How doors to harmonious relationships have been opened in history

Posts tagged ‘love’

Image

Zachary Fisher, A Helping Hand to U.S. Armed Forces (September 26, 1910 – June 4, 1999)

Zachary Fisher was a tradesman, a builder.  Over his lifetime, he and his extended family have built many prominent structures.  If you are curious to know where they are, you can investigate their locations on the internet by looking up Zachary’s name.

Zachary Fisher

Zachary Fisher

However, from the perspective of Harmony Keys, Zachary Fisher did something far more important than constructing towers at prominent addresses.  He was a man who built harmony in the lives of people.  How did he do that?  Zachary Fisher became dedicated to aiding the U.S. Armed Forces in a myriad of ways.  One way was that he contributed millions from his own wealth to improve the lives of families whose loved ones have been injured or killed in the military service of our country.

Who was Zachary Fisher?  Let’s start with his father, Karl Fisher, a stonemason.  Karl emigrated from Lithuania to New York in the early 1900s and went to work in his trade.  Zachary was born in Brooklyn in 1910.  Very early in his life, Zachary, like all of his brothers, was trained by his father as a bricklayer.  At age 16, Zachary left high school to work in construction.  When WW II came along in 1941, he was rejected for service due to an injured leg.  In lieu of service, he aided the war effort through his construction skills by building fortifications on the eastern coast.  It was the beginning of his desire to aid the U.S. Armed Forces.

Over the years, Zachary had many projects to assist various parts our military, including the preservation of an historic aircraft carrier and the development of a naval museum.  Those projects involving equipment and buildings were important, but Zachary seemed to yearn for a very personal, close focus on military men and women and their families.  So in 1982, he and his wife, Elizabeth, founded the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Services Foundation. Through the Foundation, Zachary contributed to the families of the victims of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut in 1983. Since then, the Foundation has donated $25,000 to each of numerous military families who lost loved ones under tragic circumstances.  The Foundation also provides scholarship funds to active and former service members and their families.

In 1990, a wonderful stroke of opportunity presented itself.  Pauline Trost, wife of Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Carlisle Trost, spoke to Zachary and Elizabeth of the urgent need for temporary lodging for families at major military medical centers.  Zachary and Elizabeth immediatelyformed the Fisher House Foundation and initiated the Fisher House program, dedicating over $20 million to the construction of a nationwide network of free, temporary, comfortable lodging units for families of hospitalized veterans and military personnel.  One year later, in 1991, the first two Fisher Houses were built and ready to serve.  The first was near the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda; the second was near Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.  Today there are more than 60 units operating across America and one in the United Kingdom.

We had never heard of Fisher Houses and wanted to know more so we studied an interview with one of Zachary’s grand nephews, Ken Fisher and Ken’s wife,Tammy, which was conducted by Philanthropy Magazine in Fall 2010.  The following notes are based on that interview and on the Fisher House Foundation website.  The story is thrilling.

Department of Defense Photo

Learning to Climb Again

Picture this: The Fisher House Foundation builds multi-unit residential properties within walking distance of major military and V.A. medical centers.  Each unit has between 6 and 21 suites and can host 12 to 42 family members at one time.  Each incorporates kitchen, laundry, recreation, and library space.  Books and toys are provided.  Once the units are completed, they are turned over to the government.  When a service member or a veteran is hospitalized, his or her family can live at the house, free of charge, for as long as they need to stay, close to their service member or vet during recuperation.

Since inception, Fisher House Foundation has provided approximately 5 million nights of free lodging with home-away-from-home comfort, giving military families time to heal.  And the program is growing exponentially.

A striking fact about the outreach established by Zachary Fisher is that it seems non-partisan.  His generosity, and the grassroots philanthropy of his family, have been applauded and recognized over and over by leaders of many administrations:  Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, as well as Margaret Thatcher and the late Yitzhak Rabin.  In 1998, Zachary received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton in honor of his wide-ranging contributions on behalf of the young men and women in the US Armed Forces.  In 2010, Barak Obama announced the proceeds from his children’s book “Of Thee I Sing” would benefit Fisher House Foundation’s “Heroes’ Legacy Scholarships” for the sons and daughters of fallen/disabled service members.

