Practicing from the Heart in the age of Technology - All articles and poems are by Reza Ghadimi, unless otherwise noted.
In the face of recent calamitous events, my heart and mind are numb to the violence and brutality of all that is occurring in our country and the world. The fact that the politicians, religious, and business leaders continue to send their condolences to families of the victims, while doing absolutely nothing to remedy the problem, is a testament to how indifferent they really are.
The following is an excerpt of the page on Memorial Day, from my book: Practicing From the Heart in the Age of Technology. Perhaps we should make this, a day to remember the victims of broken societies as well.
Memorial Day is when we remember those who gave their lives to defend our country. It is noteworthy that a year after the end of the Civil War, in April 1866, four women of Columbus, Mississippi gathered together to decorate the graves of the Confederate soldiers buried in their town. They also felt moved to honor the Union soldiers buried there and to note the grief of their families by decorating their graves as well. The story of their gesture of humanity and reconciliation is now told and retold in Mississippi as being the occasion of the original Memorial Day.
Another heart-warming Memorial Day story is that of the Vietnam Veterans Peace and Brotherhood Chapel in the mountains north of Angel Fire, New Mexico.
Following the death of their son, U.S. Marine Corps First Lieutenant Victor David Westphall III, Jeanne and Dr. Victor Westphall decided to build a memorial in his honor and the fifteen men that died with him near Con Thien, South Vietnam on May 22, 1968, and the Vietnam Veterans Peace and Brotherhood Chapel in Angel Fire, New Mexico was erected. The Chapel was dedicated on May 22, 1971, the 3rd anniversary of the death of their son. It was the first major memorial created to honor the veterans of the Vietnam War and inspired the establishment of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which was completed ten years later in 1982.
In circa 1982, a group of veterans and motorcycle enthusiasts made a pilgrimage to the site to honor their fallen comrades and to visit the one of a kind memorial. Somehow the word got out in that era of no internet and many more made the trip the next year and every year since, so that the 2018’s Memorial Day event (the last big event before the Covid pandemic) attracted some 20,000 to Angel Fire, New Mexico.
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