MY POINT OF VIEW – Labor Day: It gives us another needed break

Norman Rockwell’s painting of Rosie the Riveter in 1943.

by Gary Kennedy

Well, we have one of those long weekends arriving soon. It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by so rapidly. Covid coupled with stress and turmoil seems to have played a role in the rapidity in which time has flown. When you become a senior that doesn’t play out as a good thing. There comes a time in all of our lives when things need to slow down. Unfortunately, we have very little control over that.

Labor Day is celebrated on Monday, September 5, which allows many of us another needed break from the hazardous toils of employment. We might love our job but it sure is great to have a little free time to share with family and friends. It gives us a little extra time to share with our retrospective glasses which acts as a guide into the future. My family and I enjoy the holiday as we can reminisce and pull the past forward, thus allowing us conscientious purpose for the future.

When it is my time to tout the past the first thing that comes to mind is Rosie the Riveter. The holiday itself pays tribute to the conditions and achievements of the American worker. This holiday was created by the labor movement in the 19th century. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, by then President Grover Cleveland. Labor Day carried some soon to be historically important people as well as some outlandish rules.

Rosie Riveter

I mentioned Rosie the Riveter who became America’s sweetheart because of her principals, attire and ethical demeanor. Rosie is one of my favorite historical figures as she represented the work ethic of Americans. She symbolized the ability of women to fill any void in support of their spouse and country. Whenever there was a shortage of help in the labor force women such as Rosie stepped up to fill the void. (America’s Pride) I always mention her during any labor shortage for whatever reason, especially war. I think of her on Memorial Day as well as Labor Day. I hope my annual effort serves to motivate the young ones who didn’t know her, to look her up and become familiar with the kind of person she was and what she stood for.

I mentioned outlandish rules; one of which was you shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day unless you were rich and could afford to vacation at all seasons. Many people actually adhered to that rule. However, after a time most people felt it was hog wash and dismissed it from the things not to do.

There were a couple of ladies who claimed to be the real Rosie the Riveter but I think the most accepted was Naomi Parker Fraley who passed away in 2018, at age 96. Dr. James J. Kimble, of the University of New Jersey, Professor of Communications, was the researcher that finally got it right. The most memorable thing Rosie ever said was shortly before her death and upon it being confirmed that she was in fact the real Rosie the Riveter, “The women of this country these days need some icons, if they think I’m one, I’m happy.” Rosie is one of my heroes, yet despite her success, Rosie was forced off the factory floor when the war ended. Her achievements are buried in books and all her accomplishments wiped out of our conscious. She proved what a woman could do in the labor force, especially in the hour of need. Thanks to historian researches in search of detail and truth we were able to receive her true unredacted story.

So while you are enjoying your family and friends on this extended weekend think about how we achieved what we have and who we are today. There are many Labor Day stories; I am only sharing one with all of my friends out there. Labor Day emphasizes work ethic of which there are many examples even in our own families. Look around and you will see where you got it from. I and all my friends here at The Town Line wish you a happy and safe holiday. May the one that you pray to bless and watch over you and yours. God Bless.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

MY POINT OF VIEW: A lesson learned

Doctor Jose Rizal

by Gary Kennedy

I am not only a Rotarian but also a Knight of Rizal. I believe the most beautiful love story is the life and loves of Doctor Jose Rizal. Jose Rizal was born in the very beautiful hamlet of Calamba Laguna, Philippines on June 19th 1861. He died at dawns early light on December 30, 1896, at the hands of a Spanish firing squad. He was only 35 years old.

Dr. Rizal was a brilliant young optometrist whose most memorable surgery was that of the one performed on his own mother. She was blinded by cataracts. The surgery was successful. He loved his entire family as well as friends, unconditionally and spent his very short life trying to increase their lot, especially their equality in all forms to other races. He was one of the greatest humanitarians that God ever allowed to draw breath. His philosophy was not self centered or based on greed but to have the world recognize that all men were created equal and should have the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (Sound familiar?) This included the realization that we were all born in the likeness of God as well as with the ability to think and to develop those abilities into meaningful products or venues.

Dr. Rizal was a brilliant doctor but also the master of many languages and skills. The list of his abilities is far greater than that of anyone I have ever known. His format was for the world to see Filipinos as a race of people equal to the best of what the world had to offer. Time is proving him to be correct. He surrounded himself with other scholars who shared his belief not only for Dr. Rizal’s race but that of others. The USA has many clubs nationally.

