Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A reminder for me for Memorial Day - Rector's Rambling for May 29, 2016

This past Monday I had the honor and privilege of witnessing the swearing of the Oath of Allegiance by one of our parishioners, to become a citizen of the United States of America.  It was a moving ceremony as 78 people raised their right hand and proclaimed that they “will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law.”
This last line struck me particularly poignantly because of this Memorial Day weekend.  Although many don’t get beyond it being the start of the summer season of pool and picnic, it is a time of remembrance and thanksgiving for those who gave their lives in the service of our country.  Begun as a remembrance day for the Civil War dead, by 1890 is was observed by the northern states, and eventually by individual southern states over time.  It became a federal holiday in 1971.
On Monday, those 78 people pledged to defend the United States of America, alongside you and me if we are so called to do.  And to do so means risking one’s life, as so many have done in the nearly 240 years since we declared our independence from a foreign potentate.
The federal judge administering the oath was the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, and she spoke of the great privileges and opportunities this country provides to both her native born and naturalized citizens.  With those privileges and opportunities come the responsibilities of good citizenship, including voting and becoming involved in one’s local community.
It was a moving morning, and I am most grateful to have been invited to be a witness.  It was wonderful to be reminded of what people have died to defend, and to renew my gratitude for having been born in this country that so many people around the world aspire to come to and in which to obtain citizenship.