The sadness of remembering – Memorial Day

fdr-memorial-day-quote-1525289591Today is Memorial Day. It is a day for thanksgiving for those who gave their lives that we might live free. This day is hard for me to write about since my husband was in the Army for 20 years. He spent two years in Viet Nam fighting a senseless war. He graduated from West Point in 1962 and felt obligated to serve in the war.  Wars run by politicians cannot be won. All the idiotic rules that governed what could and could not be done made it impossible. I could give many examples of this but it would not only take too long but also bring up too many bad memories.

My husband does not talk about the war except for a few incidents that had some humor attached to them. He fought in the battle of Dak To which was so badly run that many people died. He won’t talk about this.

We have been to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall but he will never go again. There are too many friend’s names on it.

the wall

I spent those years at home with our children worrying about him. There was little communication with loved ones during WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. I even had to number my letters so that he knew if some were missing. His letters to me came in bunches. Communication is better now but it doesn’t take away the worry.

missing soldier

This is the fate of families today who wait for loved ones in danger. I grieve for both the soldier and the family. Many families don’t survive the separation. Please pray for those soldiers and their families.

Danger, danger! -Disease outbreaks

This post looks at an issue that has been largely overlooked by the press and, as far as I know, anyone else.

The issue of immigration has been a hot topic mostly dealing with undocumented people flooding into the country. As a nurse I see a glaring problem that doesn’t seem to be a consideration.

outbreak

In recent months there have been outbreaks of disease connected with the influx of migrants who have been hurried through the system. There has been little time for proper medical checks to have been done resulting in some serious outbreaks.

The scary part is that the immigrants could be carrying things that haven’t been see in this country for generations. Today most people are not vaccinated for diseases like Typhoid Fever, Small Pox, Yellow Fever, Malaria (no vaccine) and others. I had injections against some of these but the vaccinations have been dropped since these diseases have not recently been a problem for us. Some of the diseases we have very seldom seen in this country such as Dengue Fever.

TB is on the rise with versions that are highly resistant. Since some people continue to refuse vaccinations there have been cases of Polio and Measles.

 

Our medical system is not ready for a major outbreak of diseases we have considered eradicated or not a danger.

We have no idea what diseases are coming into our country. It has not been talked about. Have officials even thought of this? There is no knowing. We could be facing an epidemic of epic proportions. Are we ready?

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Below are news clips that document outbreaks that have, more or less, flown under the radar.

Florida:

As state health officials investigate the source, Hepatitis A continues to spread in Florida with 119 new cases in the last week.

The new cases bring the state total to 883, with most reported incidents of the disease in Pasco and Pinellas counties. Miami-Dade (13), Broward (8) and Palm Beach (5) counties now have a combined 26 cases, up slightly from 19 a week ago. Statewide, case counts in 2019 already have surpassed those in 2018.

(Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect your liver’s ability to function.

You’re most likely to get hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected. Mild cases of hepatitis A don’t require treatment. Most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.

Practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently, is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A. Vaccines are available for people most at risk.) from the Mayo Clinic

Los Angeles:

Government officials in Los Angeles are considering ripping out all carpets in city buildings amid a typhus outbreak that has infected workers.

The disease is typically caused by infected fleas, which hitch rides on rats, and their feces. It can also be spread by cats and opossums, according to health officials. Downtown Los Angeles has been battling an outbreak since October that was linked to homeless street encampments, officials said.

(Murine typhus, also called endemic typhus or flea-borne typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia typhi. Murine typhus is spread to people through contact with infected fleas. People get sick with murine typhus when infected flea feces are rubbed into cuts or scrapes in the skin. In most areas of the world, rats are the main animal host for fleas infected with murine typhus. Murine typhus occurs in tropical and subtropical climates around the world where rats and their fleas live. Cat fleas found on domestic cats and opossums have been associated with cases of murine typhus in the United States. Most cases of murine typhus in the United States are reported in people from California, Hawaii, and Texas.) from the CDC

Texas: This one hit the news only because of a death. I haven’t heard if the type of flu has been identified. “Flu” covers a lot of illnesses from not dangerous to deadly.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has stopped taking detainees at its main processing center in McAllen, Tex., after identifying “a large number” of migrants suffering from flulike symptoms, the agency announced late Tuesday. The move comes one day after a teenage migrantwho had been held at the facility died after being diagnosed with the flu.