Dr. Rizal was raised under Spanish rule and he loved and respected Spain. He devoted his life trying to show Spain of his loyalty and respect and only asked for acceptance, as a child would his parents. For most of his beautiful life he sought Spain’s acceptance and its acceptance of equality and family. However, there were those who were jealous of him and wanted to see his beliefs along with its followers destroyed. When I read about this brilliant God fearing man I can’t help but think of the beautiful song that was written for Vincent Van Gogh, Starry, Starry Night. If you listen to the words they would parallel Dr. Rizal’s life.

I have read what has been made available to me about this man who some believe to be saint like. I am no expert on that but I certainly can see why some would hold him in the highest of esteem. Since I joined this group of followers in 2003, a day doesn’t seem to go by that his presence doesn’t cross my mind. I have often found myself day dreaming from conjured up memories of events in his life that have stuck with me from that which I have read, from books, essays, poems and articles which lead me down many paths. Dr. Rizal is one of those characters of life that leaves you with a lasting impression and many memories of which the human mind puts in its playground.

During one of the Cuban conflicts the Americans defeated Spain and took possession of the Philippine Islands. Under American rule, and becoming a USA territory, there was good and bad but change did come and over time Filipinos would fight alongside of the Americans, and to this day the American military has a large number of Filipino soldiers. They serve with great skill and integrity. They are also the largest alien population in Maine.

The Philippines ended up with the respect they so sorely deserved and education became mandatory. Although the Philippines is not yet a rich country or at least the people for the most part aren’t, it is well on its way. Dr. Rizal from the top of Mt. Makiling can say, “now the world can see that my people are as intelligent and gifted as any of this world”. I think the histories of America and the Philippines are very similar, as an intelligent God fearing nation which is still in the growth stage. There are those of other countries that have the same desire for superiority and greed as Spain once did. There is good and bad everywhere.

Beware of the little dog as he can reach places that others cannot and that is a serious under estimate of situations. Dr. Rizal and the lessons he left us with will be remembered and honed into tools of success. As I write these words these things are happening. Love of God and family are very powerful tools of which to build for. If you don’t love God and respect the rights of others to exist you have no foundation. There is no purpose to your life besides self fulfillment coupled with greed. On December 30, Jose Rizal willingly gave his life in order to lay down an example.

It was the leaders of the church and another country that took this beautiful man’s life of which he allowed for all to see. There were many tears shed then and there are still more now. Foot prints such as those are very hard to fill and very few in history have. In the end Dr. Rizal didn’t ask for any earthly reward. He just wanted to set an example. His only request was to the Spanish, who were about to take his life as the sun was rising on beautiful Manila Bay, “please let me face the sun as it is rising”. However, the world of 1896 seemed to have little or no heart. His final request was refused. The friars of the time wanted him to be shot in the back.

Dr. Rizal, while in a prison cell, prepared for this answer and planned his last moment on this earth. He would place his feet, weight and body so as when the volley of lead balls were to strike his back his body weight would compensate allowing his hat and body to meet the earth face up. Also some say a dog circled his body howling. The dog was identical to a dog that Rizal loved. Some believe it was the spirit of a dear friend. I guess I will have to wait to find out. Dr. Rizal wrote several books, the most famous of these were Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. There are many essays, poems and various manuscripts. All that you can find is well worth the reading. Also a complete history of Dr. Rizal is available. In my opinion he was one the most remarkable men in the history of the world. I am a member of the Knights of Rizal and would love to see a branch started here in the pristine state of Maine.

We are in some very precarious times right now. History has left us with so much information and so many doorways in which to unlock. I chose to share this very short story of a very big man during this time as his work, beliefs and philosophy have love as its foundation. God bless and may your decisions be based on the heart. It is a tablet for the one we hold most dear and will face in its time. If you would like to know more about this great human being, let me know and I will write more. It’s world history and available.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Freedom faces ongoing struggles

by Gary Kennedy

FREEDOM is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants, without hindrance or restraint. Also, the absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government. Also, freedom is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. Freedom is traditionally understood as independence of the arbitrary will of someone else. Freedom can be defined in a great number of ways.

