Home of the Student-Person-Player #GoERAU. Daytona Beach, Fla. . Tonight we honor six of the greatest SAs Embry-Riddle has ever known.
As Samhain rolls around and the veil grows thin each year, many people in the Pagan community take the opportunity to hold rituals honoring the dead. This may take the form of setting up an altar to honor the ancestors, or to hold a vigil for those who have crossed over in the past year. In general, we’re pretty good about remembering those who have touched us, whether they were family of the blood or of the spirit.
However, there’s one group that is typically overlooked at this time of year. It’s the people who passed through the veil with no one to mourn them, no one to remember their names, no loved ones left behind to sing their names with honor.
Think of the people out there, not just in your community, but around the country who are buried with no headstone, because there was no one to pay for a marker. Consider the old woman in a nursing home or care center, who died with no children or nieces and nephews to bid her farewell in the final moments. What about the homeless veteran who used to panhandle on your city’s streets, who one day just stopped showing up at the corner, and is now buried in an unmarked plot with dozens of others just like him? How about the children who are lost, for whatever reasons, in our world, and die alone, whether by violence or neglect or illness? What about those who were once remembered, but now their gravestones lie untended and ignored?
These are the people that this ritual honors. These are the ones whose spirits we honor, even when we do not know their names. This ritual can be performed by a solitary practitioner or a group. Keep in mind that while you can perform this rite as a stand-alone ritual, it also works well being incorporated in at the end of your other Samhain rituals.
You will need a collection of candles in colors and sizes of your choice – each will represent a group of forgotten people. If there’s someone specific you know of, who died alone, choose a candle to represent that person as well. For this sample ritual, we’ll use a candle for men, one for women, and another for children, but you can group people in any way that works for you.
If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now. Even if your tradition doesn’t require it, it’s a good idea to have designated sacred space of some sort for this ritual, because you’re going to be inviting the dead to stand outside and watch you. You can do a simple delineation of the circle with string, birdseed, salt, or other markers. Another alternative is to simply create sacred space around the participants. Or, you can do a full-on circle casting.
Decorate your altar as you normally would for Samhain, and include the collection of unlit candles in a prominent position. Safety tip: put the smaller ones at the front, and the taller ones behind them, so there’s less chance of you setting your own sleeve on fire as you light them.
Particularly if you’re doing this during the Samhain season, there’s a lot of activity crossing back and forth over the veil, so it’s a good idea to take a moment to meditate and get grounded before you begin. When you’re ready to start, say:
Light the first candle, representing the group of your choice. Again, for purposes of this ritual, we’ll assign this candle to the women:
Light the second candle, for the second group you are honoring:
Light the next candle, for additional groups you may be honoring:
Take a moment to meditate on what you have just said. See if you can feel the presence of the lost ones as you stand at your altar. You may notice a distinct shift in the energy you’re feeling, and that’s normal. It’s also why this next part of the ritual is very important: you’ve invited them to watch you, and now you need to send them on their way.
Take a few minutes to get yourself centered. End the ritual in whichever way you normally do, breaking down the sacred space. Extinguish the candles, and offer a quick final blessing of farewell to each group as the smoke drifts away into the night.
It doesn't matter how old you get, your parents will always be your parents. Make your mom and dad look good: Simply be a good man. family tonight and ask: Look at this list and let's decide how we can honor Grandma and Grandpa.
An ace, king, queen, or jack.
The Obamas honored Stevie Wonder on Wednesday night during a concert in the East Room of the White House held to celebrate the musician being awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
The president candidly discussed the importance role that Wonder played in his own romantic life with the First Lady, calling it "the essence of our courtship," explaining that if he had not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle would never had dated him, let alone married him.
Love was in the air at the White House tonight, as the President and First Lady hosted a concert to honor Stevie Wonder, a man whose music they said brought them together.
FLOTUS opened the event, and explained that she grew up listening to Stevie Wonder's music with her grandfather. Years later, she said she "discovered what Stevie meant when he sang about love. Barack and I chose the song, 'You and I' as our wedding song." A chorus of "awws" from the crowd. FLOTUS continued, that Wonder's music has been connecting with fellow artists and fans for 40 years, adding that he recently performed with the Jonas Brothers, "thrilling a new generation of young girls, including our own."
The pool left the room as a series of artists (list below) played various hits from Wonder's collection. We returned to the room in time for POTUS to present the Gershwin award. He called Stevie Wonder's music "the soundtrack of my youth," saying he found in it "peace and inspiration, especially in difficult times." He then mirrored his wife's comments, saying: "I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me. We might not have married. The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship."
