Friday, December 14, 2012

A Critical Mass

The other day I stumbled across a posting our son, Patrick Michael, offered on one of the social media platforms of which he is a member. It was (as best as I can remember it) a borrowed observation that noted one dies twice-once when you physically die and the second time when your name is said out loud by another human being for the final time on this earth.

Perhaps that's what motivates me to share this with you today, colored by an uneasy feeling I have looking at a calendar and staring at the face in the mirror, that it's much later than I think. It's an event, Wreaths Across America, happening across the United States tomorrow and not just here in Norwich but the one here in Norwich is all I'm familiar with, so with (and/or without) your kindest indulgence, I'll work from the familiar to the less than.

The veterans' organizations in Norwich take the lead on many of the recognition and remembrance observances held here and also alternate primary responsibilities so this year American Legion Post 104 will conduct the ceremony beginning at noon at Taftville's Sacred Heart Cemetery. This image is from last year.

Your mileage may vary in terms of staging and participation-residents turned out last year in goodly numbers, pleasing the organizers and doing a terrific job of representing The Rose City. If you check your city or town's website calendar activities you'll probably get enough details to help get you to your ceremony on time and have enough background to better appreciate what's going on.

There are seven ceremonial wreaths-one for each of the five services as well as the Merchant Marine and a POW/MIA wreath. Families who sponsored a wreath will also place one on the grave of their loved one.

As the name suggests, Wreaths Across America will be conducted at over 750 cemeteries across the United States tomorrow with some 400,000 wreaths placed by volunteers, like you and I, who found a few moments in the hectic of the holiday season to honor those who directly (and sometimes) indirectly allow us to enjoy what we have today. It's just a moment to recognize a lifetime and often a life's work. Perhaps it's only an eyeblink but perhaps it's another link forged in a chain of immortality.
-bill kenny

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