Remembering This Day Fifty Years Ago – President Kennedy

Where was I, this day, fifty years ago?

I was sixteen.

I lived in a suburb of San Diego, California.

I was in the high school band practicing after school for a marching competition.

Our band director stood atop the hill above the practice field with his megaphone, signaling the drum major to call us to a halt.  He announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas and had been killed.  We stood there numb.

I can still see me there and feel the deep sorrow, the horror that a President of the United States, President Kennedy, was assassinated.

As a thirteen year old, I was living with in Arlington, Virginia, with my parents and sisters.  We were stationed in Washington, D.C. as a Navy family.  On January 20th, 1961, on a very cold day, after a blizzard, my mother took us three girls on a city bus, and we went to Washington, D.C. to see the Inauguration Parade of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  It had snowed terribly the night before and was still snowing in the morning, but the Inauguration was not being cancelled nor was my mother going to be deterred.  Although we were cold, we were excited about being there because our mother was.  She wanted us to be a part of history in some small sense, even as a observer of an historic parade.  She wanted us to remember this day.  We all have.  We especially recall the extreme chill to our very marrow…”Weather…Snow into the early morning left 8 inches on the ground.  It was sunny but cold the rest of the day.  Army flame throwers were used to clear snow from Pennsylvania Avenue.  Estimated noon temperature was 22 degrees F.” 

I feel a strong sense of connection even after all these years.  We were just at Arlington National Cemetery in September to bury my Mama with Daddy.  We went to the Kennedy grave and stood there knowing that we had been a part of the American experience with this President and his family.  Words from the end of his Inaugural Address are engraved along the low walls as one faces Washington, D.C.  with one’s back to the Kennedy grave.  They are profound.  From his Inaugural Address, President John Kennedy said, “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.  And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.  My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. … With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

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As funeral arrangements were being made, and whether President Kennedy would be buried in Massachusetts, all was tentative until Mrs. Kennedy made her wishes known in a simple statement, “He belongs to the people.”  Thus Arlington National Cemetery became the place of burial for this beloved President.  Today, Mrs. Kennedy and two of their children are buried there.

 


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quote from:  http://www.inaugural.senate.gov/swearing-in/event/john-f-kennedy-1961

Words from Inaugural Address on walls near grave:  http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres56.html

Holy Spirit Dove

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This morning, as I sat at the kitchen table eating breakfast, six doves were feeding upon seeds and berries and whatever else they find under the Anacua tree.  There were two White-Winged doves, two Mourning doves, and two Inca doves.  They gently bobbled around under the tree holding close to their mate, but all within a few feet of one another.  They looked so sweet and peaceful there.  And they are peaceful.  They can be near other types of birds, even a squirrel, and not be frightened as long as all the animal kingdom nearby remains calm and peaceful with one another.  They made me wish our world were like they are… to accept others no matter what shape, color, mental ability, to be peaceful with each other, to care about one another.

The dove is a beautiful bird, no matter which kind it may be.

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I thought of the dove that we, as Christians, know to be the Holy Spirit.  Knowing that the Holy Spirit lives within me and watching these little birds made me sense His presence, His peace, and His love.  The Holy Spirit comes to live in any of us if and when we accept Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior, repent of our own sins, know that He is the Resurrection and the Life.  No matter what we look like or what our mental aptitude is, the Holy Spirit will descend upon us and live in us.

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In the Hebrew Bible, doves or young pigeons are acceptable burnt offerings for those who cannot afford a more expensive animal.  In the book of Genesis, Noah sent out a dove after the great flood to determine how far the floodwaters had receded. “Dove” is also a term of endearment in several books of the Bible, such as the Song of Songs.  In Hebrew, Jonah (יוֹנָה) means dove.

Jesus’ parents sacrificed doves on his behalf after his circumcision: Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”  Luke 2:22-24

Later, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism like a dove, (When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  Matthew 3:16), and subsequently the “peace dove” became a common Christian symbol of the Holy Spirit.