The award was presented, and after a long ovation, Wonder spoke. "President and Mrs. Obama, I'm so excited to know that I was a part of" - he said, pausing for some laughter from the audience. "I needn't say more." POTUS, standing to Wonder's left, sported a broad smile, and then looked down to his wife in the front row.
Wonder thanked his friends and family, and said he accepted the award for his mother. If she were here, Wonder said, "She'd say, 'Let me give him a peach cobbler.'" Wonder then spoke of his excitement over the president who honored him tonight, saying that through him "America has a chance to again live up to the greatness that it deserves to be seen and known as."
He closed by saying that he looked forward to the president being able to unite the world, "so that in my lifetime I can write some more songs about love, about unity, and real songs of passion." And then he added: "You know, maybe I'll be a part of creating some more of those babies." The audience roared with laughter and applause.
Pool exited shortly after, but as we were leaving we could hear Wonder saying that he had thought about inviting POTUS to sing "Michelle My Belle" with him. Sadly, he did not. Instead, Wonder struck up "Signed Sealed Delivered," a staple of the campaign trail.
The event was to award the 2nd annual Gershwin Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Library of Congress. The entire event will be broadcast tomorrow night on PBS as part of its "In Performance at the White House" series, according to a White House release.
In addition to some famous faces from the DC social scene, guests included (per Katie McCormick Lelyveld) People from the Berklee School of Music, Jeffrey Kimpton from Interlochen in Michigan, the president of Juilliard, the head of the Grammy's foundation, a number of creative arts and music conservatory teachers and students, and folks from music programs via the DC public schools, including the woman who runs Duke Ellington in NW.
KML also explained that the event was an extension of the continuing plan by the Obamas to open the White House to the greater community, and bring different groups together.
Spotted in the crowd when the pool first entered the East Room: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Donna Brazille, Valerie Jarett, David Axelrod. Other faces in the crowd spotted as the night wore on: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Attorney General Eric Holder.
THE TICK TOCK:
Pool gathered just after 7 pm to be escorted up to the East Room. En route, we passed the Diplomatic Reception room, where I spotted Will.i.am and other guests.
At 7:10 pm, we arrived in the East Room, which had been transformed, lighting and all, into a concert venue. A stage had been set up against the wall in between the paintings of Mary and George Washington, facing out in the direction of Cross Hall. There were three rows of chairs in the center, with another small group of five rows angling out on the left and right side of the stage.
According to a program waiting on the chairs for guests, the program was to include the following performances: Kathleen Battle, Tony Bennett, Wayne Brady, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Diana Krall, Mary Mary, Martina McBride, Paul Simon, Esperanza Spalding, and Will.i.am. A supplementary card informed that Battle and Edmonds would not be participating, but that India Arie had been added.
At 7:24, the vice president and Dr. Biden were introduced (VPOTUS' forehead by now showing no signs of the ashes he had sported during the day) At 7:29, the president and first lady were introduced. POTUS was wearing the same suit he had worn to work during the day; FLOTUS was wearing a very nice green dress (I apologize to those who would like greater detail about the ensemble, but that's about the extent of my fashion reporting).
FLOTUS then introduced the program:
"Good evening everyone, and welcome to PBS' "In Performance At The White House.' Tonight it is a huge thrill for me as we honor a man whose music and lyrics I fell in love with when I was a little girl. The first album I ever bought was Steve Wonder's 'Talking Book.' I'd go to my grandfather's, because he was a real music junkie. He'd blast music throughout the house. And that's where he and I would sit and listen to Stevie's music together. Songs about life, love, romance, heartache, despair. He would let me listen to these songs over and over and over and over again.
"And then there was the album cover, a first that was in Braille. Years later, I discovered what Stevie meant when he sang about love. Barack and I chose the song, 'You and I' as our wedding song. For nearly 40 years, Stevie's music and powerful lyrics have inspired his fellow artists and connected with generations of fans. And he's still connecting, even today. He recently performed with the Jonas Brothers, thrilling a new generation of young girls, including our own.
"So it is with tremendous pride and delight that I now introduce one of the world's greatest artists, and one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, Stevie Wonder - in performance at the White House."