I have been putting pen to this very topic for years for The Town Line newspaper. Every year I think there is no more I can write but as I am an ardent reader I find a life time full of what could be defined as freedoms. However, it comes to mind that the readers of my articles are now many. We have a tremendously diverse community, many of which are unfamiliar with our country and its freedoms and what they mean to us. A good example would be the Philippine population is the largest minority in Maine, followed by the Somali immigration. That being said, I could go back to the first article I wrote 20 years ago because it was a reminder and a teaching, too.

During a recent survey of what the Fourth of July depicted, some of the responses were off the wall. So every year I feel we must remind all people what this holiday is, in fact, all about. It might appear on an immigration test. The first part of my narrative defines basic freedom but says nothing about how it came about, nor does it discuss the ongoing struggle we face and sometimes take for granted.

Eugene Delacroix did the great work La Liberte. It is a beautiful work of art but symbolic. Lincoln never stood in the fray of battle as depicted in the work. However, the battle for freedom for the most part could have looked a lot like the art. John Trumbull’s Depiction of the 4th in 1818 is fantastic also, John was also a veteran.

The birth of American Independence was actually voted on July 2, but the holiday was to be celebrated on the fourth. The Declaration of Independence was adopted by our Continental Congress, for the most part written by Thomas Jefferson. America was born, at least on paper. The 13 original colonies served their political ties to Great Britain.

We here in Maine take a lot of pride in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet from Portland, who wrote such works as Paul Revere’s Ride and the song of Hiawatha and Evangeline, to name just a couple. There is a statue of him in Congress Square, in Portland.

Long story short, the Revolutionary War was fought against Great Britain. The war began on April 19, 1775, and lasted to September 3, 1783. The turning point in the war was considered to be the battle of Saratoga. The war encompassed 165 battles with 291,557 American deaths and 671,846 wounded. It is estimated that the British suffered only 25,000 casualties. The French were our allies and they lost a couple of million souls. The French also gave us the Statue of Liberty in 1885. It took from 1875 to 1884 to build. History has shown France to be a great friend and ally. However, the politics of today shows us different pictures of friends and allies. Sad but the world is not in a very good place right now.

All that being said we need to strive once again for a better world, where all can live in Freedom and Peace. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July my friends. Share what you have with those in need. Be very careful with the fireworks. Make this a time of thoughtfulness and reflection. Save a special prayer for those who are suffering in other countries and fighting for the independence that we hold dear. May they also celebrate freedom one day. Happy Fourth and God bless.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Let’s not ever forget the importance of D-Day

by Gary Kennedy

June 6, 1944, five naval assault divisions landed on the shores of Normandy, France. An assault of this magnitude has never been seen in the history of mankind. The landings sites were given code names, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. The operation itself was given the code name, Operation Overlord. There were 7,000 ships with landing craft manned by over 195,000 naval personnel from the eight allied countries. England, Canada and the USA supplied more than 133,000 troops. During this landing 10,300 troops were casualties of war. By the end of June more than 850,000 men and 570,000 tons of supplies and equipment were involved. Also 148,000 vehicles were used.

Allied forces held the western front and the Russians held the Eastern front. All of Europe was involved. This would be the one time in history that all of Europe was united, and race, ethnicity, color went unnoticed. For me it seems so strange that we are united in war but divided in peace. We should have learned something given this great unity.

There are many brave men and women buried on foreign soil. Although this is sad the burial sites are very well maintained, respected and protected. On May 7, 1945, German General Alfred Jodi signed an unconditional surrender at Reims, France. The President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt, on a hand written note, gave total authority for Operation Overlord to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who would eventually become president of the United States.

World War II actually began on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. This horrific war lasted until September 2, 1945; claiming hundreds of thousands lives. Two days later September 3, France and Britain declared war on Germany in defense of Poland. World War II became a global war with Japan and Italy joining Germany and the United States eventually joining when things became tough for the now known allies. Democracy and freedom was the theme and the avoidance of world dominance by an evil dictator, Adolf Hitler. However, if it hadn’t been for the USA we would be looking at a different world today.

So as you can see by going back in history D-Day and Normandy became famous dates, places and events. Once again we must remember our veterans, especially those who gave it all. The greatest sacrifice given for God, country and family is one’s life. I don’t believe any soldier, land, sea or air ever intended to die but were prepared to do so if it became necessary. Older Americans have a family member in their past who perished because of events such as D-Day and its aftermath.

