Sunday, December 07, 2008

Advent 1941 or Wake Up and Smell the Altar Flowers

After last week's readings making us mindful to be awake for the coming of the Lord, and this week's emphasis on preparing the way of the Lord, I had to reflect on the second week in Advent, 1941. As I dozed off during Mary Cat's sermon, I thought I could smell the altar flowers given today to the glory of God and in loving memory of Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and his sons Captain Thomas Kinkaid Kimmel, LCDR Manning M. Kimmel, and LCDR Edward R. Kimmel and in honor of all those in the military who have served their country and protected its freedoms, by Manning and Sheila Kimmel.

Yes, today is December 7, Pearl Harbor day. A day which is fading from our nation's collective memory. A morning when our armed forces were caught less than awake for the rising of an Imperial sun.

I read an interesting book, "At Dawn we Slept" by Gordon Prange et al (McGraw-Hill 1981)which dissects the events leading up to and following the attack including the Congressional hearings and the verdicts of history. Anyone studying the 9/11 Commission report would be wise to read this book and understand that there is usually more to any story, and that it sometimes takes years to piece things together. Our parishioner Manning Kimmel, who has helped lead the fight for the late Admiral Kimmel, has seen first hand the difficulty in getting people to wake up. The lessons of Pearl Harbor were forgotten by the time 9/11 rolled around. Perhaps the next book we read will be "And We Continue to Sleep."

This week I watched another parishioner, Phil Glennon on CN2's "THE CITY MINUTE" with Betty Jo Rhea. He gave a great reflection on his time as a submariner in the Pacific in WWII. If you see him, thank him for his service, and remember the submariners who did not return home.

Will the lessons of Advent be forgotten as well? What are we doing on a daily basis to be prepared for the day of the Lord? What will that morning be like? Will it be all Christmas presents and baby Jesus?

Such preparation is hard work. We are to stay awake and make straight the way of the Lord. All are to be encouraged in their labors on this highway project. But if the surveyors and planners start reading the plans wrong, or if they choose to ignore history and other sources of intelligence, what kind of path will the laborers take? I am worried that the leadership of the Episcopal Church has veered off the straight and narrow path which we are called to prepare. As the numbers presented in the last post demonstrate, the workers are losing confidence in their leaders. Will these leaders ever wake up, or will they "continue to sleep?"

Oh yes, Wallace Hartley pointed out that "Advent" is ironically the name of a sub chaser from WWII.
He could not find a photo of the USS Advent (Laid down 08/18/1941, commissioned 1942), but provided a picture of the Force, PC 1603, it was in the same class as the Advent PC 1587

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article from 1958.

    I always thought that Admiral Kimmel and General Short were unfairly blamed for the events of that day. I'm not ready to accuse Roosevelt of treachery, but there was certainly a lot of complacency, primarily because the U.S. didn't think Japan would be foolish enough to attack us.