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Father God, I see these beautiful creatures of Yours and know that You have placed them in my yard for me to see their beauty, their uniqueness, their calm ways.  You remind me of the peace that You are for You sent Your Son to this earth as the Prince of Peace to reign in our hearts forever, if only we would allow Him.  Your ways are beautiful and I am so very grateful that I am Your child.  You have given me the Holy Spirit and I am blessed.  By Him, I have peace and a calmness of soul when I allow Him to be in control.  May the world stay at bay from my heart for I want the gentleness of Your Dove to keep me, the calmness of Your Spirit to soothe me, the peace of Your Prince to rule in my heart and mind and body and soul.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

 

Photo of 2 Mourning doves by Dolores Freeman @ http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/32900000/Doves-doves-32938472-2429-1619.jpg

Photo of 2 Inca doves by Lee Daniels/Wild Bird Trust @ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=327015844100269&set=o.197215716988240&type=1&theater

Photo of 2 White-Winged doves on Cactus:  SearchNetMedia @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/searchnetmedia/3734647793/

Photo of white dove @ Crosswalk.com @ http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/dr-ray-pritchard/water-wine-wind-fire-11616813.html

For It is Time to Seek the LORD

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Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Hosea 10:12

I scatter myself like seeds.  If my actions and deeds are negative, I can bring down others who see me in such darkness.  If my actions are positive and Christlike, I can be a blessing to those who are touched by me.  They will see the light of Christ in me.  So I must sow seeds for myself, building me up rather than down.  I am to be mindful of what goes in so that what comes out is Christlike.  In today’s world, that takes careful thought and much prayer.  Faith and trust in the LORD keeps me on His path for me.  I am to walk carefully and be mindful of all that I see and hear and do and say.  I am to walk with tenderly and with calm and quiet anticipation.  Kindness and forgiveness bring mercy upon myself, but if I am vengeful, angry, or critical I reap strife.

Fallow ground is uncultivated and can become hard and compact if left for an extended period of time without use.  It produces weeds and thorns.  Fallow ground can be compared to having a hardened heart toward God.  If my heart becomes hardened, God’s Word cannot take root, nor can anything good grow in it.  I cannot see those around me in need of help or in need of a word of encouragement or in need of a touch of kindness from me.  When I recognize this condition of my heart and want to change, God will help me break up this hardened, unplowed heart.  I will seek Him, will read His Word, and be obedient to Him.  I want a softened, pliable heart.  I want the holiness of the LORD to take root in my heart, in this cultivated soil.  The Holy Spirit can come to live in me.

I am to keep on seeking the LORD until He returns, raining, showering, pouring His righteousness upon me.

O LORD Most High, use your Holy Spirit to cleanse and purify me, cultivating my heart so that it is soft and receptive to your will.  I pray that the compassions of this heart of mine be the very touchstone of You, Father, to be Your compassions for those in need.  May I see that one who needs a gentle hug or a smile along the way.  May I recognize that one who needs a meal or a word from You through me.  May I be ready for Your still, small voice to speak to me at any given moment.  May I be humble to make myself ready for Your will.  Make my heart a holy place for your Spirit to live.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

You Answer Me in the Joy of My Heart

Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink,

and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life,

which God giveth him: for it is his portion.  

Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth,

and hath given him power to eat thereof,

and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.  

For he shall not much remember the days of his life;

because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.    

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 KJV

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By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.  Proverbs 22:4

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Charge them that are rich in this world,

that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches,

but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

That they do good, that they be rich in good works,

ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come,

that they may lay hold on eternal life.   

1 Timothy 6:17-19 KJV

 

You may have much gold and grandeur,
Yet by God be reckoned poor;
He alone has riches truly
Who has Christ, though nothing more. –Anon.

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But godliness with contentment is great gain.  1 Timothy 6:6

Only when we trust in the Lord will we find true and lasting satisfaction. —Herbert Vander Lugt

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Father, I pray that my heart is pure towards You, that I will know that my life is only rich because of You, through Your Son, Jesus.  I cannot do anything without You.  You reward me as You will and only as You will, yet Your rewards are given freely.  I am poor and meek, but in You I am rich and blessed.  May my faith grow and remain steadfast in You.  You are the Giver of life.  You are my Hope, my Contentment, my Grace, and my Mercy.  Days are not always easy, nor does life carve a path on soft rolling hills, but on rugged mountains sometimes.  But Your Word says I shall not much remember the days of my life because You answer me in the joy of my heart.  The ears of my heart are open to You, O LORD.   I am humbled before You and overflow with joy for You.  I thank You.  Humbly, Your daughter.  Amen.

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Veterans’ Day 2013

To all who have risked their lives, laid their lives down, for the sake of the United States of America and our freedom, I say, Thank you.  You deserve and receive my deepest respect by your service.  I honor you every day even though you may not know that and I especially remember you on Veterans’ Day.