Currently we and the world are on very shaky ground and very close to world conflict, again, yet many of our leaders aren’t paying attention. Some of us see, remember and worry when we see what is happening in our country and around the world. When you start to count your allies it’s time to worry and pay attention to the big picture. If world peace is disrupted again can you count on those around you? Does everyone truly love these United States? Keep freedom in your sights on this D-Day and freedom in your heart. May the good Lord bless and keep you and yours safe and free from another D-Day. God bless America.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Mother’s Day manifests itself in different ways to different people

by Gary Kennedy

Do I need to ask what does Mother’s Day mean? It manifests itself in different ways to different people. For some of us every day is Mother’s Day as we love her so very much. However, others need to be reminded that one’s mother is a very special person. You were born on a foundation of love between two people, mother and father. That is why we set a special day aside just for them; to fortify our relationship and to outwardly express our feelings for them. Some­times it’s great to hear it in a ceremonious manner. This carries the magnitude of this relationship to a somewhat formal level and puts that glow into the relationship.

Mother carried you for nine months and even though she did this with love, sometimes it was difficult. Even so, the result was you and the title Mother came to be for her. Along with this comes copious amounts of laundry, thoughtful preparation for school and sports events. She also laid the foundation for your education and morality. She even made church fun by encouraging you to attend the church events for young people. This helped with building morality and character.

Most of us don’t really realize all that goes into acquiring one of the most glorious titles on earth. God created the Earth and also Adam. I guess most of us are aware of that. God saw that Adam was lonely so he decided to create Eve. As most of us know this cost Adam a rib but I’m relatively sure God was gentle in this extraction. God’s plan was not to only quench Adam’s need for the companionship but for allowing a pathway for procreation. And so it began. Eve became the mother of 28 children although the Bible mostly centers around Cain, Abel and Seth. Geneticists, by tracing the DNA patterns, found through lineages decendents from 10 sons with genetic material from Adam and 18 daughters from Eve’s genetics. There certainly was lots of motherhood there.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in 50 countries worldwide. Some or most use a different day than we do but they obviously remain the same. The entire world loves their mothers but just go about it in different ways. Our date for Mother’s Day is synonymous with Julie Ward Howe who wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 which she wrote condemning the senselessness of sons killing the sons of other mothers. Her persistence paid off as President Woodrow Wilson signed into law, Mather’s Day to be held on the second Sunday of May, in 1914. Anna Jarvis is given first credit for their holiday and its reason; war and the killing of our sons.

Women played such a dynamic role in the development of our great nation and nations throughout the world. Women especially, and mothers in particular, have played formidable roles in our history and that of the world. Most women are smart enough to not go near an apple tree, figuratively speaking. The Bible has many examples of Motherhood and in many different situations. Being a mother is the hardest job you will ever love. Times are hard right now but not so hard as to forget about our mothers. April showers brings May Flowers. So without a penny in my pocket I know I can pick some flowers to give to the first lady of our lives, Mother.

So, all I can say from my heart is do your best to make this second Sunday in May an event that will last the mother we love until next year at this time. It’s worth doing forever. Thank you Lord for Mother. God bless and have a happy and thankful Mother’s Day.

MY POINT OF VIEW: The real meaning of Easter; make Peter Cottontail second

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

by Gary Kennedy

Here comes Peter Cotton Tail hopping down the bunny trail once again. It seems he is very punctual as he seems to appear to the children first with copious amounts of colored candy. My favorite was always the yellow coconut covered marshmallow rabbits closely followed up by the chocolate bunnies of the same configuration.

When I was five or six, perhaps even a little older I would love to go on the Easter egg hunts which carried a prize with each discovery. I never won big but I certainly got my share. It seems many holidays have something to do with a fantasy and something sweet or at least good food with great friends and family. It is an age old tradition which is enchanting and lots of fun for the participants as well as the observers. (Mom, Dad, grandparents and just older friends).

I believe this is a good thing as long as we teach and observe the true meaning of this fun-filled holiday with the most precious of us, our children. We all want them to grow properly with love in their hearts and respect for all of the human race. The best way I know of is instilling a moral structure based on faith for their lives in the here and now and for what comes in the hereafter.

