O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea.
America is unique in the history of the world. It is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people, accomplishing beautiful feats. Although quite imperfect, there persists a thread of greatness in the U.S. that still attracts more would-be immigrants than it can possibly accept.
Unlike countries tied together by common blood lines, the United States is a different model tied together by the principles of natural law. Our raison d’êtreis established in the Declaration of Independence. Every subsequent law implements the fact that all men, whatever differences they may have in skin color, talents, ancestry, wealth, or intelligence are created equal. That is, each one is entitled to equality of respect and opportunity, but not the equality of circumstances.
During two-hundred and forty-two years since the founding, this type of government and environment have produced men and women of uncommon valor, talent, and generosity. While the country has, unfortunately,produced criminals in the government, in the churches, and in the general population, it has also unleashed an unbelievable amount of creativity that benefits everyone. The fields of technology and machinery alone have transformed the daily life of people in every corner of the world.
Five times in the twentieth century, American military forces offered their wealth, their weapons, their time, their talent, and their lives to save people in other countries from tyrants. Today, on July 4, 2018, we at One Eye and Half Sense, honor that particular beauty – the beauty of selflessness.
Arlington Cemetery – Procession to the burial site.
O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife, Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life! America! America! May God thy gold refine Till all success be nobleness, And ev’ry gain divine!
O Beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears! America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
The US Cemetery at Normandy, just above Omaha Beach is pictured above. As you walk around the cemetery with row upon row upon row of crosses and Stars of Davids, it finally begins to dawn on you the enormity of the sacrifice that Americans made to save Europe in World War II.
Having talked to two survivors of the D-Day invasion, I assure you that those 18 to 30 year-old young men were frightened by what they saw and what they endured. And yet, they bravely obeyed in spite of their fears, in spite of trembling hands, in spite of vomiting at the carnage surrounding them. And where they could not obey original orders because of snafus, they improvised. There is no way to thank even the ones who came home and lived long lives, much less the ones who perished defending freedom.
This is the original quote by General Clark at Anzio, Italy. Part of it was carved into a wall at the Normandy Beach Memorial.
“On Memorial Day we visited the American cemetery at Anzio and saw the curving rows of white crosses that spoke eloquently of the price that America and her Allies had paid for the liberation of Italy. “If ever proof were needed that we fought for a cause and not for conquest, it could be found in these cemeteries. Here was our only conquest: all we asked of Italy was enough of her soil in which to bury our gallant dead.” ” General Mark W. Clark
Another view of the Normandy Memorial Cemetery. American soldiers volunteered to die for their own people and for the oppressed people across the ocean whom they did not know and whose language and customs were foreign to them. They were idealistic young men who wanted to preserve freedom for others.
Over-view of the Normandy Cemetery showing the Memorial Building which houses artifacts and documents about the battle.
None of us are forgetful of other wars brave American soldiers have fought in since the decisive World War II: Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East. The United States has paid a high price with both blood and treasure in conflicts that some have deemed unnecessary. While God determines whose decisions were righteous and whose were selfish, the unique people of this unique nation remain loyal, diligent, and obedient even when sent on questionable missions because they “more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!”
“In a world of disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.”
December 16, 1960 Rehearsal Dinner for Kaye and Her Knight in Shining Armor
Right to left: Sunny, Ralph, and Kaye’s Cousin
Life with Father – Kaye’s Chosen Father, That Is
Although both Sunny and Ralph obviously enjoyed each other’s company from the beginning, no one would call it a whirlwind courtship. After all, they both were responsible adults with demanding jobs and limited free time. Sunny’s younger son still lived at home. Besides, Dallas was a two-and-a-half to a three-hour drive from Temple.Since both had grown or almost grown children, there were additional serious considerations that young singles don’t even contemplate.
However, Kaye and Ralph kept developing their friendship with occasional lunches out at various Temple restaurants. These meetings often included discussions about the boys she was dating.Kaye quickly learned to detect approval or disapproval through fleeting facial expressions and probing questions. Those questions usually helped her see possible flaws that she should consider before getting too involved.
