Daily Update: Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

07-27 - Korean War Memorial in the Snow and 2016 Democratic National Convention

With no Saints to honor today, we turn to the events of this day in 1995, when the Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C., on the 42nd anniversary of the of the armistice that ended the war. And the 2016 National Democratic Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, continues.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial was authorized by the U.S. Congress (Public Law 99-572) on October 28th, 1986, with design and construction managed by the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board and the American Battle Monuments Commission. My late father (died 1998) was with the 5th Marines at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, in November through December 1950; he always said that his favorite battle movie was Zulu (1964), because the Zulu warriors constantly attacking Rorke’s Drift were just like the Chinese coming down out of the hills at the Marines covering the retreat from the Reservoir. He was also very proud of having been one of the Chosin Few. The fighting in Korea ended on July 27th, 1953, when an armistice was signed. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea, and allowed the return of prisoners. However, no peace treaty has been signed, and the two Koreas are technically still at war. Periodic clashes, many of which have been deadly, have continued to the present. In the summer of 2002 I took a trip on my own to Washington, D.C., and made a point of going to the Memorial. It was a brutally hot day, but as I neared the Memorial I felt a spooky cool breeze on the back of my neck. My instant response was to say, “Ok, Dad, I know you’re there, now quit scaring me!” I have no doubt at all in my mind that Dad was there, approving of my visiting the Memorial.

I woke up at 8:00 am, and Richard took our newspapers in the bins and the bags of aluminum cans in the garage to the recycling center, and also went to the drive through at McDonald’s. I started the Weekly Computer Maintenance, then ate breakfast bacon biscuits from McDonald’s while reading the morning paper. I then finished the Weekly Computer Maintenance, started the Weekly Virus Scan (more anon), did my Book Devotional Reading, and did my Internet Devotional Reading. I then started working on Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. Richard took a nap along about 12:30 pm.

I left Richard sleeping and left the house at 2:15 pm; at McDonald’s I ate my lunch and finished reading the July 18th – July 25th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. At the Valero I purchased my Powerball and Louisiana Lotto lottery tickets for tonight’s drawing. I arrived back home at 3:15 pm, with Richard still sleeping, and returned to doing Advance Daily Update Drafts for my weblog. Richard woke up, and we watched Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm; I then returned to the computer, and spent the rest of the evening doing Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog; I am now about two weeks ahead. Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb, and my contacts were delivered by 1-800-Contacts. Meanwhile, the Weekly Virus Scan had hung up, and I had to reboot the computer to get it to turn off. Before I go to sleep (which I shall do, once I finish this Daily Update) I will start the Weekly Virus Scan again, and hope that it does its work properly.

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor; but it is Acadian Remembrance Day (by proclamation by no less an authority of the Queen of England). And the 2016 National Democratic Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will conclude tomorrow. I will work on more Advance Daily Update Drafts tomorrow on the computer, and I will go to the store to get my Salad Supplies so that I can make my Lunch Salads for Friday and Sunday.

Our Parting Quote on this Wednesday evening comes to us from James Alan McPherson, American short story writer and essayist. Born in 1943 in Savannah, Georgia, his father became the first black master electrician in the state, but only after frustrating delays blamed on racial discrimination drove him to alcoholism and gambling debts that resulted in a period in jail. His mother worked as a maid, and McPherson helped support the family by delivering newspapers. He attended Morris Brown College in Atlanta, graduating in 1965. While at Harvard Law School he wrote a semi-autobiographical short story called “Gold Coast”, about the relationship between a black aspiring writer supporting himself as a janitor and his older white supervisor, that won a contest sponsored by The Atlantic Monthly. He graduated from law school in 1968, and “Gold Coast” was included in Hue and Cry, his first short story collection, in 1969. The Atlantic Monthly hired him as a contributing editor, and Publishers Weekly described him as both “extremely talented” and “very different.” In 1978 his next anthology, Elbow Room, won the Pulitzer for fiction; he was the first black author to win in that category. He was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981. His work has appeared in twenty-seven journals and magazines, seven short-story anthologies, and The Best American Essays. In 1995 McPherson was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He taught English at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Harvard University, and Yale University. He lectured in Japan with Dr. Jerald Walker at Meiji University and Chiba University.He wrote his memoir, Crabcakes, in 1998. In 2000 John Updike selected his short story “Gold Coast” for his collection Best American Short Stories of the Century; that same year he published A Region Not Home, a book of essays. In October 2011 McPherson was honored as the inaugural recipient of the Paul Engle Award from the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature. The Engle Award honors an individual who, like Engle, longtime director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and co-founder of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts (died 2016): ”I believe that if one can experience diversity, touch a variety of its people, laugh at its craziness, distill wisdom from its tragedies, and attempt to synthesize all this inside oneself without going crazy, one will have earned the right to call oneself ‘citizen of the United States’.”

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