Thoughts On Memorial Day
The origins of Memorial Day can be traced back to the 1860s when it was designated as Decoration Day – a day to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers both Union and Confederate. About a century later it was changed from May 30th to the last Monday in May and renamed “Memorial Day”.
Since that time it has marked both a day of remembrance and the opening of the Summer season. On this day much merriment will be made, sales will be made, and barbeques will be lit. In addition – and no doubt more importantly – honor will be rendered to those who have given the last full measure of devotion to their country. It is, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, all together fitting and proper that we should do this.
I spent the first twenty years of my life in and around the United States Army. Father Cordeiro was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant shortly after I was born. Because of the nomadic existence inherent in the life of a soldier’s family, for all intents and purposes I have no hometown. When people ask me where I’m from, I simply reply, “I’m from the United States Army.” Thus, though I have not worn my country’s uniform, those who do and have are and always shall be – to me anyway – family.
On the National Mall in Washington DC there is a beautiful monument dedicated to those of the Greatest Generation who fought in the last truly Global War. The World War II Memorial is truly a stunning piece of architecture and symbolism. The centerpiece of the monument is a field of 4,000 stars upon which is inscribed this simple phrase:
Here We Mark The Price Of FreedomEach of the 4,000 stars represents 100 soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines who died in World War II. To save you the math, it equates to roughly 400,000 lives. That was the price paid for freedom some six decades ago. About two years ago I took my family to that memorial. As I watched my then three-year old daughter Corderinha toddle across the ground in front of the star field it made me realize just how big a price freedom really is.
This Memorial Day finds the nation again at war. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have been and will be deployed to fight that war. I’ve sometimes found myself unsure exactly how to thank these countrymen of mine for the service they so gallantly render. Yes, there are military charities like Soldier’s Angels and the Semper Fi Fund that do God’s work for the servicemen and women wounded in the line of duty and their families. I highly recommend both of them to you.
On a more personal level, some time ago as I passed through the cavernous labyrinth that is Chicago’s O’Hare Airport I stopped for an overpriced and under-flavored meal. As I finished my meal and prepared to jog down the terminal hall to board my flight, a soldier sat down in the booth across from me. It was obvious to me he was returning from a deployment, possibly on leave but I didn’t have time to ask. The most I could do at that particular point in time was to buy him another round of Miller Lite – which I did. It wasn’t much, but I hope on that day and in that situation it was enough.
I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln.Here endeth the lesson.
One Less Cinderella
On my iPod is found a wide variety of music from AC/DC to Yo Yo Ma. Someplace in between is a song by award winning gospel music artist Steven Curtis Chapman called Cinderella. It is a song about precious moments shared between daddies and daughters. Let’s face it – daughters can get anything they want from their fathers just by calling them “daddy”.
But I digress.
Chapman wrote this song about his two young daughters which he and his wife adopted from China. You might wonder why I’m taking time to write about this today. Well, yesterday, Chapman’s five year old daughter Maria was killed in a tragic car accident at the family residence in Nashville.
I am the proud daddy to my spitfire of a daughter known here as Corderinha. She is five. Chapman’s Cinderella song could have just as easily been written about her. My heart goes out to this daddy whom I do not know, but whose grief I understand. There’s one less Cinderella in this world today.
Here endeth the lesson.
Black Robed Thugs In The Golden State
Some of you will no doubt find this post offensive. Some may even go so far as to find it hateful. Some of you will be unable to look past the subject matter and even be able to remotely understand what I'm trying to say regarding the judicial coup which took place yesterday in my home state of California.
If you find yourself in that position, you'd better stop reading now because you'll be offended by the rest of this post. If that's the case, perhaps you need to be offended.
On March 7, 2000 the State of California had a primary election in which several Propositions (or Ballot Measures) were put before the electorate. California is a fairly unique state in that it is possible for grass roots based ballot measures can be voted on by the electorate – effectively bypassing the Sacramento legislature. Each election has a slew of them and the airwaves are saturated with ads extolling voters to either vote for or against the measure. This particular election was no exception.
Among the various ballot measures before the Golden State electorate was the very controversial Proposition 22. Most ballot measures are so long and wordy that few people can make sense of them and hardly anyone ever bothers to read them. The text of Proposition 22 was surprisingly short. It read – in its entirety:
Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
Needless to say, billions of words from both sides were exchanged regarding that proposed amendment to Article II, Section 8 of the California Constitution. I will not re-flog the issues surrounding Proposition 22 – that is not my point.
My point is, that on that day in March of 2000, 4,618, 673 Golden State voters checked the box indicating they wanted this sentence added to the aforementioned section of their state constitution. The measure carried by 61.4% of the votes cast. In the interest of full disclosure, my vote was one of those 4,618,673.
Yesterday, four Californians overruled those 4,618,673. In short, 61.4% of Californians were overruled by 0.000000531% of the electorate.
A wise man once stated that "Liberals attempt through judicial activism what they cannot win at the ballot box". Truer words have seldom been spoken. Four California Supreme Court Justices took out their distorted constitutional microscope and fabricated a right to same sex marriage out of whole cloth. They spent several hundred pages justifying their "discovery" – feel free to read the legalese – but all the judicial jujitsu in the world can't distort what they did.
There exists the Constitutional principle of Separation of Powers for a reason. The legislature (or in the case of Prop 22 the "people") pass the laws, the executive executes the laws, and the judiciary "interprets" the law to make sure said laws don't conflict with any constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, rights, or other legal issues.
No, the Judiciary does not make laws. Find me a place in the Constitution (Federal or State) which authorizes the guys and gals in black robes to make laws. You'll be looking for a very long time. Have fun.
A lot of people, even good friends of mine, are celebrating this judicial coup. Its ended a very discriminatory practice – in their eyes. Again, I'm not going to debate the issues of Prop 22. That has already been done.
The fact of the matter is, the people had already spoken on Prop 22. 61.4% agreed with its implementation. You can't get 61.4% of Californians to agree on the time of day – but they agreed to Prop 22. Evidently over four million votes mean nothing to four Black Robed Thugs in Sacramento.
Those who support same sex marriage constantly refer to the changing view of the American people on this issue. If this is true, then perhaps what they should do is put it before these same people for a vote. They won't, because it would lose and lose ugly. As long as they can count on four votes in Sacramento, the other four million don't matter.
And that, dear reader, is wrong – no matter what side of the issue you are on.
Here endeth the lesson.