She also got a taste of his extreme generosity at one lunch in a local two-bit cafe that he frequented enough to know the waitress personally. Once when she was away from the table, he quietly explained that she was a single mother with two grade school children trying to make ends meet. When the waitress returned, he asked about the children and offered a small tidbit of fatherly advice. As they left the restaurant, Kaye happened to see the bill and realized that his tip was more than the cost of the meal.
During Kaye’s senior year, she met the man she felt certain would be her “knight in shining armor.” So within weeks Kaye, her “knight,” and her “chosen” father met in Dallas so Sunny could meet him too. The two generation foursome doubled dated that Saturday for a lovely evening of dinner and dancing. Everyone passed the first test — and many subsequent tests, double dates, and family gatherings. In December of 1960, after Kaye had graduated and had begun her teaching career, Ralph gave her away to her “knight” at their small, familywedding in Belton.
Perhaps one of the reasons it took Ralph and Sunny such a long time to walk down the aisle themselves is that they had so little time alone. When in Dallas, Sunny’s mother, son, and some of her friends were nearly always included in their “dates.” When they were in Temple or at the hunting lease for a weekend, Ralph’s friends and family were invariably present, day and night. Actually their courtship lasted long enough for Sunny to pick out her own friends and feel entirely at home even before movingto Temple and settling in.
Once marriedSunny quickly changed her role from executive assistant to the president of a small company to that of supportive wife for the owner of a somewhat larger company.Privately, she loved giving elegant dinners for his friends and business acquaintances. In fact, she became a legend in her own time for gracious hospitality. Other wives in town soon began to emulate her distinctive menus,memorable decorations, and refreshing approach to entertaining others. She also traveled with him on his frequent business trips across the US, always easing any awkward situations and making friends with difficult people.
Bell County Junior Livestock Show
Publicly, back in Temple, she devoted much time and attention to furthering his charitable goals by assisting local children. Ralph always had a soft spot in his heart for them. He never failed to support the high school band, the 4-H club, or the Future Farmers of America group whether they were from Temple or from one of the surrounding small towns. But his biggest soft spot was for The Boys Club in Temple. In fact he gave land near his plant and built a building for it before it officially became the Boys and Girls Club of Temple. He also left provisions and instructions for the club in his will to assure its longevity.
Neither Kaye nor her older brother had any idea whether Ralph’s will included them or not. But after their mother’s marriage, they both approached him privately to ask that he not leave anything to her children. Their desire was fortheir mother to never worry about money again. Besides, they wanted to maintain friendly relationships with his children long after his death. All of Sunny’s children were both healthy and educated and strongly believed they could face whatever life threw their way.
Unfortunately, that will was probated much too soon. In 1972 Sunny became a widow for the second time in her life.
After Ralph’s funeral, none of the family could count how many people had come forward to personally tell of ways that Ralph had helped them in time of need, like paying off unexpected medical bills, defraying the cost of car repairs, or even liquidating obligations to a local loan shark.When any of them came back to repay him, he always refused. Nearly all of these stories were news to the family because he had never mentioned any of these financial adventures. Sometimes the person had asked for help. Sometimes Ralph realized they were in trouble and offered to help on his own.
Once again, after the funeral and the company had cleared out, Sunny faced life without a husband, but with many happy memories. Fortunately this time, neither children nor finances were a big problem. She bravely started out again on a new path of additional civic, church, and charitable work. For the first time ever, she joined women’s clubs, finding several in Temple that appealed to her interests.She still entertained a lot. She took each of her grandchildren, one at a time, to Europe with a local tour group. With the blessing of energy and good health, she lived comfortably alone for another forty years.
But finally the time came to close up shop. So she moved all the way to Montana to live with her youngest child, fulfilling the long-standing Southern custom of the youngest taking care of the elderly parent(s). And there she started another new life, this time coping with the vagaries of old age: loss of vision, mobility, and impaired hearing. But she is cheerful, polite, and eager to compliment others, just like she’s always been. She still faces life like a determined sheep herder from the Llano Estacado.
