Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

Memorials

August 29, 2009

As I watch the Ted kennedy funeral & requiem mass on television the pomp and pageantry elicit for one my age so many previous ceremonies and public mournings. Caroline kennedy now conjures recollection of her as a girl watching her father’s procession.
When I was a young adult the rapid fire chaos of John, Martin & Bobby’s murders shook our national psyche. Fords Theater and Sarajevo, anarchists and lone maniacs – history’s violent icons hovered over us.
Perhaps from my mother’s influence I have had an impulse in my modern-media lifetime to be mesmerized by such events. I watch and share the grief and absorb the commentary. Even today as another kennedy is interred I know that around the world in Iraq Abdel Aziz al-Hakim is being mourned & buried,
I recall how amazed I was in 1970 to see the TV tower 360 degree scan of endless humanity at Gamal Abdel Nasser’s funeral. My memories include the smoking bier of Nehru, Winston Churchill’s coffin borne on a barge down the Thames, the eulogies to many U.S. Presidents delivered in the grandeur of the National Cathedral in D.C., the palpable outpouring of affection & pandemic pathos at Princess Diana’s passing, the bagpipes at King Hussein’s funeral……..
Every precious soul deserves a moment of salute, yet many die in obscurity and neglect. Some die at such an old age few friends or kin remain. Some disappear in dark alleys of crime. Tsunamis and earthquakes take but a moment to destroy whole villages and valleys. The mounds of bones in Cambodia, the ovens at Auschwitz, the mass graves of Leningrad, the sad soil of Sand Creek all testify to human frailty and horrendous indifference toward life.
So let us then be thankful for our opportunities to honor our dead, whatever their cause of death, whatever their triumphs or troubles in life. Whether it be at the ghats of Varanasi or the grasses of Arlington, let us pause in reverence to our God and our ancestors, our heroes and our brothers, our sisters and our neighbors.