There is such a wonderful feeling in knowing that even though our time here is short, if we conduct ourselves in a righteous way we will find another life which is more beautiful and eternal. I personally have given this a lot of thought and have come to the conclusion; what do I have to lose? All it really requires is living a good and respectful life and having the realization that there is a greater power out there that has created a beautiful place for us to grow with each other, and to respect diversity within the guidelines of our love of he who gave his life to open the door and make it all possible. It’s the right thing to do so why not live a harmonious life with God the father and Jesus the son.

The Bible has never asked too much or given any task that can’t be easily accomplished. At the same time we must respect that there are others who also believe, but in different ways. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I write things knowing full well that there are at least three major schools of thought on this matter but all three include God. So use this holiday as you wish but Jesus was in all three. All agree he was a man of God. Some know of him but don’t believe in his biblical position with God. I believe that irrespective of how you interpret the word of God you should respect the other point of view. The Bible fortifies itself. If you look at Luke 10:27, Mathew 22:37, Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Mark 12:30. The Deuteronomy version is my favorite as it tells us to love the lord with all our heart, soul and strength. It tells us to love our neighbor. These Gospels tell us to include the children and it’s all about “love”.

If our guidance is true and good then perhaps our children will reside in a righteous and peace loving world. Today we see pain, suffering and turmoil around us with a world in chaos, which is marked in confusion. My wish for this Easter is to remember the suffering it took to allow us a chance at life. Pray for your neighbor and pray for all those in the world who are suffering. I’m sure you will be reminded on Easter Sunday at the place where you worship. Put God first and Peter Cotton Tail second.

God bless all and have a happy and safe Easter.

MY POINT OF VIEW: St. Patrick was an active missionary in the fifth century

St. Patrick

by Gary Kennedy

The patron saint of my ancestors is St. Patrick. This, of course, is the Emerald Isle, Ireland. This is a magnificently beautiful island. St. Patrick was born in present day Great Britain in the year 385 and died in present day Gaelic Ireland, Northern Island. He was venerated a saint by the Catholic Church. The major shrine attributed to him is Armaugh, in Northern Ireland, Glastonbury Abbey, England. We celebrate St. Patrick on the March 17. St. Patrick is mostly noted for his relationship with the shamrock (father, son, holy, spirit) and driving all the snakes off this Irish island. The exact dates of which St. Patrick performed his deeds and miracles are not known for certain but he was an active missionary during the 5th century. It is also believed he raised the dead. For accuracy sake it is believed his life was late 4th to early 5th century.

Medieval history credits him with being the first Bishop of Alomagh and Primate of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the supposed date of his death. His young life is quite colorful as he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and for approximately six years served as a care taker of the animals, eventually he escaped captivity.

Slavery, as you can see, goes way back in time. During St. Patrick’s time it was all white enslavement. For the most part it was the enslavement of criminals. Fealty was for a period of time with the injured party benefitting. Eventually Christianity grew and the practice of holding co-religionists in bondage was frowned upon. St. Patrick himself was enslaved for a time. The church becoming more and more powerful and transformed the Roman slave system and serfdom began, not much different.

Also, when Bathilde became Queen of the Franks who herself had been enslaved before she married Clovis II, banned the slavery of Christians. Although the name changed, the act of slavery was still being used. So you see in all actuality black slavery came much later. It has only been recently that the African continents became used for the slave trade. The white slaves melted into serfdom and poverty and then came the exploitation of the black race, centuries later. However, for those of you who believed that Black Irish was a racial thing, you were wrong.

The Irish were a fair skinned people with mostly brown hair and blue, green and grey colored eyes. The further north you went the more changes were observed. The Viking races were relatively ruddy compacted with mostly blue-eyed people and we see more and more blonde hair. I have no idea how that happened or how skin colors began. I believe the environment had much to do with it; perhaps the sun impacted skin pigmentation.

The only thing that history tells us regarding the Irish was there was some infiltration of Spanish blood. However, for the most part our blood is basically the same with all the same varying types. I really don’t know St. Patrick’s blood type but I am sure it would be interchangeable with some of us today. The Spanish being world explorers co-mingled their blood in most of the earth.

St. Patrick was Roman born (5th century Romano-British). He is the Patron Saint of Ireland. He brought Christianity to the Picts and Anglo-Saxon’s. Most of the St. Patrick Day feasting, secular culture began here in the United States. I believe we invented corn beef.

