Have you ever been put in a situation…or put yourself in a situation…where you lose control, completely. You find yourself cornered/humiliated/vulnerable/speechless? You lose your voice? Loud voices are coming at you. You see mouths moving and eyes wide open. But, you really don’t hear a word that the voices are projecting. You want to catch up on the conversation and what is happening, but you are so shocked that you’re NOT SAFE, that you are deemed useless, defenseless and feel only things in your body? Oh. I’m sweating. Oh, my heart is pounding. Oh. Am I going to throw up? Am I going to cry?
I’ve been thinking a lot about what is going on in a world where this is allowed to happen. We become enraged when we remember these collective experiences happening historically, in the unbelievable and horrific impacts of colonization and slavery, of racist and immoral conduct in war. (Presently watching the Netflix series on Vietnam, with my son. Watch the entire series, beginning with French colonization…see what atrocities happened there.) We are shocked and freaked out when it happens on the world stage in the forum of politics, religion and foreign policy. (I can’t even name all such horrors.)
The strong prey on others.
The privilege of power; whether that is white or big or strong or conservative or educated or rich…the privilege of power is a demon in the face of building relationship or building community or building trust.
The second clutch of sparrows was attacked on the hottest day of summer. It might have been a Magpie or a Crow. I wasn’t home to see the events. The Crow and the Magpie have youngsters to feed…their aggression is without thought for kindness, but for survival. That’s the difference between human beings and Crows. We can choose to communicate kindly, even in the face of conflict. It is our moral imperative to do so.
Mr. did not give up without a fight. How do I know this? Because his feathers show the scars of the attempt to protect his youngsters. Mr. and Mrs. have grieved at the empty vent these past two days.
I ask myself if I had stayed home from book club, would things have turned out differently. Maybe not.
When my London-born son-in-law hears or reads something really impressive or heart breaking or touching, he voices or writes the word, “Respect”. I think it’s a nice response. If he says it to me, simply, and without explanation or embellishment, I feel that…respect.
I’ve noticed in my world, the world of ‘EDUCATION’ that there is a loss of respect these days. Readers, don’t jump on my perceptions…it’s just what it is…my perceptions. I find students are often lacking respect for teachers. I find that professionals are losing respect, in their words and actions, for their peers. I find that people in positions of authority are disrespectful to people ‘beneath’ them. I’m wondering what is going on?
Social media offers us a plethora of disrespectful ‘threads’ day in and day out. We have, as a people, stopped listening to one another. Brief blasts of tweets or posts or images, leave conversations dangling, sometimes making us shiver with their hatred, negativity and stone-walling sensibility.
Recently, I had the opportunity to engage conversation with and learn about one soldier. I had intended to add his photograph to the bottom of a post about my great-grandfather John Moors. Master Corporal Joe Green was the person who took on the task of cleaning my great grandfather’s Memorial Cross, a sterling silver cross that would have been presented to my great grandmother Mary Eleanor Haddow 100 years ago and another to his mother, Grace Rebecca Porter, as a result of John’s death during a German bombing raid in Etaples, France. He had been lying in a hospital tent in Canadian General Hospital #51…a hospital situated with some proximity to a railway line.
Often times a person still hears negative comments about the military. There are wide-sweeping generalities made about peace and war and defense and aggression. “They shouldn’t have been over there in the first place!” Oh…to be ye, who judge. Oh, to be ye, who remain safe in your comfortable beds, with your comfortable thoughts, with your perfect opinions of other people, other countries, other politics because having been given the power, you would done everything differently!
I’ve been faulted for ‘living in the past’. But I don’t. See! I live here. I live now. But, I am absolutely NOT going to lose ties with our common past. I am always going to engage the touch stones of history, in order to do better. I am always going to remember.
Maybe it was the fact that I grew up in a military family during the Cold War years…during peace time…that I grew up with respect.
I remember attending high school in Montana. The MIA were still returning home, some of them, after the war in Vietnam. In 1969, the students were participating in fundraisers and wearing bracelets to bring their men home. Many, as my readers know, were never to return.
I picked up the Memorial Cross for John Moors and drove home. The roads were thick with deep snow, but I felt like I was floating. I was so elated to be driving home in 2018 with a 1918 Memorial Cross as my cargo.
