Jan. 30, 2017

Cling to Wisdom - She will protect you!

“Learn to be wise, develop good judgment and common sense...cling to wisdom – she will protect you. Love her – she will guard you.” Prov. 4:5-7

We are trying to remember to pray for our President daily, to seek wisdom. Can’t hurt!

50,000 people and possibly as many as a million were expected to participate in The Women’s March on Washington a week or so ago and our great-granddaughter, Catherine Sophia Davis, her mom, Alexandra, and her mom, Pam Kemp were there, too. Catherine is our daughter, Leah’s, granddaughter. She is 9 and in this picture she is joined by her best friend, Melia, and her mom, Julie. Alexandra said it was an amazing experience.

They were able to see many of the monuments. We don’t know if they got as far as the Smithsonian, but one of the highlights of my life was a trip to D.C. some years ago when my best walking buddy and occasional engineering expert witness, John, and I were there for him to express his views on some weighty question while I got to sightsee. Conquering the Metro system was my first victory, making my way successfully to the National Gallery where I spent hours wandering through the Impressionist exhibit there at the time. I treated myself to an elegant lunch at the Cascade Café and felt like such a world traveler. It was Spring, the weather was beautiful, we wandered around the city, taking in monuments right and left and, as Alexandra said, it was an amazing experience.

Seeing the Lincoln Memorial, which is beyond huge, makes one realize how tiny one is as one looks up at the face of our sixteenth president. “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” These words are carved above the statue, which is 19’ tall. Unforgettable.

We also visited Arlington Cemetery, to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame. Watching the young men who march up and down in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier made us wonder what was involved in this duty. You may know all this, and then again, you may not:

The guard takes 21 steps during his walk across the Tomb – this alludes to the 21 gun salute, the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary. He hesitates 21 seconds after his about face to begin his return walk for the same reason. His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle which he carries on the shoulder away from the tomb. After each march across, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder. Guards are changed every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To apply for guard duty, he must be between 5’10” and 6’2” tall with a waist size not to exceed 30”. They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives! They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way. After 2 years, each guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as a guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. They must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

Their shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. Metal heel plates extend to the top of the shoe to make the loud click as they come to a halt. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror. The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis (the boxer), and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy (the most decorated soldier of WWII) of Hollywood fame. Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty. Daunting, right? We wept as we watched these young men pacing off their 21 steps. In fact, we pretty much wept throughout our entire time at Arlington. A very sobering place.

My daughter-in-law, Michon, mother of 3 year old Caleb and almost 2 years old Brady, posted this quote, attributed to Ben Carson, on her Facebook page and I liked it so much that I put it in my column in the Mountain Views News this past week and am sending it along to all you dear friends out there in blog land:

“While much of America seems to be getting more and more divisive, I’m going to be holding doors for strangers, letting people cut in front of me in traffic, greeting all I meet, exercising patience with others, and smiling at strangers. I’ll do this as often as I have the opportunity. I will not stand idly by and let children live in a world where unconditional love is invisible and being rude is acceptable. Join me in showing love and respect to others. Find your way to swing the pendulum in the direction of love, because today, sadly, hate is gaining ground. Love must begin somewhere and love will overcome hate. Imagine the difference if we each purposely love a little more.”  Can’t hurt!