Today I was privileged to participate in a poignant and forward looking commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor at the Congregational Church of Patchogue.
Initially, it seemed to me a bit unusual to have such an event at the church but as I love the music of the period and anything Andrews Sisters related, I agreed.
However, as I reflected on recent news headlines, I came to realize that it was a perfect fit. Over and over we see and hear of tragedies and divisions between the people of our country and the world. Some say it’s because we forget and are doomed to repeat the past, lest we remember.
I was told, by Reverend Dwight Lee Wolter, that this event was spurred by a suggestion from one of the members of his church. Months later, Rev. Dwight shared another story with those of us participating in the remembrance. That while passing out flyers to advertise the event at the Patchogue Veterans’ Day Parade, one of the congregation’s confirmation candidates asked Rev. Dwight a question, “Who’s Pearl Harbor?”, to him this underscored the need to conduct the planned, solemn and yet joyous, commemoration.
Today’s event was one which reminded us of, and honored, the tragedies of our collective past and gave hope for the present and far into the future.
Under the same roof inside the beautiful sanctuary of the Congregational Church of Patchogue we gathered to remember The War To End All Wars through music, home movies, news reels, film, and spoken word. A young lady, who is a member of the church, did a dramatic reading of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech. We heard a communal prayer for peace in English, Urdu, Arabic, Hebrew and French.
It was here, within an hour’s time, that we in turn sang, laughed, cried, shared food, and dreamed of a world that embodies, as Rev. Dwight said, “A Peace To End All Wars.”
Thank you for the opportunity to lend my voice to this beautifully moving event.