People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, December 25, 2006

We Gather Together To Ask The Lord's Blessing

... while they stand guard.

(Original Title is "Merry Christmas, My Friend")

'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
A sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
Owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
Because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
With an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
Said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.
Photo courtesy of the Air War College
Poem by Lt. Col. Bruce Lovely

Move! I'm Trying To Take A Picture!

Just as the affluent up in the DC suburbs work to make Southwest Virginia one big amusement park to be preserved and protected for their twice-a-year journey to the area for fun, frolic, and a twisted notion of communion with nature - at a time when the citizenry here is reeling from plant closing after plant closing, job loss after job loss, upstate New York is suffering the same fate with an all too similar bout with unemployment, depopulation, and crushing economic recession. It too is being turned into a park for the cultured classes, in Manhattan. And the affluent there celebrate:

A Model for Conservation

The threats to open space in this country have been well documented. The forests of the Pacific Northwest, the rangelands of the Rocky Mountain West, the wetlands of Florida, the farmlands of Virginia and New Jersey: all are under heavy pressure from residential and commercial development. No single private or public entity can counter this trend; the answer lies in partnerships involving landowners, private conservation groups and governments at all levels.

Therein lies the larger significance of the deal announced last week by Gov. George Pataki to provide permanent protection for 51,000 acres of forest lands in St. Lawrence County in upstate New York. The deal represents something of a milestone for the governor himself. Mr. Pataki had pledged to save one million acres of open space before his tenure ended. The agreement takes him over the million mark, a matter of no small pride to a man who had hoped to leave a lasting environmental legacy.

More important, though, is the template it provides for protecting open space elsewhere. (link)

Why don't these people ever suggest that they turn the Washington DC suburbs or Manhattan into a nature preserve? Why do they celebrate the expansion of wasteland in far-away areas where other lesser humans live and are struggling mightily to survive?

Lost In The Wilderness

The editorialists at the New York Times have never understood what this holiday is all about. On this Christmas morning, they grapple with the concept, trying their best to give it meaning, but fail again:
How We Say Christmas

What would you say if you had to explain Christmas to someone who knew nothing about it? You might begin with the shepherds in the fields by night or Santa at the North Pole or even the druidic appeal of a winter festival that comes just when the sun seems most meager.

A stranger might well wonder, don’t you always hope for peace on earth? Does good will really have a season? And if you genuinely love one another — truly hold one another in your hearts — wouldn’t simply saying it be far more eloquent than any other gift that you could give? These questions point to something most of us already know, that for all the push and pull of the Christmas rush, for all the sputtering of the commercial volcano that erupts at the end of every year, this is truly a holiday of modest spirit, a day of humble aspirations. What we want is to love and know we are loved and to imagine a world that lives up to the purity of that feeling. (link)
Christmas is "a day of humble aspirations ..."

As only the Godless, the directionless, the lost can celebrate it.

This Guy Could Rock! ...

... in a funky, R&B kinda way.

The Godfather of Soul. Dead at 73.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo Images