Remembering all the veterans in my own family….This year I learned of a few more.
Having been adopted, and then having my first adopted father die when I was in Kindergarten and then having my mother remarry when I was seven, I ended up with five parents and have been doing genealogy for all five. This year I did an Ancestry DNA test and discovered a first cousin on my father’s side from whose wife (and Ancestry) I learned lots more about the Daniel side of my family. All three of my fathers served in WWII. My birth father was in the Navy, my first adopted father was in the Naval Air Force and taught flying at an air base near Chicago, and my third father was a dentist in the Air Force and stationed in Bedford, England.
In my birth father’s family, which was in Tennessee at the time of the Civil War, a father and son fought in the Union Army. I imagine there are more soldiers when I get farther back in this investigation. I already knew about my great great grandfather, Ruben Cole, from a Mennonite family, who enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 along with his younger brother John….In my mother’s family are two soldiers from the Revolutionary War, Henry Ferguson and Andrew Pontius (Punches) and one soldier from the War of 1812, James Haverfield. I read history to try and gain a sense, little though it may be, of the worlds they lived in and their lives. On this day especially, it is good to remember them all.
I have temporarily or forever left face book. It was becoming actually disturbing to my soul and had to be left. At the same time, there was a lot that was good about it and I am not sure what I will do in the long run.
After this unsettling week, the following poem seems to come into my mind. It seems to sooth me, though so do other things, especially the 5th Chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew. But here is the poem, written in the 1920s by Max Erhmann, I think.
It has been read and heard often, but I still find it worth hearing again.
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others
even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of years;
gracefully surrender the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield
you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.