For Life, and For Peace

Taking a little break for the holidays, but first wanted to post a few photos that seem appropriate at this time.

Whatever our faith, all around the world we use this season to celebrate life. We who are blessed to live those lives in freedom owe special honor to those who gave their lives to secure our liberty — from 1776 to the present.

In an epoch where untimely death seems to surround us, we must realize that we have the power to conquer — certainly not death itself, but perhaps deaths of the most horrific, premature kind: from six-year old children, to young men and women on the battlefield; on our nation’s highways, on our city streets, and in healthcare and elderly facilities.

We, the people of the world, do have the power to bring peace on earth. We only need to try a bit harder.

Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a peaceful New Year.

A section of Arlington National Cemetery, Va., shows a fraction of the

110,000 wreaths placed at the graves of fallen service members during

Wreaths Across America, Dec. 15, 2012.

A member of the U.S. Army Honor Guard, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, carries a

wreath donated by Wreaths Across America at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Dec. 15, 2012.

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Michael A. Cornelio pays respect after placing a

wreath at a grave marker during Wreaths Across America at Arlington National

Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Dec. 15, 2012. Cornelio is assigned to Marine

Cryptologic Support Battalion on Fort Meade, Md.


In The Line of Duty

I didn’t really know Tom Coleman. I knew his mom, who was my first wife’s sister. And I knew his cousins, who are my daughters, Jewls and Lisa. And I knew his older sisters, who were Jewls’ and Lisa’s contemporaneous cousins. And I knew his dad before I knew any of them, because by pure coincidence we were classmates before either one of us married. But I never really knew Tom except as a playful, happy child who always brightened those sometimes uncomfortable family gatherings when divorced parents periodically come together to celebrate their children.

Tom Coleman died tragically in the line of duty, carrying out his sworn mission to protect and to serve the lives of others. Though I never knew Tom as a young adult, I do know about service as a vocation. And I know how those who don the cloth of service sometimes pay the ultimate sacrifice. I have seen the lifeless visages of Marines and Sailors, Soldiers and Law Enforcement Officers who gave their lives before Tom. He joins a most elite and honorable company of warriors.

Tom’s parents, grandparents, siblings, and cousins who mourn his loss are good people. They deserved to keep him in their lives much longer. But he died. Now, other grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, and friends – who never knew Tom and never will – can enjoy the continued presence of loved ones in their lives, because of his service. For that he deserves a special place of honor in whatever life exists after death on this earth. And may those who mourn his death also find the strength to cherish his life of service and honor.

No, I never really knew Tom Coleman. But I know the cloth of service. So I am most honored to call him kin. I salute you, Tom. May you rest in peace and glory.

— A Fellow Servant