Almost immediately, your pool was ushered out of the East Room via the Green Room, which as it should happen was actually serving as the green room for the artists waiting to perform. We could hear "Sir Duke" being covered as we made our way back to the briefing room. Once in the briefing room, your pool was able to watch some of the show on monitors behind the podium. Cameras occasionally cut to the first couple, who seemed to be genuinely enjoying the performances, FLOTUS occasionally even singing along.
The pool held there until 8:19, when we returned to the East Room for the presentation of the award. POTUS took the stage, and started by joking that FLOTUS asked why they always had to have the podium on stage.
"I would have been satisfied with any of these microphones," he said, looking around the stage. "But we have protocol enforcers in the White House."
He then began his remarks, saying he wanted to first thank "the most accomplished cover band."
POTUS: "Stevie has always drawn on the incredible range of traditions in his music. From them he's created a sound that at once uniquely American, uniquely his own, and yet somehow universal. Indeed, this could be called the American tradition - artists demonstrating the courage and talent to find new harmonies in the rich and dissonant sounds of the American experience."
"Tonight's prize is also personal for me. As Stevie knows, I'm a huge fan. And he has been a great supporter. When I was first discovering music, just like Michelle, it was Stevie's albums that I found and his songs became the soundtrack of my youth. Through them I found peace and inspiration, especially in difficult times. And I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me. We might not have married. The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship.
"And I'm not alone. Millions of people around the world have found similar comfort and joy in Stevie's music, and his unique capacity to find hope in struggle, and humanity in our common hardships. This gift that music affords us, transporting us from the here and now, relieving us of our burdens, even if it's just for the length of a song. And this gift given to us by artists like Stevie is something we can all share.
"So, it is my extraordinary privilege to present the Lbirary of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular song to an artist who has stirred our hearts and our souls for a generation, whose music knows no boundaries, an inspiration to us all. Please give it up for Mr. Stevie Wonder."
POTUS then gave a big bear hug to Stevie Wonder, patting him on the back and then clasping his hands. The two then held up the prize - which I have to admit I could not see from my vantage point behind the standing crowd, being slightly vertically challenged.
An extended standing ovation followed. Then Mr. Wonder then delivered remarks:
"Wow! I want to first of all thank God for this moment because only through him could all of this happen. President and Mrs. Obama, I'm so excited to know that I was a part of - [LAUGHTER] -- I needn't say more." [APPLAUSE]
POTUS smiles widely, and looks down at his wife.
Wonder: "There are so many people that I want to thank. So many people I am thinking about. I want to thank all of you, my family, my loved ones and friends, all of whom made it possible for me to stand here this day, this time. I accept this in memory of my mother. I know that Lula Mae is smiling right now. Mr. President, I know that if she were here, she'd say, 'Let me give him a peach cobbler.' She would say peach cobbler.
"But what's really exciting for me today is that we truly have lived to see a time where America has a chance to again live up to the greatness that it deserves to be seen and known as, through the love and the caring and the commitment of a president, as in our president, Barack Obama. [APPLAUSE] It's exciting 'cause I know my children will be able to say, 'I was born when there was the first African American president. Yeah, I can do that too!' But not only can they do that, but all children of all various ethnicities understand that they can speak in truth. They can talk about loving and caring about this country. They can talk about being a united people of the United States of America. They can live that dream that Dr. King talked about so long ago. And if those in this country and throughout the world - you can put down your spirits of hate and open up your hearts to receive God's ever commitment of love, then we can be a united people of the world. If we can think that big, and feel that strong, then I believe, as is said to me by my God, impossible is unacceptable. We don't know the miracles that will be bestown on us because of that.
"So I'm looking forward to you doing that, so that in my lifetime I can write some more songs about love, about unity, and real songs of passion. You know, maybe I'll be a part of creating some more of those babies. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE]
"I want you to know that I love you til my last breath. Thank you."
Pool was then immediately taken out of the East Room again at 8:30. As we left, Wonder joked that he had thought of inviting POTUS on stage to sing "Michelle My Belle" to FLOTUS, but did not.
After we returned to the briefing room, your pool again watched the rest of the show on monitors. It was from there that I watched as POTUS and FLOTUS then took the stage one last time, at 8:50.
POTUS said: "I hope, and Michelle hopes that all of you have had an extraordinary evening celebrating a true American master. Please give it up one more time for Mr. Stevie Wonder."
After another round of applause, the first couple left the room.
Tonight, we honor the man and the music. We'll be live from the red carpet tonight at the LA premiere of our upcoming movie, Michael Jackson: Searching.
