Founders Keepers

Posted on 24 February 2011 by LeslieM

I recently officiated at a funeral with Military Honors. The young men and women who have this duty are so respectful, not just of the family, but of the flag.

While many young ones today might not know it, there is a special way that a flag is folded. And, when the bugler from the Military Honor Guard plays taps, he does not do what so many do when they sing the National Anthem before a ballgame. He just plays the notes as they were written — sweet, pure and simple. And, the Honor Guard doesn’t look for any praise from the people in attendance. Instead, the head of their detail will bend down on one knee and present the flag to the widow or widower and thank them for their spouse’s service to this country.

Oh, and one more thing, when it is a “lifer” or an officer who passed away, there is yet another ritual that occurs during the Military Honors… the rifle salute. I don’t know if you have ever been at a funeral that has had this or not; but I can tell you this, I have been at several, and to this day, whenever those shots are fired, something inside me jumps and, pretty much everyone at the service jumps or shakes, as they did not realize just how piercing the sound of those rifles was going to be. The other day I found out that those who have served in uniform still cringe when they hear such a loud explosion as well. I shudder to think what goes through their head, let alone what goes through the head of a veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

So, it was with much amazement that I had the thrill of attending the Founders’ Days celebration on beautiful Deerfield Beach. I was there the night of the fireworks display, and it was during that display that I again felt so blessed to be a part of this great country. It wasn’t just that the weather was perfect. It wasn’t just the beauty of the fireworks that brought an array of dazzling colors into the clear night’s sky. It was the loud bangs that came as those fireworks lit up the night. Some of those explosions were so loud that people screamed in momentary fear. But, right after that, we laughed in pure delight as we realized how blessed we were. You see, we all came together in peace that night. We didn’t feel threatened. We didn’t worry if the explosions were (as so many others in foreign lands deal with on a regular basis) an attack on sunny South Florida. Imagine so many people (and there was a huge crowd) able to come together in peace and enjoy the sights and sounds of the evening.

“Hine Mah Tov U’manaim Shevet Achim Gam Yachad.” (“Oh how good and how pleasant it is, when people can dwell together in peace.”)

On the beach, you see all ages and all ethnic groups; and talk about blessings, people were even courteous as they searched for a parking space in The Cove … and, that is indeed a miracle. The Founders would have been proud. Let’s keep the miracle(s) going.

Shalom My Friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Ezring is a Hospice Chaplain and Member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. He also provides Professional Pastoral Care Services to a number of health centers in Broward County.

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