Thus came the corned beef that I promised you’d hear more about from last week’s article, Corned Beef, which in the British commonwealth of nations, is a beef brisket cured in large grains as salt called corns of salt; Thus corn beef. The corn beef we use here on St. Patty’s Day will have some sugar and other spices to give it that wonderful flavor we have become so fond of. The basic brisket goes back at least 1,000 years and was used in the celebration. Cabbage and potato were very common in Ireland so we know they were used and perhaps onion and carrots with flat bread. The preferred drink was Guinness beer. The next Day you would have potato cakes with the left overs.

As you can see, the evolution of St. Patrick’s Day is not a great one over these past 1,000 years. Not much has changed, go to church, over eat, and drink Guinness beer. Of course, you have the enjoyment of family and friends. There is much more to know and I will share it with you next time. I might even share my recipes.

God bless all and have a happy and safe St. Patty’s Day.

As always pray for freedom for those currently in the struggle for their freedom and help where you can.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Valentine’s Day usually means sweethearts

St. Valentine

by Gary Kennedy

When we think of Valentine’s Day we think of sweethearts, roses and candies. For most of us it implies love and how we can show it, thus the beauty and the sweets. Some people display this special day in other ways such as, Rose Day, Propose Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day and ends on February 14 as Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s week is the most celebrated love week of the year.

However, St. Valentine’s Day started as a Christian feast day honoring one or two Christian martyrs name Saint Valentine. Biblically speaking we refer to 1st Corinthians 13:4-8, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, and it is not one sided keeps no record of wrongs. (Song of Solomon 8:7), many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him. The trick is to not read anything into the process but to accept it as the greatest gift you shall ever receive, God’s love through his son. Remember, this is a Christian view.

The name Valentine was actually named after a third-century martyr. This holiday has absolutely no roots in or from the Bible even though we can equate appropriate biblical passages from the Bible. In all due respect we must remember that there are many religions which are not Christian. By that I mean there are faiths that don’t believe or worship the same.

To be more explicit some faiths don’t believe in Christ but do believe in God. Christians believe that God has a son and others who parallel the Christian religion believe that Christ was a prophet, but not the son of God. Holy wars have been fought all over our earth for as long as religion has existed.

So it has always been wise to handle Valentine’s Day from a sweetheart/lovers perspective and not a religious one. This problem has gone on for many centuries. I am just giving you a vague other view for our celebrating a holiday which seems to imply religious overtones. So respectfully, let’s keep it as it was originally intended and buy those chocolates and roses for someone that we hold dear. This could be your sweetheart, a close friend in your classroom or even your mother.

For those of you who want more information from the religious point of view, St. Valentine was a Roman priest and physician who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus at about 270. He was buried on the Via Flaminia and Pope Julius I reportedly built a basilica over his grave.

Valentine’s Day is banned in several countries such as Iran, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan and even regions of Russia. This St. Valentine’s Day originated as a Christian Feast Day honoring one or two early Christian martyrs named Valentine. This most likely is how this holiday received connection with religion, especially Christianity. So, I guess we just have to remember the true roots of this sweet love filled holiday is the commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.

As for myself, I probably will head for the florist shop and design a nifty bouquet of flowers and put them together with something sweet, besides myself and present them in some romantic fashion to my loving partner. I being a man of letters and words will probably design a sweet display in card form in order to receive my reward, a hug and a kiss, if I am lucky.

Whatever your choice will be, we here sincerely wish you and your loved ones a very happy Valentine’s Day. Even though some of you may have been mislead by the meaning of this holiday, love is in the air and as we know God is love, so he automatically comes with it. God bless you all and have a very happy and safe Valentine’s Day.

The views of the author in this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Remembering the spirit of Christmas, and its meaning

by Gary Kennedy

This was the time of year most of us looked forward to. School books, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, Christmas bonus, gifts and great food with family and friends. Usually our hearts are full of joy and season feelings such as giving. Most of us don’t pass the guy or gal standing on the corner asking for help. We are afraid that person might be honestly hungry, homeless and/or alone. I have on occasion filled myself with such guilt that I have turned my vehicle around so as to retrace my steps and redo my original path to give that person standing on the corner a gift so as to right the wrong my mind tells me I might have done.