A group of tragedy survivors is offering random acts of kindness, spending thousands, in memory of the nine lives taken during the Aug. 4 Oregon District shooting — acts they hope will be paid forward.
>> Dayton Shooting: Group in town to honor Oregon District victims by doing good deeds in their names
Tommy Maher of Long Island, New York, drove his white van with the words “Pay It Forward” to Dayton on Sunday. The South Hempstead firefighter has been traveling to the sites of mass shootings across the country for two years. At each stop he and a team that has grown over time perform acts of kindness for community members, each one relating to each of the lost lives.
“We come into the town and we like to honor those people that were taken so horrifically because they deserve that for one, and it’s kind of like we come in and give the whole town a hug,” Maher said. “I guess the message is just be kind. Don’t wait for the tragedy to be kind.”
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Since arriving Sunday, Maher and the Honor Network have paid for $500 worth of coffee at Wholly Grounds and Ghostlight in honor of the nine victims along with individual actions for each of the nine who lost their lives in the Oregon District.
They also thanked the Dayton Police Department and Dayton firefighters Tuesday with meal, and gave gift cards to volunteers at the Victory Project.
“It’s nice when people think about first responders and firefighters after the event,” said Dayton District Fire Chief Brad Baldwin. “We try to help anybody that needs help. That is our job, it’s basically what we do. We help people. Every once in a while you see people who need more help then normal then we’ll go out of our way to help the people and make sure they’re doing alright.”
The group also left a $200 tip for a server at Trolley Stop in memory of Lois Oglesby and $150 for Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen server, 26-year-old Cara Smith, in honor of Saeed Salah. Both victims were remembered as hard workers.
“The tip was amazing but the message was the real treat,” Smith said. “Be the good in the world. I couldn’t agree more. It brought tears to my eyes to know there’s a group out there honoring the victims of our local tragedy.”
Smith isn’t sure how yet, but she does plan to pay forward the gift in a way that continues to honor hard workers.
Maher also purchased an entire Target Registry of baby items for a grandmother awaiting her adopted granddaughter in remembrance of Monica Brickhouse, a mom of three. He also found a mom in Target expecting her fifth child and let her pick anything she needed in honor of Oglesby, whose youngest child was just two months old when she died.
Another mother had her bike stolen, so the Honor Network bought her a new one, purchased gifts for her children and gave the family $300 to remember Nicolas Cumer and Oglesby, who both worked in health fields and loved children. They also bought the children art sets to honor Megan Betts, who was known for her creativity.
A Walgreens worker who comforted the mother after the bike was stolen was given a sign with the message “Be the Good” in honor of Thomas “TeeJay” McNichols, known for his giant heart.
They also paid for meals for: Carl’s Body Shop & Towing to honor Beatrice “Nicole” Warren-Curtis who loved autobody classes in school;
a couple with a dog in honor of Derrick Fudge, who loved dogs; and a family having a birthday dinner at Trolley Stop in honor of Logan Turner, who was celebrating his 30th birthday the night he was killed.
In total, Maher said he’s spent a couple thousand dollars on his acts of kindness while visiting the region, a small price to pay for an “investment in humanity,” he said.
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“There’s so much more good out there than bad. It’s just that when the bad does something horrific, it’s so amplified it feels like there is no good, but there’s a lot more good people out there,” Maher said.
The Honor Network is growing, he said. He’s been traveling to mass shooting sites for two years, but just became a nonprofit a few months ago. Now people are able to donate funds rather than Maher funding the whole initiative on his own.
At each tragedy he meets community members and families of the victims, including Mary Jo von Tillow, whose husband was fatally shot in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. Two other members of her family were also shot but lived. All of the people who travel with the Honor Network have faced some sort of tragedy, including Maher, who lost a friend in his firehouse during the 9/11 attack in New York.
The support after the attacks 18 years ago sparked a desire in Maher to one day help recovery in some way.
“I see a community that is very open to us coming here and just showing some love to Dayton,” Maher said. “It’s a very diverse area, but very like-minded in the love and the kindness.”
Maher will continue to El Paso to honor the 22 slain in an El Paso Walmart. Von Tillow, a California native, will soon head to the second anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting.
“What I do notice here (in Dayton) is the youth,” she said. “It really impacted young people here …They want to pay it forward. That really resonates with me, and they could really make a big change and a big difference if they continue their acts of kindness.”
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Image may contain: 1 person, closeup. likes. sja's profile picture · sja Tonight, we honor all of our "25 Under 35" recipients- but we still have one.