In 2008, Master Corporal Joe Green started working in the civilian workforce at Flowserve where he pursued drafting design. “From going from carrying a weapon 24 hours a day to sitting at a computer, it takes some adjusting,” says Green on Mar. 24, 2017.Photo by Cassie Riabko
Upon reading this profile, I made the decision to write a post that dealt with this issue of respect. While reading Joe’s profile, I found myself with tears. I took pause and remembered, in prayer, Joe’s peer, Private Rob Costall. Joe’s journey has inspired, in me, a new level or respect. This is the man who all of these decades later, held our family’s Memorial Cross in his hands and with precision and care, brought it to a beautiful sheen. I received his name through the centrally located Royal Canadian Legion Branch 275 in Forest Lawn. I had met a most amazing historian, there.
I received this Memorial Cross (there were two that were sent out, one to John’s wife Mary Eleanor Haddow Moors and the other to his mother, Grace Porter Moors…this is likely the one that I am now holding), kindly, from my father’s cousin JR Moors of Roseville, California. My Dad’s Uncle Bob had kept it safe and in his care and then left it to his son for safe keeping. The day it arrived by mail, I was overcome with emotion.
Pte. John Moors Medal The Great War
And finally, with Joe’s work…the refurbished Sterling silver cross.
As a part of our experience of respect, I think it is essential that we promise care of the objects that represent our soldiers and their service. I highly recommend that you solicit the help of Joe Green, locally, in order to tend to these treasures. Please contact me if you want his information and I will have him respond to your request.
I am blessed. I am grateful. I am filled with respect.
My cousin, James Perry, on my maternal side said it perfectly…
“A good polishing would bring back the shine of that silver too, IMHO tarnished medals are brought back to life with polishing, and are part of “Always remember, never Forget” and the sacrifice our families made to keep our world free from tyranny.”
I warned my readers that my posts would be somewhat disconnected, dependent on what comes to mind. When a person travels OR enjoys a vacation where time is left for reflection, a lot of things can cross the mind.
I was interested in my brother’s response when I turned my head away while my beautiful 15 pound Chinook salmon received three firm and committed bonks on its head. He asked, “Will you sit down at dinner and eat this fish? If you will eat this fish, you should be prepared to take its life.”
I know my brothers…I know my father…and I knew my Grandfather John Moors before them; all of the men in my family have been fishermen.
Out by a pond on a summer’s day, many years ago, accompanying my Grandfather and my brother, John, I learned a lesson. John had a grasshopper and was taking its legs off…curiosity? wonder? mystery?…something like that, anyway. My Grandfather’s response was quick and abrupt and I’ll never forget it. He taught both my brother and me, in that moment, that it does not matter how small an insect or life form, life is to be respected. Suffering is to be avoided. The life of that grasshopper was to be respected above everything in that moment. At that very instant, my Grandfather took matters into his own hands and in front of us, ended the insect’s life. And that was the end of the subject. Nothing was ever said about it again. But, as children, we were left with a forever-impression that we would never forget.
And this is how my father taught us to regard life also. After my experience of going out to Kitty Coleman with my brother…and returning home to Calgary, I thought that I would research the matter of how to humanely treat and kill a catch. It became obvious, based on my reading, that it is a very common practice for squeamish and inexperienced outdoors folk to leave their catch to suffocate in the ice cooler for sometimes as many as six hours and I’ve decided that, for me, this is ridiculous and unacceptable. An article posted, in part, below, was written for the Spokesman Review April 24, 2013 and summarizes a number of methods; I feel that my brother is correct in his method and in the manner that he accomplishes it. I think that if we, as beneficiaries of the planet, have food to enjoy, we need to explore these practices and decide if we can accept them.
I learned, while out on the water with my brother, that we need to be more conscious about the foods that we eat…how they are produced/processed and try to align our morals, values and sense of our planet before we consume them. I need to be more aware of the practices and industries that end with my purchase of foods at the grocery store. Like most contemporaries, I consume foods based on convenience and economics. This is going to change.
Shout out to my brother of Cliff’s Chinook Charters in Comox, British Columbia…for this and many other lessons, I am grateful. I bowed my head, in silence and in gratitude, for our catch that day and I pray for their continued bounty. Beautiful fish of the sea!
15 lb Chinook Salmon…brought in by Kathleen Moors, with a short termed assist by Cliff Moors. An awesome memory.