Without a doubt, Zachary Fisher was a man who built more than buildings.  He created harmony among human beings.

We signed up to receive the Fisher House Foundation newsletter.  If you would like to learn more about Fisher outreach and how you can help, contact Fisher House™ Foundation, Inc., 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850, (888) 294-8560, http://www.fisherhouse.org

Image

Irish Immigrants with Two Religions Meet in Salt Lake

Here’s a question for you:

Is it possible for people with different religions to learn to get along and even marry each other, living in peace and harmony?

Below are the words of Mary who wrote her views of my novel Gra Im Thu! I Love You! in which two Irish families, with two different religions, move to Salt Lake City in the early 20th Century.

“This is a great novel about two Irish immigrant families in Salt Lake City at the turn of the century. One family is Catholic, the other new converts to Mormonism. The novel deals with how two teens from these families fall in love, marry and learn to work out the cultural, religious and intergenerational differences between their families. A really fun first novel with lots of interesting historical details about Salt Lake City.”

What is your opinion about how people learn to respect each other’s religion and political beliefs?

What is the secret to learning to treasure our differences?          Image

http://bit.ly/12OtjJI

Image

Why You Must Get to Know the Wise Sage Epictetus

What? You’ve never heard of Epictetus? (Epic-teeʹ-tus) You are not alone. I’m right there with you. I had no knowledge of Epictetus until I ran across one of his most famous quotes:

“We are disturbed not by things that happen, but by our opinion of things that happen.”

Epictetus had many practical words of advice which are relevant to modern persons like you and like me.

“So what,” you say. “Thousands of philosophers, seers, religious leaders, politicians, educators, and on and on, have given us their views. We have advice coming out of our ears.”

Well, just a minute. The puzzling factor with Epictetus’ advice concerns the unlikely evolution of his life. How does it happen that a simple human being, born a slave almost 2000 years before our time, could think ideas that seem relevant to our present-day psyche?

Let’s try to find out.

Epictetus was born in the southwestern region of what we now call Turkey between 50-55 AD. We old folks know that AD stands for Anno Domini, or in the Year of Our Lord, but you may find Epictetus’ birth year written as 50-55 CE which is now used by some to connote the Christian Era or Common Era. His exact birthplace is thought to be Hierapolis, Phrygia in what was known as southwest Anatolia at the time, an area which seems to have changed hands and allegiances often. It is difficult to sort out whether Epictetus was born a Greek slave or a Roman slave. Various chroniclers label him as one or the other. Stephen Walton, President of Ideonautics Corporation, and a man with interest in Stoic philosophy, refers to Epictetus as a Graeco-Roman Stoic philosopher, so perhaps we can think of Epictetus as a little bit of both Greek and Roman, whether slave or philosopher.

But we do have to ask the one HUGE question staring us in the face and we ask it with great wonderment: How did Epictetus morph from a slave into a philosopher?

Here’s what may or may not be true: Epictetus was born to a slave woman and therefore he was automatically a slave himself. His master was an important aide de camp for Emperor Nero. Sometime after Nero’s death in 68 AD, the master decided to free Epictetus, perhaps because the master realized that the youth, Epictetus, was a bright young man who would benefit from education. The master made arrangements for Epictetus to study in Rome with one of the greatest Stoic teachers of the time Musonius Rufus.

Under Emperor Domitian, in 89 AD, all philosophers were banished from Rome. Unabashed, Epictetus traveled to Nicopolis, a cultural magnet on the Adriatic coast of northwestern Greece where he established a school and became wildly popular among students of philosophy. He remained there until his death around 135 AD.

In his private life, Epictetus never married. However, it is thought that during his later years, he adopted a child who was in need. It is this act of love and benevolence that causes me to celebrate, with you, the life of Epictetus. This man, born a slave, perhaps wrought with so much lameness that he moved about with the aid of a crutch, loved life so completely that he recognized the importance of embracing the life of a child who needed him. Here was a man who truly brought harmony to those around him by demonstrating his love and by listening to others, learning from others, and teaching others.

