Remembrance Sunday

Crossposted from  All along the Watchtower.

Poppy_wreath_stockwell

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

 

A WOMAN’S TRIBUTE

The Message of the Double Line of Khaki; From the London Times, October 18, 1921

In Westminster Abbey, yesterday, General Pershing laid the American Medal of Honour upon the grave of the Unknown Soldier of Britain. The bright sunlight streamed through the high stained-glass windows in long shafts of light that fell warm upon the grey stone of the Gothic arches, upon the quiet people in the Nave, and around the flower-strewn tomb, and that lay in a cloth of scarlet on the flag above the body of the Unknown Dead.

A thousand years of great history stood silent within those old walls. Close by are the tombs of Norman, Plantagenet, Tudor, and Stuart Kings and Queens, of the priests, and soldiers and the sailors, of the poets and statesmen that have made England great.

As the organ filled the sunlit spaces of the ancient church with its deep volume of sound, there marched up the aisle, with bared heads, a detachment of British soldiers from the Guard’s regiments. As they formed a line facing the centre, an equal number of American soldiers, bare-headed, marched up the other side, and turning, stood facing the British soldiers across the narrow aisle.

Both lines of khaki, both lines of straight and young and clear-eyed boys, both lines of men of Anglo-Saxon blood, of the same standards and of the same ideals they stood there in the sunlight in that shrine of a thousand years of memory, looking straight into each other’s eyes.

Between them, up the aisle, marched the choir in their scarlet vestments with their bright cross on high, the generals, the admirals, and the Ministers of the Empire, and the Ambassador and the Commanding General of the Great Republic but in all that they represented, and in all that was said in the ceremonies that followed, there was no such potent symbol as those two lines of khaki- clad boys, with the sun shining on their bared heads, their brave young faces, and their strong young bodies, looking each other straight in the face.Between them lay, not the narrow aisle, but a thousand leagues of sea, the building of a new world, the birth of a new destiny for man. But as they stood there where they could have touched hands in the old Abbey which was a shrine for their common ancestors, they were so amazingly alike in bearing and appearance that they ceased to be a detachment of soldiers from two different countries, and they became a symbol of the illimitable potentiality of a common heritage that heritage of which the ancient Abbey was a shrine the heritage of the ideals of freedom, of order, of self-discipline, of self-respect.

If any words spoken in the Abbey could have conveyed a hundredth part of what that double line of clear- eyed boys said in utter silence the world would have been a happier place to-day. The old strength and the new force of a common heritage stood in khaki in the aisle of Westminster Abbey bare-headed, to honour the symbol of supreme sacrifice to those ideals in the Cross of Christ and in the body of an Unknown Soldier.

The service included this.

Kind of the cousins, who have always been so gracious. I wonder if they also sang this, which was new that year.

It has been a very long century since that last quiet August weekend of the Edwardian Age. It has been filled far too often with the roar of the guns, and the rattle of musketry followed by the sounding of the Last Post. But the mission has been maintained, it will never be won, although we can and should pray that it will be less horrific going forward. But all around the world, freedom-loving people have learned of the steadfast valor even unto death of English-speaking soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen. We are proud of our part, yes. But we are equally proud to be your allies and friends.

Has it been worth it? The citizen of Ypres, Belgium seem to think so. Every night at 8:00pm since 2 July 1928, except during the German occupation in World War II, they have executed this ceremony, and when the Polish forces liberated them in 1944, they resumed, while heavy fighting was still going on in the city. While under occupation in World War II the ceremony took place at Brookwood Military Cemetery, in Surrey, England.

EVERY NIGHT

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

 

1066/1776 and all that

1776

Another one of Jessica’s from that 2013 series today. It’s hard to believe how clearly she saw what was coming in the next decade, back in 2013. Neo

It is hard to pin down what you mean by culture, but despite the efforts of the MSM to pretend that our culture comes from all sorts of wonderful and weird places such as Kenya, the values on which this country was formed were those of a Christian heritage. It was a particular type of heritage. The early pilgrims were of British descent and of Protestant inclination. They were men and women who saw themselves as like the Israelites of old – in the wilderness, building a new Jerusalem – a shining city on a hill. But they also brought with them something from their British heritage – a love of law and freedom. Unlike some countries where the law was seen as the enemy of freedom, in England, from Magna Carta onward, it was seen as the protection of the liberties of the people.

But those Barons of Norman descent at Runnymede did not invent that idea; they inherited it.  The Normans were, as befitted the descendants of Scandinavian pirates, a tough lot; they could not have taken so much land if they had not been. But in England they found the descendants of other men from the North, the Saxons, and those Saxons had developed their own way of doing things.

