The Vastness of America

For the first time in the 12 years of Barataria, a week went by without a post. I was busy, driving a Budget rent-a-truck with everything Raquel and I owned, along with August the westie and Tony the tiger-cat, to San Francisco. But that’s not as important as what we saw or how it is consecrated on Memorial Day.

In South San Francisco. Where I actually live, there is a Chinese cemetery. It was started at a time when Chinese could not be buried with “white” people, but kept up as such long after the racism abated. Today, it flutters with red, white, and blue like any other hallowed ground.

How big is America? It it as big as Wyoming, measured out by Interstate 80? Is it as big as a new start, a new career with a new wife in a new city? It is all of that and more, so much more. It is as big as the hearts that imagined and created and defended it, despite rejection and scorn. America is bigger than any of us can imagine.

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Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a special holiday, and not just because it honors those who gave their lives for our nation.  It was a spontaneous holiday that came about because it seemed necessary more than politically expedient.  There was little official about it until long after it was part of our national calendar.

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Memorial Day

The scraggly oak trees intertwine their branches in a tall ceiling that shades the entire drive. Here, the appropriate view of the eternal isn’t blue and bright, but sheltered and close to the ground.  The rows of marble and granite dazzled by bright flowers have their own quiet redemption as the slow speed limit and a gentle wave from each passerby gives the setting grace.

This is Oakland Cemetery, Saint Paul’s municipal cemetery, founded in 1853.

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Leadership – D Day

Heroism takes many forms, but the most raw and inspiring comes in war. In all of American history no moment has crystallized more clearly than the invasion of Normandy, exemplified most clearly on Omaha beach. The stories are horrifying and inspiring, but ultimately they are lessons – examples of heroism which inspire the value of leadership deep in head and heart both.

What is less commonly understood about Omaha Beach is how much it all went wrong. Nearly everything about this landing went as horribly off plan as possible, with thousands dying needlessly. The beach was almost abandoned as the loss of life mounted. What made the difference that day was leadership – courage boiled down into conviction to get the job done. It was shown at every level from every man who took part in the mission and rose above the problems.

Omaha Beach is a lesson for all of us as to what raw leadership can do in times of trial.

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Memorial Day

The scraggly oak trees intertwine their branches in a tall ceiling that shades the entire drive. Here, the appropriate view of the eternal isn’t blue and bright, but sheltered and close to the ground.  The rows of marble and granite dazzled by bright flowers have their own quiet redemption as the slow speed limit and a gentle wave from each passerby gives the setting grace.

This is Oakland Cemetery, Saint Paul’s municipal cemetery, founded in 1853.

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Memorial Day in Oakland Cemetery

The scraggly oak trees intertwine their branches in a tall ceiling that shades the entire drive. Here, the appropriate view of the eternal isn’t blue and bright, but sheltered and close to the ground.  The rows of marble and granite dazzled by bright flowers have their own quiet redemption as the slow speed limit and a gentle wave from each passerby gives the setting grace.

This is Oakland Cemetery, Saint Paul’s municipal cemetery, founded in 1853.

Continue reading

Memorial Day at Oakland Cemetery

The scraggly oak trees intertwine their branches in a tall ceiling that shades the entire drive. Here, the appropriate view of the eternal isn’t blue and bright, but sheltered and close to the ground.  The rows of marble and granite dazzled by bright flowers have their own quiet redemption as the slow speed limit and a gentle wave from each passerby gives the setting grace.

This is Oakland Cemetery, Saint Paul’s municipal cemetery, founded in 1853.

Continue reading