That being done I feel so much better. After all, who am I to judge or ignore that person’s situation. The guilt would probably pass if I had nothing to give. Actually it’s sad to have such feelings initiated because of a seasonal guilt trip. Jesus wasn’t a big fan of birthdays himself. They were usually given in honor of the rich and famous (kings, pharaohs, etc.) Actually, whenever the Bible does show the celebration of birthdays, it was done by people who weren’t following God.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 says the day of death is better than the day of birth. It continues to speak of the importance of mourning rather than celebrating. “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning”. (Ecclesiastes 7:4) It is good to celebrate our love for God any or every day. We as a collective honor God with our love and obedience to the principles he laid out for us. The greatest commandment is to first love God with all your heart, soul and might. By loving others in this entire world, irrespective of race, color or creed we are giving the greatest gift to God on any day as he did for you and the rest of mankind. The greatest gift each and every day is to try and understand your fellow man/woman and show love. It’s a gift that was given to you and it’s yours to understand and use.

Remember Jesus never asked us to celebrate his birth, he commanded us to remember his death. Christmas is actually a Catholic holiday. I don’t mean to demean the intent; I am just saying there are many misconceptions when it comes to the Christmas holiday. If you forget all the tankers laying idle in the harbors off the West and East coasts you might find many broken hearts revolving around material things and also billions in profits that benefit other than the poor and truly faithful.

The greatest gift waiting to be received by us is that of faith and love. You are the reason for the season and when you think about it you will realize it. If those ships laden with Barbie Dolls and electronic toys were to never reach our shore or, in fact, our homes what do we tell the children. There laid a beautiful chance to set the record straight. We can always give our children material things but what the world needs right now is children taught history as it was meant to be. God so loved the world that he gave the most precious gift that could possibly be given, his only son. Times are very trying right now and the salvation of this world rests on the shoulders of that which we love most, our children. They must learn that we are one in the eyes of he who matters. There is no place for greed, lust, materialism and prejudice. They need to learn that only they can bring about the change that will redeem this lonely, war-ridden place that has been created. We need to help them turn that corner and embrace that which we annually celebrate. Enjoy this holiday that was created by man but remember its original intent and see it through to its true purpose. Let’s remember the loved ones we have lost through this tumultuous time we have addressed as life, and remember the great promise of the real gift, “Eternal Life” with he whom we celebrate in his name. The books of Luke and Matthew as well as John indicate different dates for the possible date of the birth of Jesus of Naza­reth. There are many assumptions but the best would be somewhere between 6 – 4 BC in Bethlehem during or shortly after the harvest season of that area. Some say September or October. After all is said and done it really doesn’t matter when, its why.

We still celebrate Christmas for the love of Christ on December 25 and we will still target our children for the merriment. It’s a reason to love and fill them with joy while loving the Holy Father as the reason for the season.

One more thing before I go, The Town Line is staffed with some military veterans, some with disabilities and some with those you might not see. In any case we know what it’s like to be away from home and those that we love. I am sure we have all shed a tear or two. However, we eventually came home, but many of our comrades didn’t. Both men and women know Flanders Field.

These as you are now seeing are uncertain times. Make sure you pray for all those who wear the uniform of our states and our country. At the same time pray for love and guidance to those of other countries. One field goal, basket or run doesn’t make a game. It’s just a step in the right direction. We all have the ability to love. I can’t imagine someone not loving anyone. For me that is not a possibility.

We wish you all a very merry holiday season and God be with and protect you and yours. Stay safe and remember others always. We are all in this together. If we remember that then we will all receive the blessing of, Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all. Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year.

The views of the author in this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Thanksgiving is only a word depicting a spot in time

by Gary Kennedy

The views of the author in this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

In doing my research for a thanksgiving article I started with Huff Post and its contributor Randy S. Woodley. The article was Thanksgiving Myth. Although those of us who have given history an honest look know that the fairy tale, Thanksgiving, isn’t realistic or even close to the truth. I find that some things need to be known in their reality/entirety but some things of which we don’t agree, only need to be described in their proper place and time and in a manner that will not destroy the intent of family. Sometimes truth needs to be given in proportions over time with the advent of maturity.

We know world history was never pristine and much of its foundation is shameful. However, I firmly believe that history has its place in our reality and holidays have another. Sometimes throwing the truth in its entirety destroys the band aid that we give to the wound. We place the band aid so the wound will heal the already very obvious wounded. I believe we tend to live in the past where the truth maintains its origin a little too much. The past is what it is. For me, it’s a precursor of now and a second chance on getting it right.