For all that modern historians doubt the idea that the Saxons developed a form of consultative government via the Witan, that was not what those who settled America believed. They came with the idea that democracy had begun in the Saxon forests, and they applied it in the wilderness they settled. These were tough men and women too, but they valued freedom above all things. For that the crossed the Atlantic in small ships; for that they endured the hardships of building a new Jerusalem. Sustained by their Christian faith, and strong in their love of freedom, these people forged a nation and a culture. It was the threat to that from the German tyrant George which drove them to rebellion. Kipling expressed it best here:

1776

after
The  snow lies thick on Valley Forge,
The ice on the Delaware,
But the poor dead soldiers of King George
They neither know nor care.

Not though the earliest primrose break
On the sunny side of the lane,
And scuffling rookeries awake
Their England’ s spring again.

They will not stir when the drifts are gone,
Or the ice melts out of the bay:
And the men that served with Washington
Lie all as still as they.

They will  not  stir  though  the mayflower blows
In the moist dark woods of pine,
And every rock-strewn pasture shows
Mullein and columbine.

Each for his land, in a fair fight,
Encountered strove, and died,
And the kindly earth that knows no spite
Covers them side by side.

She is too busy to think of war;
She has all the world to make gay;
And,  behold, the yearly flowers are
Where they were in our fathers’ day!

Golden-rod by the pasture-wall
When the columbine is dead,
And sumach leaves that turn, in fall,
Bright as the blood they shed.

It was a brothers’ war, and when it was over they bore no real ill-will and became friends and allies.

They could do that because of a shared love of freedom and the same concept of justice. There was no need to ask what culture was, and those uncounted millions who found in the New World a haven, embraced those values – so much so that people took them for granted – they were surely universal. Rule for the people and by the people did not fade from that land, and even after a second and bloodier war of brothers, the nation united around those shared values. To become an American was a great a noble ambition for every immigrant. It never meant junking your ancestor’s past, but it did mean embracing a better life – and recognising the values of your new country which made that possible.

Somewhere, and we can speculate where and how, that simple truth got mislaid by our rulers. The next few posts explore some of this – and invite you all to think about it with us.

It was, in fact, the Second English Civil War, for all that we call it The American Revolution, and like almost all revolutions in the Anglophone world, it was brought on by a longing for the ‘good, old law’. And that is what we accomplished here. Burke commented in 1775 that our forebearers left England when freedom was at its height and that is true. England has often backslid and never again attained that height. We have for various reasons done better (until now) at maintaining it here. But in the last century, we too have slipped, and now we stare in the face of the fourth of the cousin’s wars, like the first involving us on both sides of the Atlantic. Between yesterday’s post and today’s Jessica posted a warning. This is it. Neo

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

A little something for our English cousins.

Tonight they’ll try to set a bonfire to burn England down. Why? Because back in 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught before he had time to light the fuse on 30 some odd barrels of gunpowder under parliament, in an attempt to destroy Parliament and the King (James I), thereby setting the stage for the restoration of the Catholic Church.

It’s often said in England that Guy Fawkes was the last man to enter Parliament with an honest purpose. I think all of us in the English speaking world can nod and agree, whether it’s Westminster, Washington, Ottowa,   or any of the others.

I like the idea because, in a rather twisted way, it should serve as a warning to our governments. That it doesn’t is tragic, but the people will, at the last, have their way, whatever the ‘elites’ think

It has long since become nonsectarian although very often an effigy of Guy Fawkes is on the pyre. But mostly it’s a good excuse for a bonfire and fireworks, indeed rather like the 4th of July, where we really don’t rail much about old King George anymore.

It was celebrated here until the Revolution as well, especially in New England, where the effigy of Guy Fawkes was sometimes joined by one of the Pope. It was banned by General Washington while the Continental Army occupied Boston in the Revolution so as not to over inflame the residents, and pretty much never resumed.

An Important Conversation

Last Friday, in the Daily Signal, Bill Walton wrote (mostly a transcript) of a podcast he did with Star Parker and Winsome Sears (R, VA) and the first black woman representative from Virginia. It’s very good, although it is very long it is well worth your time. It’s wide-ranging about the problems in the Black community and why the Republican Party doesn’t get more votes from it. Well, that was the aim, but the problems they see, and they mostly agree and expand on each other, apply to the white and Hispanic communities too. In fact, they apply right across western civilization. Here’s some of it.