The teachings of Epictetus were recorded by his student, Arrian, and the collection became known as the Discourses. A shorter version of the Discourses was called the Enchiridion or Manual or Handbook in English. It seems that some scholars frown upon the Enchiridion as being so brief that it precludes us from fully grasping the underpinnings of Epictetus’ thoughts. However, I, being unschooled in Stoicism, looked over the multitude of references on the internet about Epictetus and his teachings in order to find something I could understand. I found it. I wish to point you to a clear “modern” interpretation of the Enchiridion by a man I mentioned earlier, Stephen Walton. Here you can read what Mr. Walton titles “The Manual, or How to Control Everything You Can, a modern rendering of the Enchiridion of Epictetus” by Stephen Walton. www.ideonautics.com/manual2.htm

 

Video

Willard Herman Scott, Jr. – A Man of the Centuries (b. 1934)

1990 Emmy Awards NOTE: Permission granted to c...

1990 Emmy Awards NOTE: Permission granted to copy, publish, broadcast or post any of my photos, but please credit “photo by Alan Light” if you can. Thanks. Scanned from the original 35MM film negative. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Willard Scott loves to celebrate life: witness his heart-warming tributes to centenarians. Hired by NBC in 1980 to do weather for The Today Show, Scott was held in high regard by audiences.  One admirer suggested he give birthday greetings to people who had reached 100 years of age, or greater, as part of his weather report.  Scott liked the idea and began the tributes in 1983.  Even though he left the show in 1996, he periodically makes appearances to deliver the tributes which are now sponsored by Smuckers Jellies.

Because of his generous remembrances of the aging, and for other reasons, I hereby give Willard Scott the title: “A Man of the Centuries.”  An additional title belonging to Scott is that he is recognized by many to be the original  “Ronald McDonald.”  Before I delve into that amazing story, and speaking of titles, I might as well tell you, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I feel a special affinity to Willard Scott because my last boss-lady dubbed my husband with the nickname “Ronald McDonald.” My husband didn’t look anything like Ronald McDonald, nor like Willard Scott, but his first name was Ron.  He took a liking to my boss’s cheerful greeting, “Howdy, Ronald McDonald!” (she was from West Virginia) each time she saw him.  After she died, he often reminisced about her habit of tagging people with “character monikers.”  She called me “Snoopy!”

Willard Scott as Ronald McDonald, from the fir...

Willard Scott as Ronald McDonald, from the first of three pre-recorded television advertisements to feature Ronald. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But back to Ronald McDonald.   In Willard Scott’s book, The Joy of Living, (1982) Scott wrote that he was asked by McDonalds to create the role of Ronald McDonald. One wonders if the idea of Ronald McDonald was born from a previous children’s character that Scott brought to life called Bozo the Clown. For it was from 1959-1962 that Scott appeared on children’s programs produced by local DC TV stations as Bozo the Clown, and he subsequently enacted Ronald McDonald from 1963-1966.  We look at the photo showing Scott with a box on his head and a cup on his nose and realize that the evolving Ronald McDonald, somewhere along the line, hired a new costume designer and a different make-up artist.  AND today the modern Ronald McDonald persona, embodied by numerous actors, reaches far and wide into many kinds of special events, parties, and hospitals.  But let’s not forget that the trend-setter for the Ronald McDonald character was Willard Scott.   Just being himself, to this day, Scott brings cheer and good-will wherever he goes.

There’s another large part of Scott’s life that touches a major chord with me since I am a novice radio show host myself.  Are any of you old enough to remember the Joy Boys Radio Show?  Well, it was aired nightly out of NBC owned WRC-AM in Washington DC (1955-1972) and two more years out of another DC radio station.  Who were the Joy Boys?

Ed Walker (l) and Willard Scott, The Joy Boys ...