The first people are not here to answer to their interplay in historical reality and I nor my parents or children shouldn’t have to pay a price for historical evolution. As of late I have found myself searching history because of dirty politics. Who did it, why and what is their history. You can only go back to known time. Other than that we are dealing with innuendo and supposition. We all know the truth, as we see it, time teaches us that.

If we adhere to biblical teaching we only have good intention which became violated by human corruption. Was that the intent of our creator? I don’t think so. I believe that the first broken heart was his. We are talking about a big, all forgiving, beautiful and merciful heart. There has been no other heart like it. I am of the opinion that he has applied thousands of band aids over time. Only he holds the cure in his hands and he has a plan. He has a time and place in which this problem will be revisited and once and for all healed. Have no fear, irrespective of who you are or what you believe he holds the solution.

What I would like to instill in your hearts at this time is nothing more than a band aid. The band aid is laced with lidocaine and antibiotic. The lidocaine will ease the pain and the antibiotic will help with the infection. Guilt is both painful and infectious. That is why we temper the injury with love, forgiveness and understanding. If we truly know that there are very few, if any, good, fair and honest beginnings to the origins of all the parts of this world. If you think about what you know about world history, through all of time, you will grow to realize there is no such thing as a peaceful beginning. Every country and all their extensions began with might, not love. Someone gave up their world in order to form yours. Since the beginning of time through many guises the earth and its people have changed as has its physical appearance. The configuration of borders and even the character and beliefs of people have changed.

Yes, we know the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock as taught to our young ones. We explain in little detail how corn was grown and fish were used for fertilizer. We teach that the Indians taught us much and helped us through some harsh winters. We certainly neglect the parts about our cruelty towards them eventually and how we grew in numbers and carried out materialistic values as we expanded our material gains and used those very friends who saved our lives in our beginnings in America. Yes, it is very sad to forget what the cost of progress is and has been throughout time. We tend to lean now toward the good things. We talk of our friendship, learning, trade and growth. We cherish such things as the great celebratory feasts of turkey, deer, fish, vegetables, and pumpkin pie, most of which was supplied by those very American Indians whose land America really belonged too. Stories of John Smith and Pocahontas are still told to our children. We talk about all the fun and beautiful things but forget the true reality of the celebration. The big picture here is the hands of time and the evolution of peoples. To this very day we tend to find the need to grow separately not collectively. Time has shown us we only tell the good stories to justify the outcome. We always want a happy ending. So, we just make up one in order to conceal the truth. This year several writers have decided to tell at least half truths and write closer to the truth. I’d like to think that we are starting to realize that even though the truth may not always be full of happiness at least it will begin to lead us down the path to unification.

Thanksgiving is only a word depicting a spot in time which people gather together to celebrate the good with merriment. Thursday, November 25, is the day we celebrate the Thanksgiving that we know. It’s always on the fourth Thursday of November. There are other countries that celebrate this same holiday and for most of us the true meaning is being thankful for our annual harvest. These foods have pretty much remained the same over time. It’s a time for family and friends to join together with music and games. It is a very happy day for most. Although the first part of my Thanksgiving dissertation was serious, sad, and informative, the evolution has evolved to a happier scenario. However, I believe we should never forget and learn from the factual parts of this holiday.

The first Thanksgiving event was celebrated in October 1621. It lasted for three days with 53 pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians. It was Abraham Lincoln in 1863 who proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a national holiday on the last Friday of November, thanking God for the harvest. So fortunately for us through art work and some writings we know some of our history both good and bad. So I guess from here it depends on how we move forward with what we know and continue to learn.

For me and mine, Thanksgiving begins and ends with the one who makes all things possible. We know the road has had many pot holes and mud puddles but it has also had some wondrous straight aways. Where we take it from here is up to you and me, and what we teach our children. Never hide the truth but always let it be your guide. We still have many hills to climb but with love in your heart the path will be so much more achievable. We have come a long way when you consider the past. We’re not perfect yet but we have grown closer. We will always need that November Turkey day. God bless you and your family and always try to help those you know who need it. Please give a special prayer to those who are enslaved by the wicked. Always remember, “It’s not what you take with you, it’s what you leave behind.”