Parker: Well, I came to believe what I believe by reading a proverb a day. I was believing the lies of the left for a very long time. I believed all that we even hear today, that my problems were somebody else’s fault. That America was racist and I shouldn’t mainstream. That I was poor because others were wealthy.

In buying all of these lies, I got very lost in my decision-making. So very early in life, [I] was engaged in criminal activity and drug activity and sexual activity and abortion activity and welfare activity, and then God saved me. Some gentlemen introduced me to the Lord and I changed my life. I went to school, I got a degree, I started a business. After the ’92 Los Angeles riots destroyed my business, I began to focus on social policy, and that’s how I came to run my organization, Urban CURE, today.

But if you ask, “How did you shape those views beyond just the personal responsibility that comes from knowing the Scripture and figuring out how to live through a daily proverb?” I started a business. That’s when I understood how extensive government is in the affairs of someone who just wants to buy an apple and sell it for enough to buy another one, and another one and another one. And [I] started being encroached by all types of three letters, from the IRS to the you-name-it. The disability, the environmental protection, a long list of all of [these] alphabets too.

Walton: Well, yeah, George McGovern became a conservative after he started a bed and breakfast.

Parker: Yes, exactly, you start finding out that, “Wait a minute, what has happened to our great country?” I think that’s what shaped my economic views. But what has shaped my philosophy and what drives me and my organization is my born-again experience.

Winsome Sears: Amen.

Walton: Winsome?

Sears: Well, I am a Marine and I had had my last child, my husband and I, and we were living in California at the time. It was right around the time of the election and George Bush Sr., he was running, he was a candidate and I was still a Democrat. I’m black …

Walton: This would have been ’88?

Sears: Yes. I’m black, I’m supposed to be a Democrat. It rhymes, OK. The whole family’s full of Democrats, so what am I? I am what I am. [Mike] Dukakis, his commercial came on and he said, “I’m going to expand welfare. I’m going to make sure that this, that, the other, we’re going to give you money and we’re going to… ” I thought, “But if that happens, my folks, they’re just going to be living on what they get. There’s nothing to propel them.” Then he said, “For abortion, I’m going to make sure abortion is this and legal and expanded and do this and public monies and public…” I had just had my baby and I thought, “Well, I don’t believe that.”

Then right behind him came George Bush Sr. with his commercial, and he said, “If all you have is welfare, is what the government gives you, you will never have anything to pass onto your children.” Then he said, “As for abortion, I’m going to try and make it less and less and less.” Then I said, “Oh my God, I’m a Republican.”

The next thing was, “How am I going to tell my family?” Because it’s almost as if I was changing my religion. It was a shock to me and I think to many black people; they really are Republicans because we are the most conservative, really, group. It’s just a matter of me getting in there and people like Star and everybody else getting in and saying, “Let us be who we want to be. You don’t get to tell me how to run my politics and I don’t get to tell you either. Just let us be free.”

Go and read it, it’s the best thing I’ve read in at least a week. My reader says 39 minutes, it’s worth twice that amount of time. And yes, I almost completely agree with them across the board.

All Saints’ Day Eve

Yesterday was an anniversary, one that is important to everybody that is reading this. On October 29, 1969, the very first message was sent on ARPANET from Room 3420 in Boelter Hall at UCLA to Stanford Research Center. The type of message was based on the work of British engineer Donald Davies and American Paul Baran. One could say the test was successful. Today we know ARPANET’s successor as the internet.

More at Fast Company.


The AdaptiveCurmudgeon had a dream (or something) about last weekend and it’s impossible to give you an excerpt because it makes as much or more sense than Washington last weekend. Go there, read it. It’s funny. You’ll laugh out loud.


My main point today comes from Holly Scheer at The Federalist.

Christians, it’s time to have a heart to heart about the way we’re letting pagans claim our celebrations. For too long we’ve let the secular world redefine our traditions, rewrite history, and steal our holidays. It’s time to put a stop to it.

Halloween is a sad victim of this revisionist attack on Christianity. Some would have you think that this day is passed down from ancient times, steeped in pagan lore, sacred to civilizations lost to time. That it’s worldly and cool to trick or treat, visit terrifying and over-the-top haunted houses, and Christians need to mind their own business about how grotesque the day’s observances can get.

After all, what do lame, prudish Christians even know about fun or Halloween? Nothing, right?

This isn’t the truth, though. Christians used to do Halloween far better than pagans, and it’s not too late for Christians to remember this and start taking Halloween back.

She’s correct, of course, and she’s also right that we should be taking it back.

