Tag Archives: memorial day

Our fragile and amazing First Amendment

At a recent evening hosted by the Crossroads Cultural Center, a young woman in the audience asked  how chaplains minister to troops of other faiths or no faith.  This is a question that always comes up, and, indeed, it was one of the issues that drove us to make the film: we wanted to see for ourselves whether and how a predominantly Christian clergy in the employ of the state served the needs of a religiously diverse population.  Chaplain Ken Bolin answered in a way that reminded us of the many chaplains we saw in Afghanistan and Iraq.  They reached to others out, fueled by their faith to love, not judge, fellow service men and women.

The more time passes, the more I realize how very important this is.  Anyone read the book Christian Nation?  It is a particularly chilling dystopia because it underscores that what we have is so very valuable and, possibly, so very fragile.  We take its existence for granted, but the  Constitutional balance that at once guarantees our free exercise of religion and prohibits the government from establishing any one religion is delicate and finely tuned.  And it needs to be protected if it is to endure.  In his extremely well researched novel, author Fred Rich sets out how, through a confluence of planning and accident, a dogmatic religious faction comes to power in the US.  And, yes, military chaplains play a role in this dystopia: rather than reaching out in faith-inspired love to help and comfort troops, the chaplains in this novel love only those who share their faith and help the government impose that faith on those who do not.

We are so very lucky that the world Rich describes exists within the pages of a book and not in the world we inhabit.  As we approach Memorial Day, we want to thank all the chaplains and all the troops who have died upholding this delicate and oh so valuable balance in our Constitution.

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Filed under atheism, chaplains, chaplains, Church-State, military

Honoring our military on Memorial Day

Media Representatives:

The Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Public Affairs Office has received
confirmation of consent from the primary next of kin to authorize media
coverage of their fallen military loved one’s return:

Thus begin the notices that go out to the media.  These are the names we have received since Memorial Day 2012 — we honor them and all the other men and women who have died wearing the uniform (click to enlarge).

Memorial Day 2013 -2Memorial Day 2013

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Filed under casualties, military

we cannot thank them, but we can remember

Every few days, we receive a media notice from Dover Air Force Base.  This came in today:

MEDIA APPROVED TO COVER DIGNIFIED TRANSFER AT DOVER AIR FORCE BASE – Saturday, May 28 at 4:45 p.m.

Media Representatives:

The Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Public Affairs Office has received confirmation of consent from the primary next of kin to authorize media coverage of their fallen military loved one’s return:

Name: John M. Runkle
Hometown: West Salem, Ohio
Rank: 1st Lt.
Service: United States Army
Location of death: Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan

Name: Christopher R. Thibodeau
Hometown: Chesterland, Ohio
Rank: Chief Warrant Officer 2
Service: United States Army
Location of death: Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan

Name: Edward D. Mills, Jr.
Hometown: New Castle, Pa.
Rank: Staff Sgt.
Service: United States Army
Location of death: Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan

Name: Thomas A. Bohall
Hometown: Bel Aire, Kan.
Rank: Sgt.
Service: United States Army
Location of death: Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan

Name: Adam J. Patton
Hometown: Port Orchard, Wash.
Rank: Spc.
Service: United States Army
Location of death: Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan

Name: John C. Johnson
Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.
Rank: Tech. Pfc.
Service: United States Army
Location of death: Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan

Name: Kristoffer M. Solesbee
Hometown: Citrus Heights, Calif.
Rank: Tech. Sgt.
Service: United States Air Force
Location of death: Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan

Name: Joseph J. Hamski
Hometown: Ottumwa, Iowa
Rank: Staff Sgt.
Service: United States Air Force
Location of death: Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan

We thank the families of these service men for their sacrifice and for their strength in allowing the media to cover the return of their loved ones.  We thank the men and women in Kuwait and Dover who take such care to handle their comrades’ remains with dignity and respect. And we thank the chaplains who work alongside them and conduct the ramp ceremonies. 

We are too late to thank these and all the other service men and women who have died during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But we remember them. 

 

 

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Filed under chaplains, chaplains, families, military, veterans