Memorial Day: Remembrance and Promises

May 28, 2021 at 02:55 pm by Paulette Jackson


Remember the home we made
In a land across the sea

And the sixty-six day voyage
For the chance to be free

And for what it cost

 The lives we lost
Our only hope
Was to fall on our face
Cling to the mercy of grace
and cry
Holy, holy, holy

Remember later, the war that came
 From a foreign mercenary aim
 Preying upon the Indians’ pride
Waging war like a game
Treating life as expendable
All the same

And for what it cost
The lives we lost
Our saving hope
Was to fall on our face
 Reach for the mercy of grace
And cry
Holy, Holy, Holy

Remember the land prosperous and free
Torn apart and destroyed
By avarice and greed
 And the platform of a political band
Freeing one race
Imprisoning another
 Tie their hands
Steal their lands
Abandon the children and the mother

And for what it cost
And the lives we lost
our saving hope
Was to fall on our face
Reach for the mercy of grace
And cry
Holy, Holy, Holy

Remember the Harbor
A Pearl besieged
 By a foreign enemy
And YHWH’s children
 Delight of God’s eye
Unforgettable, unspeakable loss
At the hand of a wounded soul’s lie

And for what it cost
And the lives we lost
Our saving hope
Was to fall on our face
 Wrap ourselves in the mercy of grace
And cry
Holy, holy, holy

Remember Vietnam
And the raids of pillage
Men, women, children
Destroyed in their village
 All of them
Young and old
Oh the horrible grief
Cover my face
"Don’t leave my body
Oh, my soul"
Pray the priests

And for what it cost
And the lives we lost
Our saving hope
Was to fall on our face
Hold to the mercy of grace
And cry
Holy, holy, holy

Remember your own
loss, grief and pain
Love that could not stay
A child, a parent, a brother, a sister, a friend
 Taken away
The striving for hope of success
Carried away like a feather on the breeze
And fear for all you could not mend
The questions about life
From beginning to end
And beginning again

For what it cost
And what we’ve lost
For the life we have today
Our saving hope
 Is to fall on our face
Trust love's healing grace
And sing 

Holy, holy, holy

Alleluia, Alleluia

~ Paulette Jackson

Recently, I watched a movie titled, The Promise. A 2016 film set in the time frame of the Ottoman Empire, and its last days during World War I, which was waged from 1914-1918. After having maintained strict control over much of southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and 20th centuries, the empire began to implode during World War I, due to siding with the empires of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria.

We understand, the reasons for a country or countries may engage in wars. It can be for the purpose of maintaining control by oppressive governments, striving to keep the status quo for a bourgeoisie and proletariat class, or forced religious adherence.

We also recognize, that some wars are entered into for protection; of freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And we must admit, that in spite of the reason for war, we grieve deeply, for the losses of the innocent, those who become targets, caught in the malevolence of violence, simply because they are on the opposing side.

And such was the fate for many minorities, caught in the net of the Ottoman Empire; the Greek, Assyrian and Armenian citizens - whose lives were at high risk, hanging in the balance; having their businesses and homes taken or burned, and their families slaughtered. And with no escape, they were forced, to become fugitives, on the run, to try and survive.

His name was Michael. The village where he lives is set high in Turkey. His family, the Boghosians, have, for two-hundred years, made medicines, handed down from his ancestors who started a local apothecary, serving and treating everyone alike; Muslim and Christian.

Michael was proud of his craft, but making potions from herbs and minerals was not enough. So he decided to become engaged to Mara, and use her dowry, of four-hundred gold coins, to pay his way to three years of medical school in Constantinople, so he could bring modern medicines into Turkey.

Arriving in the city, he went to visit his Uncle and his family. While he was there, he also met a young woman. Her name was Ana, and she was a dance teacher for his nieces. And being away from home, Michael and Ana developed a brief affair.

But Michael, could not have predicted that this multicultural capital would very shortly, be consumed by chaos. Now, in order for Michael to stay in Constantinople, he needed to verify legal status for residing there. But as the threat of war was escalating, and his nationality was in opposition to the Ottoman Empire, no permit was granted to allow him to stay.

Rescued by Chris, a photo-journalist, who had come to Constantinople to cover geo-politics, he was able to get a permit to stay in the city. While the two become good friends, there also emerges the realization of a romantic rivalry between the two men, for Ana.

But the alliance of the Turks with Germany and the Empire, soon takes a violent turn toward its own ethnic minorities. The only hope of survival for these minorities, was to join forces in order to escape the overwhelming events.

For Chris, he was able to survive for a while as a photo-journalist, until arrested for treason and shot. For Michael, his wife and child-in-utero, were violently killed along with his family and the people of the village where he had grown up.

Joining with other cultural minorities, individuals and orphans who had lost their homes, Michael, once again, reunited with Ana. Seeking safety wherever they could, strategizing to defend themselves and protecting the orphans, was the focus and hope.

It was not too long after, that this band of minorities, who had been hiding in the hills near the sea, found themselves fired upon by the enemy. Returning fire, even though significantly outnumbered, their heroic effort prevailed, buying time, to soon see a battleship from France arrive, opening fire on the Turks and Germans.

Many lost their lives, trying to get the orphans to safety, including Ana. Michel survived, and along with others, helped get the orphans to the battleship for safety.

And we honor and remember each one of those lives. We also honor and remember the protectors of life, of liberty, and justice for all.

During this past year, going on two, I have gained a new perspective - that the conflict in cultures, is not necessarily focused on, a race, but rather ideologies.

It appears to be more about the lens of various cultures, as particularly distinguished by politicians/governments, who often wield their power to maintain control, striving to keep the status quo for proletariat and  bourgeoisie classes. And race, can appear to be a sword to wield, for those in power, to distinguish, categorize or create disparity, regarding "racial identity" apart from the whole of humanity, as understood in the movie, The Promise.

But in our United States and on this Memorial Day, and in memory of those who have fought for and given their lives, for our country, I want to recognize our country's Declaration of Independence that reminds us;

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that are endowed by their Creator with certain unlaienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

And for the life we have today, our saving hope is to fall on our face, trust love's healing grace, and sing; Holy, Holy, Alleluia, Alleluia...

~"Always, we begin again." St. Bendedict

Paulette Jackson lpc-mhsp

The Promise is a 2016 American historical drama film directed by Terry George and starring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale, set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

Between 1914-1922, 700,00 Greeks died. The Turkish national movement against the Greek population and Empire included massacres.

The thoughts and opinions expressed in The Conversant Counselor's Blog, are those belonging to Paulette Jackson lpc-mhsp annd do not necessarily reflect those of any other professional or individual.

photo credit: 1_res_poppy Live


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