When we went to Arlington National Cemetery this past September to lay my Mama’s ashes to rest with Daddy, I was solemnly reminded of the high cost of war, of all those who have served this nation through the military in one way or another.   Everywhere I looked were gravestones, white marble, of those many, many fallen ones who have been buried there from the Civil War forward.

Thank you.

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For those who die for the call of their country but we know them not… The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a stark reminder that some warriors are never identified or even found.

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For all who serve, I honor you…

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We, as a nation, honor you…

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My father served as a Navy doctor in World War II in the Pacific Theater.  He continued to serve as a career Naval doctor.  He loved the Navy.  After the war, he became a part of the peacetime Manhattan Project/Atomic Energy Commission when atomic bombs continued to be tested mostly in the Pacific Ocean and the state of Nevada.  He died young, age 46, from pancreatic cancer, in all probability due to the radiation exposure from those tests.  Yet, in a letter to his brother, dated July 1, 1946, while at Bikini Island for Operation Crossroads, he wrote how proud he was to be there, to be serving his country in that manner.   I imagine that, even as a doctor, if he did have any inkling about the risks and dangers, he would have gone anyway because that was who he was.  He was serving his country under an oath he took mighty seriously.

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I honor those who served in the Vietnam War that brought so much heartache to this country in the 1960s and 70s.  You did not receive the gratitude owed you then.  I speak for many who now say thank you.  We are sorry for the way we treated you upon your arrival home… to your country… which you were serving.  You did not deserve that.  I am grateful that this nation has honored you in Washington, D.C., both for the living, for those who died, and for all who did not return from the Vietnam War.

I am blessed to have my husband who served in the Army in the Central Highlands of Vietnam as a member of the 101st Airborne Division.  He was infantry, in the line of fire.  I am ever so grateful that he came home and is married to me.  I honor you, Kenneth.  I thank you.

For those who did return home from any war zone over all generations and live with the scars of war, we honor you in our hearts and, hopefully, show kindness somewhere along your life’s pathway, saying thank you.

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I am grateful for the Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine, for Merrill Worcester, for he and his company lay the wreaths on the graves in Arlington National Cemetery each December.  The project has grown so large that wreaths are laid in Veterans’ Cemeteries in every state across this nation as well as 23 cemeteries overseas where our soldiers are buried.

Their mission is “To Remember, Honor, & Teach about the service and sacrifices of our veterans, active military, and their families. We will Never Forget.”

The history of this is @ http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/about/history/   The website is @ http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/

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I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  Romans 12:1-3

In the Name of Christ, I pray with gratitude for these special people who have served this nation.  I pray for all of those who live this day with the thoughts and memories of war.  LORD, please clear their minds and hearts that they focus on You and You alone.  LORD, I thank You for the service of so many that have stood for freedom and truth in this land.  May you bless each one.  LORD, please care for those who need You now, whether they be the soldier, the nurse, the sailor, the family, the young child who has lost a parent, all and each one.  Hold them near healing their hearts and minds.  I thank You for creating them and for loving each one.  Amen.

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INTO

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Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.  

2 Thessalonians 3:5  (NKJV)

INTO

INTO… a word that grabs and tugs at my soul.  INTO…used twice in this one verse drawing my heart… INTO His love… INTO the patience of Christ.  Some versions say INTO the patient waiting for Christ (KJV), INTO the patient endurance that comes from Christ (NLT), INTO Christ’s perseverance (NIV), INTO the steadfastness of Christ (NASB).  Being directed INTO is how I want to be…drawn in and to dwell there.  While I wait upon the LORD for His directing for His plans for my life, our lives, I want to dwell with God, my Creator, with Christ Jesus, my Salvation.  There, I will find love and patience, endurance and grace for Christ knows waiting and endurance as He always knew why He came to this earth, what the earthly outcome was to be, AND with Whom He was to dwell after this earthly thirty-three years.  He went INTO the arms of His Father.  Hallelujah!  

Father God, I come upon my knees to You, desiring always that Your will is my will.  No matter how long I must wait, I know that with Jesus, Your Son, He carries all the perseverance, the endurance, I need.  I pray that I remain steadfast in You and that I hold to Your promises of hope and a plan.  I ask for Your ever present guidance to rain upon me always, reigning in my heart.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.