The early church didn’t shy away from the idea of dying in and for the faith. Early Christians understood the sad truth that they could, and often would, die for their beliefs, and recounting the stories of fellow martyrs served as an encouragement and an opportunity to strengthen the hearer’s faith. It makes perfect sense that they would remember the deaths of their loved ones and notable figures in Christianity.

Christianity has long celebrated a holiday commemorating the saints who have gone before us: All Saints Day. All Saints Day (or All Hallows Day, where the name Halloween comes from), starting at sundown on October 31. Those familiar with either the Old Testament or Judaism will recognize the start of the feast coming at sunset.

The day itself is filled with church, remembering faithful Christians who have gone before us into Heaven and are sorely missed, and spending time with loved ones who surround us in this life. The trick or treating that we still see today goes back to when children in medieval Europe (1300-1500) went door to door, asking for food or other gifts in exchange for prayer.

There’s obviously nothing pagan or evil about children praying, and attempting to link this to Samhain is misguided at best, and dishonest for those who do due diligence. The honest weight of historical records rests with these being Christian traditions, and not even from Celtic areas. These are not derivatives from Samhain and never have been.

Again correct. It is such an important holiday (which comes from Holy Day, remember) in our churches that it marks the start of pretty much all western churches year.

You know, we’ve been steamrollered pretty much on Christmas, which has become a grotesque effort to make Chinese slave drivers rich, that few remember that it is the birthday of a poor Jewish carpenter (although like the British Queen’s official birthday, it is probably not really the day Jesus was born).

In many ways, we’ve lost sight of the reason for Easter itself, the crucified and risen Lord. You’ll note that Islam hasn’t, they still like crucifying Christians. But our secular society thinks it’s about eggs and cute bunnies. I have nothing bad to say about eggs and cute bunnies, but the day is far more important than that. So is Christmas, and so is All Saints’ Day Eve.

It’s about time we all stood up for our Holy Days, and remember why we call them that. Nor would it hurt to remember our friends and family that we will see again on the other side.

Putting ourselves in God’s place

Christianity starts here:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

It is so basic that even Islam agrees. We were created, male and female. But Britain disagrees. David Mackereth, a doctor in England, was fired recently by the NHS (in other words, by the government of the UK itself) for saying (not even doing) that he would not call a 6-foot bearded male, her. And so, self-worship is now the state religion of the UK. Nathaniel Blake wrote about it at The Federalist. He reminds us:

The central doctrine of transgenderism is the belief that human will determines reality as we create ourselves. A man who identifies as a woman is therefore a woman and has always been. Social, chemical, and surgical alterations are merely the outward affirmation and outworking of this inward truth, and the imperfections of physical transition do not negate the metaphysical truth of gender identity. Not all people who identify as LGBT accept this radical ideology, but the loudest voices preach it aggressively.

These mystical doctrines of transgender ideology exemplify modern self-worship, in which the human replaces the divine dictates of revealed religion as the source and creator of meaning. Catholicism preaches the real presence of Christ veiled in the bread and wine; transgenderism professes the real presence of the woman veiled in the male body.

But discontentment lurks amid the triumphant claims that identity determines reality. Self-creation is not freedom, for it only changes our master. Desire appears as the most authentic aspect of the self, and so it, rather than reason or revelation, rules human efforts to create our own truth and meaning.

Furthermore, since we are not gods, our efforts to create ourselves are hindered by the natural laws of our existence and by what older creeds called sinfulness. Self-worship does not overcome our consciousness of sin or the given nature of our embodied human existence.

Indeed so. It reminds me that G.K. Chesterton remarked that “The danger of loss of faith in God is not that one will believe in nothing, but rather that one will believe in anything.” And so it has proved. Especially that we will put ourselves in God’s place. God had something to say about this of course, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” But many of us have made ourselves gods ahead of God himself, and this is the result.

Self-worship elevates our desires and thereby sets us at war with others and the world. We see other people as the problem, rather than the purpose of life. Self-worship cannot eradicate the problem of sin, however, nor bend the world to one’s will, and so it often results in self-loathing, which in turn is redirected toward others. Private-jet environmentalists who lecture working families about having children illustrate this, as do transgender activists who want to force everyone else to affirm their mystical sense of self, rather than biological reality.

The judge in Mackereth’s case got it backwards. The teaching of Genesis 1:27 that God made humans, male and female, in the image of himself is the firm foundation for human dignity and human rights. The real threat comes not from a Christian doctor’s refusal to pretend a man is a woman, but from a mystical ideology that worships the self.

Yep, says it all, really.

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