Sunday, September 13, 2015

Honoring 9/11 victims

Mississippi State Senator Will Longwitze (R-Xanadu) delivered the following homily for the 14th annual September 11th memorial service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson. The text of Sen. Longwitz’s remarks are included below:


I like Proverbs. There. I said it. The Book of Proverbs lives in the long shadow of the poetry and music of the Psalms. But if you go to Proverbs, you can find some pretty beautiful images there, too.

And in Proverbs 25:11, there is one image that I love. You’ve probably heard it before: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Now, that’s a lovely image on its face, even in translation – a pristine pile of apples all radiant in a gleaming silver bowl. Now, King Solomon was probably not referring to an apple at all – It was probably something a little more Middle Eastern like an apricot or some other similar piece of produce that actually is yellow. But the color or the type of fruit is not the point.

The point is, as one commentator has put it, that the “Word fitly spoken” is the fruit set off by the circumstances around it – here, the silver bowl . . . and the fruit’s beauty is enhanced by the vessel which contains it.” Now that’s well said, Let’s read it again: “The word is the fruit set off by its circumstances . . . and [the beauty of the fruit] is enhanced by the vessel which contains it.”

The produce made richer by the quality of its container. And the word is just right for the circumstances. Now, isn’t that a nice image?

But I do have some other people to vouch for today’s verse from Proverbs. Miss Eudora Welty liked our image so much she named her best book of short stories after it. And she’s not the only one.

President Lincoln liked the image of the fruit, too. Lincoln wrote that his golden apples were the principle of “Liberty to all people . . . the primary cause of [America’s] great prosperity.” And to Lincoln, the Union and the Constitution were the “tray of silver,” and our Founding Fathers created the Union and the Constitution to frame, adorn and preserve the great principle of human Liberty.

And that powerful combination – “Liberty plus a framework to protect it” had to be preserved – at any cost. This was Lincoln’s great contribution to American political thought: The framework of Union & Constitution had to be protected, however much blood and suffering had to be paid to keep them, and to keep the precious fruit of Liberty safe. Because if Liberty were ever lost to America, it was lost to the entire world.

____________________

In our own beloved Mississippi, we have just been steeped in the remembrance of the ten years since Hurricane Katrina struck. Having just passed that anniversary of America’s greatest natural disaster, we cannot avoid thinking about it on this day when we remember so much courage and so much sacrifice that so many made to protect our nation.

Shortly after Katrina hit, we all saw things we remember. And of all the examples of bravery and selfless courage I saw, one sticks out.

I saw video footage of hundreds of people standing in line. They weren’t waiting for tents or for housing or even for food. They were simply waiting in line for ice – that most basic and essential commodity at the time. They were desperate but patient, hoping to get some ice to keep what little food they had through the night until the next day.

A woman was standing in the line. And she finally got two bags of ice for her and her family. She gets the ice, she pauses. Then she looks down at the bags and you can see her say: “Can I have some more?” Because she needed it, badly. And the relief worker says, apparently, something like: “Everybody just gets two.”

And here’s the important part to me: The woman didn’t argue. She didn’t complain. She didn’t scream. She didn’t cry. She didn’t stamp her feet and say how bad off she was. She simply responded, without hesitating: “Oh. Okay.” And she started walking back to her family with two bags of ice melting in the heat.

Now, that was a small moment in a very big disaster. But that was the kind of reaction that showed Mississippi was special. In the circumstance of that natural disaster we showed the whole world who Mississippi really is. We showed them the beauty and the bounty of our character. And if you were visiting here volunteering or if you were just a person standing and looking around during that time, you saw our courage and our resilience on display. Hurricane Katrina was the circumstance that set off just how special we really are.

____________________________

On that shocking and now surreal-feeling September 11th day, 14 years ago, when the Twin Towers fell, when the Pentagon was burning, when patriots forced a plane to the ground rather than let lunatics succeed with their demented plan, all of us watched as unimaginable things happened right here in our own country.

And in the response, and in the fights that have followed in years since that day, our friends & family, our young men & women have stood up the face of these mortal threats. They have volunteered again and again, placing their bodies and their souls – their literal lives, their actual vital limbs and their mental health – between us and our safety here & facing that dreadful harm again. They have put themselves between us and it. And we can never put into adequate words our gratitude to them for the sacrifices they have made for us and for our safety.

In the face of disaster – whether natural and overwhelming or man-made and ongoing – our soldiers, our first-responders, the men and women in our state’s National Guard & our other volunteers, have all stood up to do their work for us.

And it’s not just the traditional saying that “crisis brings out character.” That’s true. But I mean that our soldiers and our first responders are the very frame that surrounds us. They protect us, and they make it possible for us to be the exceptional nation we are. They make it possible for us to be the exceptional people that this chaotic world counts on America to be. They surround us and that allow us to be great.

Whatever our shortcomings and imperfections, America is great. We – perhaps alone among nations – still stand up for a great ideal. And that ideal, in my own imperfect expression, is that human Liberty Matters. And, Thank God, we have fellow citizens with both the strength and the courage to stand up, to surround us and to protect us when America – and by extension Liberty itself – are under attack.

They stand up for us. They allow us to be great. And we can never, ever thank them enough for it.

_______________________________

So how do we honor those who have fallen and those who serve?

In the face of a world full of death, chaos and fear, we can choose courage, strength, resilience and life, just as we always have.

So let us pray today for the strength always to be exceptional. Let us pray today for the wisdom to know that Freedom and Liberty are worth protecting. Let us pray for the fortitude to see others as our brothers and sisters first, and as different from us last. Let us pray for the faith to choose any solution before resorting to violence and war, but let us also pray never to shrink from that fight when it is necessary to protect our lives and to defend freedom.

Let us pray for the capacity to love and serve others before ourselves.

And let us always, always lift up the families of those in uniform and of our fallen heroes, that we may honor their sacrifice that they have made for us so that we may live free.

For it is in Christ’s holy name we pray. Amen.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very fine Will. 9/11 is a day to recall survival of our nation's values in the face adversity.

Anonymous said...

Mighty damned slow weekend for Cajun Jambalaya.

Anonymous said...

Talk about low hanging fruit.

NOT KF F Wad said...

Mighty damned slow weekend for Cajun Jambalaya.

The Sole Proprietor is entitled to some breathing room piss ant.

Anonymous said...

5:11 and 6:16, Would do you some good to actually read this beautiful piece. What nasty souls you sound like. You don't like it unless someone is being torn down. Thank you, Senator, and thank you, Kingfish for posting something positive.

Anonymous said...

Good read and good job by Will.

Especially refreshing to hear a republican speak without once mentioning Obama, Pelosi, Hillary or other reich wing buzz words.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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