Reflections on Veterans Day

One of my duties as Music Associate at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, AL, is to play the organ for the annual Veterans Day service. The first of these for me was one year ago. The one part of the service that really struck me was the reading of the names of all U.S. military personnel who had died in all wars during the past year. A staggering 336 names were printed in the program and read, amidst the background of a snare drum roll, with the ominous boom of a bass drum after each name. With each boom of that drum, a penetrating, sinking feeling came over me as I thought of how the loss of that one life impacted so many loved ones. It was the longest part of the service, and it went on and on, for some 45 or 50 minutes.

Democrats go after free trade on campaign trail

The mid-term election is less than two months away, Democrats are expected to take heavy losses in Congress, so what do they do? Launch dishonest attacks on free trade, one of our most basic liberties:

Democrats seeking to regain footing among middle-class voters are putting trade anxiety at the forefront of new campaign messages, challenging free-trade deals backed by the White House and linking Republicans to corporate outsourcing.

The new strategy comes as President Barack Obama is walking a fine line on the trade issue. Mr. Obama is pushing to sign a revised trade deal with South Korea by mid-November—a week after Election Day. At the same time, the White House is rallying unions and other core Democrats with calls to curb companies’ abilities to shift jobs overseas.

In southern Virginia, embattled Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello has put his opposition to the Korea deal and outsourcing at the center of his re-election pitch. In his manufacturing-heavy district in Illinois, Democratic Rep. Phil Hare attacks Washington for easing trade ties with China.

Both men, like several colleagues across the country, have begun airing television ads attacking their GOP challengers for supporting outsourcing.

Mr. Perriello’s new ad depicts a dark-suited U.S. businessman standing in front of an Asian factory, thanking the Republican challenger, state Sen. Robert Hurt, for “protecting the tax loophole that gives a company like ours a kickback for sending jobs overseas.”

Mr. Hare’s spot shows a picture of his GOP challenger, Bobby Schilling, alongside the image of an Asian woman wearing a head set—an apparent reference to an Asian call center.

Reflections on Memorial Day

I write this on May 24, the eve of Memorial Day, the day set aside to commemorate Americans who have died while in military service. This day was originally created (the first commemoration was May 30, 1868) to honor Union soldiers of the War Between the States, and was later expanded after World War I to include all those who have died in military service. Typically, commemorations can be expected to include much in the way of what is considered “patriotic” music (more accurately described as nationalistic), along with tributes themed along the lines of thanking those “who fight for our freedoms.” This spills over into Sunday services of many churches around the nation, when the emphasis temporarily focuses away from the praise of God and the proclamation of the Gospel, towards one of military service and national greatness.

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