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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 24, 2009 / 7 Teves 5770

A duty, an honor that grows and grows

By Kevin Ferris



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 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.

Letter from JWR publisher


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.



Previously:


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

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