“To avoid the spread of illness, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has temporarily suspended intake operations at the [Central Processing Center],” CBP said in a statement. “Individuals apprehended in RGV Sector will be held at other locations until this situation is resolved.”

Medical staff at the center identified migrants in custody with high fevers and exhibiting “signs of a flu-related illness,” and they are now receiving medical treatment, CBP said.

 

 

 

Can we learn soon?

In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people. 
-Wilma Mankiller, the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation

I have always admired the insight of Native Americans. Their wisdom seems to reach a depth not always found in our society. When I look around at what we have done to the earth it is apparent that we don’t look ahead at all. Too often it is all about money and/or power. Two things that are so transient.

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To nurture the earth will allow human life to continue. If we don’t we don’t survive. I was talking with someone recently about “Mother Nature” and how she always seems to bite back. If we find an antibiotic to cure a disease it has the potential to change to something that we can’t fix. Eventually the earth itself will kill us off. Either as a direct result of what we have done or by what has evolved because of our hubris.

The Episcopal Prayer Book calls the earth: “this fragile earth, our island home.” The earth is fragile and I weep for what has been done.

I still have hope that people will wake up and change. In my experience we often wait until such a crisis occurs that there is no option but to change. I hope we don’t wait too long. Whatever is in our future I hope that we will learn, change and care for the earth. It is our only home.

 

Can we change?

In today’s world people like to play “the shame game.” We have no problem shaming someone who is not “like us.” This is rampant among teens but any of us are capable of joining in.

It is so easy to put down those who are different. Maybe they are fat, or too thin, or too black, or too white, or Muslim, or Christian, or Hindu….I could go on and on. Maybe they just don’t agree with us. We are becoming so polarized. Left vs right, Republican vs Democrat.

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One of the things I have encountered recently is intolerance about my moderate position. Somewhere between the black and white there is a whole spectrum of gray. Few things in this world are a simple as black and white. Most things have layer upon layer of opinion. Each of us has to make decisions based on our upbringing, our core values and our ethical stance. A choice that may be right for me may be terribly wrong for someone else.

We are losing all respect for opinions differing from our own. It is considered fine to metaphorically hang, draw and quarter those who are different. Love, tolerance and respect have given way to hatred and abuse.

tolerance-is

Somehow I hope the pendulum begins to swing the other way. As the population of the earth continues to grow our exposure to others will grow also. We will have to learn to respect the personal space and ability to see things differently of those around us.

I hope we can.

So Long Mom

Years ago I had recordings by Tom Lehrer. His satiric songs always struck a chord with me. Some of them are funny but some so prophetic they are scary. The words are from the past but the idea remains. (I’m sorry to say) They would not be politically correct today but unfortunately possible. It is a reminder to us to learn to live in a world without hatred.

 

 

Are we too clean?

It is interesting where our search for complete cleanliness has led us. We have gone too far. Doctors are now recommending that we stop using antibacterial soap except in places where it is really needed. We have created a society of people who are actually to clean.

eatapeckofdirt1

I grew up with a grandmother who was born in the 19th century. One of her adages was “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” Turns our she was on target. A recent article by a British physician who has studied childhood leukemia for the last 30 years has come to the conclusion that our immune system has to be kick started by, you guessed it, infection. He has found that lack of push to the immune system linked with several other factors is what is increasing the number of children diagnosed with this disease.

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This is no fly by night physician but a newly knighted doctor named Mel Greaves.  If you would like to read the article you can find it at

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/30/children-leukaemia-mel-greaves-microbes-protection-against-disease?CMP=share_btn_link

It is an eye opener. I suppose that my great grandson, who is in day care and exposed to everything, may be safe from this dread childhood disease. At least I hope that there is some benefit from being exposed at an early age.

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God willing, this physician and those who work with him will continue to explore this lead and find a way to stop the increase in this disease.

 

Protect our moral values

Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons. R. Buckminster Fuller

Science is a wonderful thing. Conversely science is an awful thing. As people find out new things about how everything works there are some wonderful discoveries. We are learning more about DNA, RNA, genes and what their impact is on our lives. We are heading toward curing some terrible diseases. This is a wonderful thing. If we use this information to increase wellness and reduce pain and suffering that will be good.

cloning_21

However, in some ways we have opened Pandora’s box. The Nazi’s wanted to “purify” the race and make selections for genetic manipulation. There are people who would like to do that now. Imagine if a like-minded group rose up and used the information we have currently to change the people of the world to suit them. We have the knowledge  available. Science can run amok.

