Re: Calling all Pax Centurion "weavers" around the world!

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Posted by Penny on May 29, 1999 at 17:54:42:

In Reply to: Calling all Pax Centurion "weavers" around the world! posted by Penny on May 25, 1999 at 22:10:08:

I am for a Memorial Day which truly memorializes!

When I was a kid I remember that every Memorial Day at 11:00 a.m.
(or was it 12:00?) all of the town's whistles tooted and the church bells rang. Everyone stopped whatever they were doing to remember and honor those who had died defending America.

As my Navy Commander father had returned safely from World War Two
I was always especially grateful for, and mindful of that fact, during the memorialized silence. Then next I always remembered the story my Grandmother had told me so many times when I was a child.

During the Civil War my Great Grandfather, William Friedrich Hineman, from Findlay Ohio, served as a Union soldier in the Civil War. He was in his early twenties when his troops wound up in the infamously fierce "Battle of Stone's River" in Murfreesboro Tennessee. It was New Years Eve 1864, snowing and bitterly cold.

During that black night a single bullet tore through William's thin Union jacket, cleanly piercing his lung and exiting at his back. He dropped
to the ground bleeding profusely and unconscious, among the many many dead soldiers piled around him in that freezing dark night.

The New Year's early morning light filtered softly across the snowy battle field as a southern couple from that area moved slowly through the many torn bodies. Somehow they came upon my Great Grandfather
and found that he was still alive, although barely.

Working together they managed to get him to their farm house in their wagon, where they then tended to his serious wounds. In actual fact my Union soldier Great Grandfather stayed with this southern couple in their farm house for several months until he was strong enough to return to Ohio, his Union jacket with its two holes returning with him!

Soon after his return to Ohio he married my Great Grandmother and they later had seven children (including twins). My own Grandfather was the last child. Many years later my Great Grandfather, William, died of complications related to that old Civil War injury to his lung.

When I was a young woman in my early twenties my grandparents gave me this historical bullet-torn coat. That coat always served as my teacher as I grappled with the horrors of war. If that Southern couple
had not saved my Union ancestor he would have never married and
had children, the last of whom was my direct antecedent!

I, in fact, therefore owe my very own life to the kindness of those unknown strangers whose morality was deeper than the symbol of an enemy flag, wider than a battlefield, and higher than any gun could
ever shoot.

Every Memorial Day I honor both those who have died fighting for our freedom, as well as for those whose code of ethics works hard to preserve the peace. I do not think in the black and white terms of "Peace at any price" but rather "Where there's a Will there's a way".

Today that old coat lies tattered and torn in a chest at the foot of our bed, moth holes and bullet holes all running together, except for my Grandmother's identifying red stitching around one particular hole on the front and one in the back.

Yes, "I remember" on Memorial Day.
Penny McManigal
May 1997
P.S. Menorial Day1998

I wrote the little memory for Memorial Day in 1997 and then later was surprised and touched to receive the following post from someone whose family has lived in Murfreesboro for generations, reminding me once again of the profound innerconnectedness we all share on our planet today!
(she wrote to me, saying:)

My family---(last name) Brothers--came from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Don't know how big Murfreesboro was at the time, but I have a feeling relatives of mine probably knew the family that took in your (great) grandfather. (I do hope it wasn't my great-great uncle White Brothers, who shot your (great) grandfather---he too was wounded, on the Confederate side.) Could even be the same family if they had gone out looking for White. (B. J. B.)
On Memorial Day in 1998 I also wrote:

Now in 1998, as we rejoice in the recent accomplishments of Ireland in seeking positive peaceful solutions to their decades of animosities, and as Indonesia, Israel, Palestine, India, Pakistan and the U.S.A. (among too many others with similar problems) talk about getting to peacefulness (without yet finding adequate results) we are also faced with having to include horrifying new stories of CHILDREN who have so violently taken the lives of others. I add my ferverent prayers on this Memorial Weekend for finding the way to a true "Peace For Our Children".

I believe that we will only begin to find the answers to "peace within, peace between, and peace among" (V. Satir) when we will listen to the wisdom of our hearts, thinking not only of ourselves and getting what
we want, but thinking AND feeling about a possible brighter future for our childrens' childrens' children!

Love and heart,
Penny McManigal
May 1998
for Memorial Day 1999

It is now1999 and we clearly haven't found that "Peace within, Peace between and Peace among" on our planet. When will we learn? How can it be that we spend so much of our collective Life Energies on our Past Histories?

Can it ever happen that we will turn our time, energy, money and talents to our shared FUTURE instead?

One of those interesting "weaves" in Life is about to happen to me in September when I travel on a Peace Pilgrimage to Russia, joining other peace-seeking Americans and Russians by participating in a 6 day joint conference on "Myth and Symbol". In signing up for this event I have just learned that the woman who wrote to me in 1998 of her Confederate Army ancestor having also been in "The Battle of Stone's River" in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1865 will be attending this conference! We have never met.

I anticipate that while at this conference I will be telling this story of the great humanity shown in the midst of that Civil War as a symbol which has become a lasting and living legacy to my family.

Penny McManigal
May 1999

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