Copyright 2018 by Kaye Fairweather
This Is A Beautiful Woman: https://wordpress.com/post/oneeyehalfsense.com/1877
“Have you ever been so struck by the beauty of a sunset that just for a moment you lose all sense of time? Everything else just fades away and just for that instant, the only thing that mattered to you in the entire world, was that sunset. It was a moment that transcended the mere passing of seconds. You may even have felt something you could only describe as homesickness.”
Deacon Lawrence Klimecki: “Beauty Is Transcendent” at
that the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra sold to the public
to commemorate Robert Shaw’s 100th birthday.
It is a recording of a live performance, not a studio production.
As a long time Robert Shaw fan, I was delighted when the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra began selling this CD of a live concert in honor of his would-be one hundreth birthday in 2016. I had become aware of the Robert Shaw Chorale while in college and had managed to snag a couple of their vinyl records even during those impecunious years. I was especially impressed that he was a self taught musician and conductor and yet he had already made a dramatic impact on the American cultural scene.
Imagine how delighted I was when henot only “followed” me to Atlanta in 1967, but also immediately proceeded to transform our newly shared music world while also raisingfunds for and building the Woodruff Arts Center.
Another reason I bought one of the first Commemorative CD’s available was that it was a recording of an ASO performance very similar to one that I had attended in 1984. I will never forget the exultation of the audience at the end of that particular rendition of Beethoven’s Ninth. I remember well how good it felt to clap, and clap, and clap, and clap.I actually wished that I had learned how to whistle because “Bravo” just wasn’t quite enough. And, for the first time I, the ultimate prim and proper introvert, had understood people who jumped onto their chair seats or out into the aisles so they could express their joy more dramatically. I have no idea how long the applause lasted. I just remember that it didn’t end until Mr. Shaw asked the audience to please let them go, “because there’s just nothing more for us to give after this.”
This is the back side of the Commemorative CD. Please note the last entry of content, number 5: eight minutes and 41 seconds of applause recorded at the end of the concert. Remember this audience was composed of staid, dressed-up, classical music lovers that many might consider somewhat stuffy individuals. They were sandwiched together in an auditorium after a laborious bout with Atlanta’s infamous traffic. In other words, they were a stressed out bunch of people as the concert began. It was not a crowd of young people mellowed out after smoking weed and drinking at an all afternoon picnic/concert.
It’s now standard for the classical music audience to rise when applauding at the end of a concert to express gratitude for the evening’s entertainment. But, it’s usually a somewhat dutiful applause, as people quickly begin glancing around the room to decipher just the how soon they can start gathering their things to leave for dinner or after dinner drinks and still be polite.
This eight-plus minute recording of applause also records people shouting “Bravo,” whistling, and demanding yet another curtain call from the conductor. This is a modern example of the Theia Mania we first read about in Plato when a single person or a group has been freed from ordinary concerns and aspirations, then lifted emotionally and spiritually to a higher level by the beauty of the scenery, a piece of art, a musical performance, or a theatrical production. At least for a few minutes, the audience and the creators become one in a joyous unity.
For more information about Theia Mania, relating to the arts such as poets, sculptors, artists, musicians, performers, and audiences, listen to Robert Reilly’s lecture on JosefPieper’s monograph, Divine Madness, Plato Against Secular Humanism, to a group at the Institute of Catholic Culture: https://instituteofcatholicculture.org/talk/divine-madness/
PS: Through the centuries, diverse groups have used theia mania to describe lots of weird events. But today I’m siding more with Josef Pieper, to wit:
“Such patrimony is achieved and preserved only through a willingly accepted openness: openness for divine revelation, for the salutary pain of catharsis, for the recollecting power of the fine arts, for the emotional shock brought about by eros and caritas — in short, through the attitude rooted in the mysterious experience that Plato called theia mania.” (or Divine Madness)
Another PS: Yes, the CD is worth buying from ASO and it’s not that expensive. But, it’s not as good as vinyl – or the real concert. CD’s are great, but they’re a pale imitation of the real thing.