DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     November 11, 1998     vol. 9, no. 221


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE & SECTION TWO
      Today's food for thought celebrates two holidays, Veteran's Day in the United States, and Remembrance Day in Canada. The first is a patriotic ditty that shows the simplicity of patriotism; the second is a reminder to help us remember He is there at all times. It is we who pass up the opportunities. They were both submitted by EJB via e-mail and should really give everyone something to ponder during this month of Thanksgiving.


      (Editor's Note: The following was submitted anonymously and recently appeared In "The Scout," the command newspaper serving Camp Pendleton, Calif. A foreign diplomat who often criticized American policy once observed a United States Marine perform the evening colors ceremony. The diplomat wrote about this simple but solemn ceremony in a letter to his country.)

          During one of the past few days, I had occasion to visit the U.S. Embassy in our capital after official working hours. I arrived at a quarter to six and was met by the Marine on guard at the entrance of the Chancery. He asked if I would mind waiting while he lowered the two American flags at the Embassy. What I witnessed over the next 10 minutes so impressed me that I am now led to make this occurrence a part of my ongoing record of this distressing era.

          The Marine was dressed in a uniform which was spotless and neat; he walked with a measured tread from the entrance of the Chancery to the stainless steel flagpole before the Embassy and, almost reverently, lowered the flag to the level of his reach where he began to fold it in military fashion. He then released the flag from the clasps attaching it to the rope, stepped back from the pole, made an about face, and carried the flag between his hands - one above, one below - and placed it securely on a stand before the Chancery.

          He then marched over to the second flagpole and repeated the same lonesome ceremony. On the way between poles, he mentioned to me very briefly that he would soon be finished.

          After completing his task, he apologized for the delay - out of pure courtesy, as nothing less than incapacity would have prevented him from fulfilling his goal - and said to me, "Thank you for waiting, Sir. I had to pay honor to my country."

          I have had to tell this story because there was something impressive about a lone Marine carrying out a ceremonial task which obviously meant very much to him and which, in its simplicity, made the might, the power and the glory of the United States of America stand forth in a way that a mighty wave of military aircraft, or the passage of a super-carrier, or a parade of 10,000 men could never have made manifest.

          In spite of all the many things that I can say negatively about the United States, I do not think there is a soldier, yea, even a private citizen, who could feel as proud about our country today as the Marine does for his country.

          One day it is my hope to visit one of our embassies in a far-away place and to see a soldier fold our flag and turn to a stranger and say, "I am sorry for the delay, Sir. I had to honor my country."

A Reminder letter from a very Special Friend less you forget!

    Dear Friend,

          As you got up this morning, I watched you and hoped you would talk to me even if it was just a few words, asking my opinion or thanking me for something good that happened in your life yesterday, but I noticed you were too busy trying to find the right outfit to put on and wear to work.

          I waited again. When you ran around the house getting ready I knew there would be a few minutes for you to stop and say hello, but you were too busy. At one point you had to wait fifteen minutes with nothing to do except sit in a chair.

          Then I saw you spring to your feet. I thought you wanted to talk to me but you ran to the phone and called a friend to get the latest gossip. I watched as you went to work and I waited patiently all day long. I guess you were too busy to say anything to me with all your activities. I noticed that before lunch you looked around. Maybe you felt embarrassed to talk to me, that is why you didn't bow your head. You glanced three or four tables over and you noticed some of your friends talking to me briefly before they ate, but you didn't. That's okay. There is still more time left, and I have hope that you will talk to me even yet you went home and it seems as if you had lots of things to do. After a few of them were done you turned on the TV. I don't know if I like TV or not, just about anything goes there and you spend a lot of time each day in front of it not thinking about anything-just enjoying the show.

          I waited patiently again as you watched TV and ate your meal but again you didn't talk to me. As you did your chores I waited again-you did what you had to do. At bedtime I guess you felt too tired. After you said goodnight to your family, you plopped into bed and fell asleep in no time. That's okay because you may not realize that I am always there for you. I've got patience more than you will ever know. I even want to teach you how to be patient with others as well. Because I love you so much, a long time ago I left a wonderful place called Heaven and came to Earth. I gave it up so that I could be made fun of and ridiculed. I even died so you wouldn't have to take my place. I love you so much that I wait everyday for a nod, prayers, a thought, or a thankful part of your heart. It is hard to have a one-sided conversation. Well, you are getting up again and once again I will wait with nothing but love for you hoping that today you will give me some time.

          Have a nice day!

    Your friend,


    P.S: Do you have enough time to send this to another person?

November 11, 1998       volume 9, no. 221


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