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Here’s To Those Who Serve(d) November 11, 2020

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Uncategorized.

“Compassion. Respect. Common Sense.”

– Retired Marine Staff Sergeant Time Chambers (a.k.a The Saluting Marine) when asked what he wanted to inspire in people who see him standing/saluting

At “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,” Paris time, 1918, all was quiet on the Western Front. At least in theory, it wasn’t as neat and tidy as it sounds; however, there was an official cease fire, an armistice that was scheduled to last 30 days. It was, for all intensive purposes, the end of World War II. Exactly a year later, Buckingham Palace hosted the first official Armistice Day event in England – and, thanks to the suggestion of South African author and politician Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, people around Europe began observing two minutes of silence in honor of those who had died during the war and those who were left behind.

The practice of observing two minutes of silence (in honor of people lost during conflict) had started as a daily practice in Cape Town, South Africa beginning in the spring of 1918. Today, those two minutes are one of the rituals shared by people who are observing Armistice Day (in the Britain and the Commonwealth, France, Belgium, and Poland) and Veterans Day (in the USA and Canada). These observations are sometimes, like in the case of England, focused on those who served and were impacted by World War I. However, in the United States and Canada it is a day to honor all veterans and their families. (The UK, USA, and Canada all have separate days to honor those who died while serving in any military conflict.)

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them”

– “Ode of Remembrance” quoted from the poem “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon, published September 1914 (in honor of the casualties of the British Expeditionary Force in the opening action of the war on the Western Front, WWI)

We have so many rituals and traditions around remembering those who were lost during conflict and tragedy. But, consider how we honor the living – those who return with wounds we can see, as well as wounds we cannot. Because today is a day, in the United States, when we remember all those who served – living and dead – it is a good time to really consider the experiences and challenges of those who return home different from the way they left.

During Movember classes, I talk about mental health and the fact that middle aged white men make up the highest percentage of suicides in America. Add to that, the increase in the percentages when someone has served in the military. Every 72 minutes, a veteran or active service member takes their own life; that works out to ~17 – 20 people a day or ~140 a week. These numbers do not include people who attempt suicide or consider it.

As I’ve pointed out before, we must keep in mind, that there are a lot of different things people feel when they consider suicide. It’s emotional. There are, also, a lot of different things that pull people back away from the edge. It’s personal. Some people may not want to talk about the details of their service and the things that they experienced. They may, however, want to talk about something else. We can honor them by listening.

Please join me today (Wednesday, November 11th) at 4:30 PM or 7:15 PM for a yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You will need to register for the 7:15 PM class if you have not already done so. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Wednesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify.

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

If you are thinking about suicide, worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, you can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also call the TALK line if you are struggling with addiction or involved in an abusive relationship. The Lifeline network is free, confidential, and available to all 24/7. YOU CAN TALK ABOUT ANYTHING.



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