Everyone in the world is not working from the same moral code. There is great diversity among cultures. Those of us in the western world have (hopefully) been exposed to a culture that values human life. I’m not so sure we have conquered honoring diversity. The thought of some group deciding to make all genetic choices for us is frightening.

ethics-of-scientific-research-rc-d-ec-2014-16-638Science is a wonderful thing but it must be monitored to keep it within moral limits. If we are not careful we will find ourselves with no say in the matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many questions..so few answers

quote-if-we-know-how-much-passive-violence-we-perpetrate-against-one-another-we-will-understand-mahatma-gandhi-86-66-56Once again the things that happen here in the US fascinate and appall me. Years ago when teaching about suicide one fact that usually made people think was that the suicide rate among survivors is higher than others. It seems that the message of suicide is that if you can’t cope this is a way out.

I am wondering if the same mindset is encouraging all these random shootings. Have they seen others do this and see it as a solution? Are these people really our to kill strangers to appease some mental aberration, or is it a wish for suicide by cop to end their pain? Quite a few have been soldiers with possible PTSD but why did their anguish lead to random shooting? Were they suffering a flash back and saw those people as the enemy? The sad part it that we will never know

so many questionsThere are so many question and so few answers. Since so many of the killers end up dead there is no one to ask. Some want to blame weapons and there may be a link but if you really want a gun you can get one. I don’t think there is any way to remove all the weapons entirely.

I wish that we knew what to do to end this violence with pain for the families killed and the shooters family. No one wins.

So many questions…so few answers.

Can we survive the hatred?

Nelson Mandela (1)Periodically I take time out to worry about the state of the world and especially the US. After the latest shooting I thought about how much hate is our there. How did we get to this? Like the song from South Pacific hate has to be taught. We aren’t born hating. It is learned. What went wrong in those families (or lack of) that taught so much hatred.

hatersHating people for their faith seems so unnecessary. However, it is not the only kind out there. Hatred seems to have spread so much faster than love. Are we so afraid of differences? For me, hatred is related to fear…fear that people like “us” will not come out on top. Fear that causes us to facilitate the eradication of any threat to our beliefs. Is my own belief so weak that the belief of others is a threat?  We saw this before in Nazi Germany but it was more about purity of race than faith.

god-alone-knows-how-great-it-is-all-i-hope-is-that-it-is-not-too-late-i-am-very-much-afraid-that-it-quote-1

Somehow I am not sure that humanity should expect to survive forever. We will either annihilate ourselves or the earth we have raped will do it for us. After all, maybe we are not meant to last forever. We seem to be too flawed.

I worry about my grandchildren and great grandson. What sort of world are we leaving for those to come? If only we could learn the kind of interaction that most major religious leaders have taught. I hope it is not too late.

Who is responsible?

work-quotes-loyaltySometimes I worry about where society is headed. It seems that we have moved in the direction of everything being acceptable. Most everyone is focused on themselves. We have lost the idea of being “our brother’s keeper.” In fact that phrase is most often used in a negative way.

Our government is a perfect example. Each party is only concerned with forwarding their own objective. There is no concern about right and wrong. There is no concern for the people who elected them. The only concern is for “what it can do for me?”

This is not the only place where we see this thinking. Shifts in parenting styles have led to many children feeling entitled. Again a “me first” modality.

Religion has also taken a hit with leaders who have profited from the people to the point of absurdity. There is little trust in “religion” and so many young people see it as an unnecessary idea. They can only see established churches as a home for hypocrites. For them, most churches exist to perpetuate themselves and not for real ministry to the outcasts and needy. It is hard for them to see that churches are formed by people and people are not perfect.

billy-graham-dont-be-swayed-by-the-false-values-quote-on-storemypic-0526e

Media has made us numb to entertainment and we seek more radical spectacles to keep our interest. It takes us back to Rome and the horrors of the Colosseum. When we have “seen everything” more is required for satiation.

Those of us whose view is different may be ridiculed for our thinking but we persist. Somehow we have to learn that not only are we responsible for each other but for everything that exists on the earth. If we don’t wake up we won’t be here. God didn’t guarantee that mankind would last forever.