Ed Walker (l) and Willard Scott, The Joy Boys (1965) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They were Willard Scott and Ed Walker and improvised comedy was their schtick.  Ed was blind, in fact, blind since birth, so their method of preparation for the show was unique.  They discussed a situation to use as basis for the broadcast, then developed characters which their voices would portray, and Willard wrote out some lead lines to use as the “situation” unrolled on the show.  Before the show, Ed would memorize their discussion.  Then they’d go live and proceed to entertain, enrich, uplift, and encourage all those within earshot.  Just a couple of Joy Boys, the two men remained fast friends.

If I had a trophy or medal, I’d hand it to Willard Herman Scott along with the title “A Man of the Centuries” because he has reverence for the aging, he has a sense of humor, and he vigorously celebrates life.  Do these activities promote harmony in our society?  Indeed.  Carry on, Mr. Scott.

Teddy Roosevelt Took Action to Help Children in Need

Our 26th U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, was indeed a champion of children.

Let’s look first at his own family.  He had six children and he  loved them all deeply, devoting many hours to activities where the children could participate.  Roosevelt once brought a pony into the White House and gave the pony a ride in the elevator, no doubt to the delight of his children.  Their names are interesting.  First born was Alice Lee, named for her mother, Theodore’s first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, who died suddenly only two days after her baby was born in 1884.  Theodore married his second wife, Edith, and they produced five children:   Theodore, Jr., Kermit, Ethel, Archie, and Quentin.  

Here they are: President Theodore Roosevelt and family on the lawn at Sagamore Hill, 1903; Quentin leans on father’s shoulder while Archie, still in short pants, claims father’s knee. TR’s second wife Edith sits leaning against her daughter, Ethel. In the back row we see Ted, Jr, the oldest boy, oldest daughter Alice (whose mother was TR’s first wife) and Kermit.  This frequently published photo of the family also appears on many postcards from the era.

Colorized image of US President Theodore Roose...

Because of his deep love of all children, Roosevelt wanted to help the large number of American children who had become orphans for one reason or another.  Also, he was concerned about child labor, and about children whose parents could not provide for them.  Thus, before he left office in 1909, and encouraged by reformers in the national child welfare cause, he organized the first White House Conference on Children and Youth.  It was titled “The Care of Dependent Children.”  Conference participants focused on the health and welfare of children engaging forced labor, orphaned children, and children of the poor.

Below is a photo of the concluding banquet, held at the Willard Hotel in D.C., for the 1909 White House Conference on Children and Youth.

Now take a closer look.  Get out your magnifying glass.  Recognize anyone?

Among the well-known child welfare advocates seated at the head table with President Roosevelt at the end of the 1909 White House Conference on Children and Youth were Jane Addams, James E. West, Homer Folks, and Theodore Dreiser. (The banquet was held at Washington’s Willard Hotel.) (Dwight D. Eisenhower Library)

President Teddy Roosevelt’s 1909 Conference on Children and Youth was a landmark initiative destined to improve the welfare of children in need.  Perhaps one of the most important recommendations of the conference was the call for the formation of a federal bureau which would  focus on issues directly related to children. Thus, the U.S. Children’s Bureau was established in 1912 under the Department of Labor.

Theodore Roosevelt knew this truth and we know this truth: when we help children, we build a stronger, healthier world.

The Little Boy Who Wrote A Note

There once lived a small boy who knew that people can learn to get along with each other.

He knew, deep in his heart, that it was true.  People who think differently about things can live together in peace, if they put their minds to it.  That’s what minds are for.

So he wrote a note to the world:

No More Hurting People.  Peace.

He wrote it big enough for all to see, on a poster, and added two red hearts and a peace symbol.

He held the poster against his chest and smiled while his dad took his picture.

One day this loving boy ran from the sidelines  to hug his father at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Then he ran back to where his mother and sister were watching.

At that same moment, a loud boom ripped the air and a home-made pressure cooker bomb exploded on the sidewalk near the boy, sending nails and other sharp metal objects into people all around, and into the boy’s body.

The boy died.  His name was Martin Richard.

But he left us the most important message that we need to know in life.  I will always remember what he wrote.

No more hurting people.  Peace.Martin Richard Boy of Peace

And peace for you, dear young Martin.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: