of philosophy – perspective.

Life experiences teach us many lessons, many of which may come with steep prices. Life (used as a noun), takes every opportunity to teach us useful and rewarding lessons. The longer we walk among the living, the more we should glean from our experiences. Sometimes, Life must use drastic measures and slap us down on more than one occasion to get a lesson to sink in. Why is this? Are we so hard headed or just plain ignorant? There have times in my own walk, that I have shielded my eyes from the truth. I was guilty of not adhering to my own principals, or those of the moral majority. I was careful however, not to break the laws of man. I would merely bend or ignore them to meet my own selfish needs. In no way am I attempting to validate my own ignorant actions. I am deeply regretful of any harm past actions may have caused others.

As upright and moral Human Beings, we are entrusted with the responsibility of sharing our knowledge with those who come behind us. More specifically, we are tasked with providing direction to our children. The shocking truth I have become more and more aware of is this: “The once-up-on-a-time traditional, moral values of the by-gone years have become by-gone values.” When this phenomenon began to take root is difficult to discern. Some would place the blame on the ever changing power of media and the content there-in. Others might say the fault lies with our government and or our religious leaders, how-ever separate they may be. Many would condemn war and conflicts among the world’s nations. Proclaiming; “Violence breeds violence.” But, what of values, where have they gone? Is there a lack on values in the world today? No! Values are today as big a part of a person’s conscious decisions as they always have been. In today’s world however, values – ideals – principles – standards and ethics have taken on new and different meanings. Although, the previously mentioned words are synonyms of the other, they are misused and misunderstood. We no longer use these words to describe a person’s or a nation’s character. We have become accustomed to stating or asking; “They have absolutely no moral values.” “What kind of values do they have?” “Do they have any values at all?” It may surprise you to know that; yes, they have values. The questionable values have been adapted to fit a specific situation or period in the Life of this person or nation. We know that there are many factors that affect ones ultimate concept of values. Just a few of these are: culture, religion, education, and race. What we may not know or understand is this concept of ‘Situational Values’.

Consider this situation: You exit the bank after being denied a loan. You have three hungry children at home and one is very sick. Medical bills have broken the bank and you just lost your job. Standing next to a trash bin, you consider your options. Then; you see it. A wallet is lying on the ground. As you pick it up, you notice the corners of three one-hundred dollar bills. What would you do???

Now... Consider this situation: You exit the bank after being denied a loan. You have three hungry children at home and one is very sick. Medical bills have broken the bank and you just lost your job. Standing next to a trash bin, you consider your options. Then; you see it. A wallet is lying on the ground. As you pick it up, you notice the corners of three one-hundred dollar bills. As you slide the bills from the wallet, a business card comes with them. The card belongs to the mother of your very best friend: What would you do???

Situational Values – Attitude, needs, and information may play significant roles in lives many decisions. If you believe yourself to be of ‘High Moral Standards,’ let nothing nor no one influence you to make a decision that will lead to you having – Situational Values.
Created: October 2009


Memorial Day Speech 2009
(Not delivered as written: I spoke briefly and then shared the Poem)
It is an Extreme Honor to be standing here today.  As a Living Veteran, I am humbled and blessed to be speaking to and sharing with you our respect and admiration for our Fallen Veterans.  Thank you……
Before I speak about Memorial Day and our Heroes, I need you know a little about me.  Partly so you will not think of me as a stranger and to validate my right to be standing here.  So please bear with me for just a moment:
I was the second son born to a US Marine who served during WWII in the Asia Pacific Campaign, more specifically the Solomon Islands including the taking of Tarawa and the Occupation of Japan.  Why is this significant?  Because, My Father, Elmer Prater was a Breathitt County boy, the son of the late Vincent and Corsie Prater of Wilstacy,   My Father, and all his brothers were my Heroes when I was growing up during the 60’s on HWY 205.  Today MSGT Elmer Prater USMC Retired, has four sons, 3 daughters and a wife - Hattie Mae Prater (who still resides in Jackson (by-the-way)), remembering him today. 
I enlisted in the US Marines in March 1974 just three short months before I was suppose to graduate from Breathitt High with my classmates.  On June 21 Phillip Turner, Pearl (Bubby) Farler and I (all three of us are from Breathitt County) graduated from Marine Corps Basic Training in San Diego California.  As I recall, even though we were split up after Basic, we all left the Marines at the end of our 2-year enlistments.  I came home to Breathitt County in the Spring of 1976 and attended the then Lees Junior College for two semesters of 1976 and 1977. 
In May of 1977, I left Breathitt County again to join the US Navy.  For the most part I have been away from HOME ever since.  I have only visited Jackson a few times over the past 35 years, but Breathitt County has and always will be, my Home.  During my 24 years on active duty, I have been in harms ways many times and spent many, many months away from my wife and children on several occasions. 
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my wife, and best friend for the past 29 years.  Migdalia, had the toughest job in the Military for many years.  She was the wife of a Sailor who was gone more than he was home.  She had to raise three children mostly on her own, and suffer through the birth of our Baby Girl while I was on the other side of the world.
Our eldest son, Juan is now retired from the US Marines having served from 1985 – 2005, Jason is in South Carolina, He’s not a Veteran, but he’s lived in more places than some Vets have.  Love ya’ Son!  Our Baby Girl (God Rest Her Soul) Jennifer was born in May 1983 while I was deployed on an Aircraft carrier.  She was 5 ½ months old when I returned home.  Thank you family, for all the sacrifices you made during our time in the Navy.  I owe you more than life it’s self.
I feel that when we gather to Honor and remember our Fallen and still serving Military Heroes, We should also consider the families of these very special men and women.  Being a surviving family member of a Fallen Warrior is a difficult sacrifice to make.  Having a Husband, wife, son or daughter currently serving in harms-way, is also very tough.  Of course, we are filled with Honor and Pride, but there is always a certain amount of constant fear and anxiety about the danger they may be in.
So,  here we are today following a Tradition.  A Tradition that was started with the placing of Red Poppy Flowers on the graves of Fallen Civil War Soldiers in the 1860’s .  Today there are numerous groups that place small American Flags on graves of Fallen Warriors all over the country.
When Janie first asked me if I would speak today, I immediately began to think about what I would say.  How could I best Honor the men and women who have paid the supreme sacrifice for us?  Those brave souls who were our Friends, Lovers, Neighbors and Family deserve more than I am capable of putting into words.  What if I was not here today?  What if I was one of those that had fallen?  What would I say?  What would they say, to the ones that survived and to those that gathered on such occasions this, to pay their respects?

I believe they might say something like this: 
"Thank you for being here today, to honor me in this way.

Thank you for the flowers and the flag you placed on my grave,
For the tears over the years, and the sweet memories you save.
Thank you for the Street, the Highway, the School and Mall,
In my memory, my name they carry a reminder to one and all.

Thank you for being here today, to remember me in this way.

Thank you for being there each time I stepped off the plane,
For the tears, the hugs and kisses, even in down pouring rain.
Thank you for the cards and letters and the goodies on special days,
And for waiting by the telephone to hear my voice from far away.

Thank you for being here today, I appreciate it though I cannot say.

Thank you for being my wife, my Lover and my friend, from the very start,
For raising our children and for teaching them the reasons we were apart.
Thank you sons and daughters, for giving me purpose, hope and faith.
I did my duty upon the sea and from shore to shore, to keep you safe.

No - The sacrifice was not too great, I am happy this was my fate."

Hidden Society 
Consider a society or culture where everyone is equally responsible one for the other. No one is hungry, everyone shares. No one is without shelter. Every able-body helps build adequate shelter for those that cannot. No one suffers from an illness without proper treatment. The local doctor treats first and never worries about payment. There is no need for multiple political representations. The laws, by, for and of the people are never misinterpreted nor do they become diluted by the wealth of a few. Crimes against a brother or sister are rare. Love and compassion are the corner stone of a person’s values. Depression, sadness and hopelessness are not in the language vocabulary. The prospect of viewing another sunrise, upholds enthusiasm, joy and the knowledge of many new possibilities.

You may take joy in this: There are such societies yet in existence.  Sheltered from the wolves of prosperity, they flourish in secluded wonderfully beautiful places.
I beg of you! Do not seek them out for any reason. They need not the poison of capitalism, the confusion of politics or religion. Let them live in their ignorant bliss, free from the overwhelming cancers inflicted by the capitalistic world beyond the sunset.

Created: October 2007

Tiny Donkey
Pancho was just a little boy the first time Padre Pedro came riding to their humble home on his Tiny Donkey. Pancho’s Mother was quite ill, unable to attend worship in the Chapel on the Hill. Padre Pedro sat by her side holding her hands; with sweet words on his lips. As the sun set over the Chapel on the Hill, she went in peace; with sweet words on her lips. As her spirit returned to God, the Tiny Donkey brayed, the Tiny Donkey brayed.

For many more years, Padre Pedro brought hundreds of souls to God. Through his never ending Love and with sweet words on his lips. Sadly, just as many souls went home to the God Almighty. And - With sweet words on his lips, Padre Pedro sent them on their way. And - The Tiny Donkey brayed, the Tiny Donkey brayed.

Pancho, now a man, sat beside the dying Padre. Holding the Padre’s hands in his, he looked to Heaven, whispering; sweet words on his lips. With sweet words on his lips, Padre Pedro was lifted by the Light, and – the Tiny Donkey brayed, the Tiny Donkey brayed. With sweet words on his lips, Pancho cried; Pancho cried. With sweet words on his lips he cried, and the Tiny Donkey brayed.



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