May 20, 2013
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Dec. 24, 2009
/ 7 Teves 5770
A duty, an honor that grows and grows
For the third year in a row, on the second Saturday of December, I traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to place Christmas wreaths on the graves of the fallen.
I'm late to the party, as some people have been coming since the early '90s, when Morrill Worcester, a wreath wholesaler from Maine, showed up at Arlington with his first tractor-trailer load of that season's leftovers.
That year, as Worcester told the crowd at Arlington last weekend, the reaction at the cemetery was part "You want to do what?" and "Who's gonna clean this up?" Then, a handful of volunteers spent about six hours placing 5,000 wreaths.
Times have definitely changed.
This year, about 6,000 volunteers gathered at the McClellan Arch in the cold, early morning hours to place 15,000 donated wreaths in five sections of Arlington. It would take less than two hours. The cemetery's superintendent and a Florida congressman welcomed Worcester and his wife, Karen, their three truckloads of wreaths, and the crowd.
And what was once a generous, spur-of-the-moment kindness has turned into a year-round effort for Wreaths Across America, the nonprofit arm of Worcester Wreath Co. This year, according to Wayne Merritt, who runs the nonprofit, the group collected donations for 150,000 wreaths that were used at wreath-laying ceremonies at 405 military cemeteries and monuments around the world, and on at least one U.S. Navy ship at sea.
Not all gatherings are as big as Arlington, but every site gets at least seven wreaths — representing the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and POW/MIAs. The ceremonies are all timed to coincide with the noon placement of the day's final wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Cars, trucks, and buses full of volunteers were already lined up outside Arlington's gates at 7 a.m. — and some were still waiting to get in long after the wreaths had been distributed. When I first wrote about the Worcesters in 2007, about 600 volunteers were helping place wreaths. But it was a weekday event then, Merritt points out, and before a picture of wreaths atop snow-covered Arlington graves began circulating on the Internet. Word spread, and the number of volunteers has grown steadily since.
As people gather, it's an odd mix of solemn occasion, celebration, and reunion. To be there seems almost a duty, though certainly not a burden. It's a privilege, an honor.
Civilians and vets mingle with service members in uniform. There are couples, old and young, families with babies. A group of Catholic University alums. And other groups with their names emblazoned on leather jackets: the Patriot Guard, the Christian Motorcycle Association, Leathernecks Nation.
There are conversation and laughter as people wait to begin, but respect and dignity are paramount. Yes, this is a tourist destination in the nation's capital, but it's also an active cemetery, still sadly in the business of burying the nation's sons and daughters killed in battle. We, the day's visitors, are among people in mourning. We are intruding, yet welcome.
Ruth Stonesifer of Bucks County, Pa., lost her son Kristofor, a vegan, a philosophy major, and an Army Ranger, in a helicopter accident in Pakistan a month after 9/11. As president of American Gold Star Mothers, Stonesifer let those assembled in Arlington know what their presence meant.
Despite the initial support when a soldier is killed, Stonesifer told the crowd, eventually the family panics, wondering if anyone will remember their loved one's sacrifice. But that morning in Arlington, she said later in an interview, "absolutely dispelled the fear that our sons and daughters will be forgotten.
"They may not know my son's story, but they showed up on a perfectly beautiful Saturday and paid homage."
I place my first wreath in Section 60, where the casualties from the current wars are laid to rest — some burials so recent that the traditional white headstone has not yet arrived. Families are there that day, decorating graves with quilts, stockings, photos — and 1,000 wreaths from Wreaths Across America. They are holding each other. Some are crying.
Spec. Stephan Mace of Virginia was killed only two months ago, on Oct. 3, when Taliban insurgents attacked his post, Forward Operating Base Keating, in Afghanistan's Kamdesh district. He was 21.
My second wreath went on the grave of Col. Joseph D. Aronson, a Pennsylvanian who served in the medical corps during both world wars. He died in 1958, age 69. His wife, Charlotte, was buried next to him 24 years later.
In the book, "Lincoln at Gettysburg," author Garry Wills wrote about the 19th-century movement that sought to make cemeteries more than a place for the dead, but actually "schools of life." Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story summed up the effort — and a Saturday morning at Arlington — in an 1831 speech:
"Our cemeteries, rightly selected and properly arranged, may be made subservient to some of the highest purposes of religion and human duty. They may preach lessons to which none may refuse to listen and which all that live must hear. Truths may be there felt and taught, in the silence of our own meditations, more persuasive and more enduring than ever flowed from human lips."
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment by clicking here.
Kevin Ferris is commentary page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
11/12S/09: Obama should heed his own lofty words
11/05/09: Getting well, helping others
10/01/09: Helping the fighters thrive
09/03/09: Holder needs to explain dismissal of Philly case
08/19/09: Rage understandable, but what comes next?
08/05/09: A few words, and then some, from the Obama Center
04/29/09: Pity for tortured terrorist?
04/22/09: For good or ill, to be a public figure is to have your image used and abused
03/11/09: GOP lacks leader but has potential
03/05/09: A dangerous naivete in foreign policy
02/25/09: Beware dialogue on race
12/29/08: Chicago II: A governor's story
12/11/08: Operator: Welcome to transition hotline
12/03/08: How Obama will fight a growing front in Afghanistan
11/25/08: GOP ahead of curve for change
11/13/08: Prayers for President-elect Barack Obama
10/03/08: Obama's lowball attacks: Suggesting that McCain is a bigot runs afoul of the high-minded unity tripe
09/06/08: It's unlikely that a President McCain would be driven by political ideology
09/04/08: Bold McCain will sharpen the contrasts
© 2008, Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K