From the Master of Kadosh (October, 2009)

posted May 16, 2015, 6:55 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 16, 2015, 6:56 PM ]


On Saturday, August 29, I joined several members of my Blue Lodge on a trip to see the musical Wicked at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco. We had a great time. After the show, my wife and I had dinner with her mother in a local restaurant. Since she had taken BART into town, so we drove her back to the Lafayette BART station where her car was parked.
As you may be aware, next to the Lafayette BART station is the Lafayette Hillside Memorial, on a hill owned by Louise Clark. Mrs. Clark posts a cross for each service member killed in the Iraq war and maintains a sign with the running death count. I had seen the hill several times on the news but never in person. Suddenly, there is was... kind of a shock, actually. We had come from a happy social event. Suddenly, it seemed like we were at a national cemetery, although nobody is buried on the hillside.
Naturally, we started talking about the striking number of crosses, stars of David, crescents, and Dharma wheels; representing American service members of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist faiths, respectively, who lost their lives in defending our country and freedom. I thought about the comments I sometimes hear claiming that "America is a Christian nation," and "All Muslims are terrorists." Just my opinion, but I think people who feel that way should take a BART ride up to the Lafayette Hillside Memorial. After they take a good look around, maybe they won't have such a limited view of America and their fellow Americans.
Near the top of the hill is the sign with the current count. That day is was 5,095. Again, just my opinion, but numbers are just numbers until it represents your son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister, husband or wife, best friend or co-worker. Then it becomes real. So the count is 5,095 real people, loved and forever missed by family and friends. And hopefully appreciated by folks like you and me.
Contemplating the Hillside Memorial, I am reminded of a pair of quotes from General Douglas MacArthur, the distinguished Army Officer and Freemason, on the subject of military service:  "The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."
Today, we have a much larger number of female soldiers than in MacArthur's time, so the pronoun "he" also means "she". And, "Only the dead have seen the end of war."
MacArthur attributed the latter quotation to the Greek philosopher Plato. However that statement does not appear in any of Plato's known works. This quote might actually be original to MacArthur himself.
It seems to me that we ought to remember the sacrifices made for us, join our service people in praying for peace, and take every action to create a world in which peace is the only form of conduct.

Daniel Doornbos - Master of Kadosh