Bugler honors deceased veterans with a personal touch

Philip Kowzan/US Air Force Photo

Lt. Col. Philip Kowzan/US Air Force Photo

Spokesman-Review: Taps is 24 notes that can make the toughest soldier cry. It’s a musical recognition of a life ended, a goodbye that hangs in the air as friends and family wipe their tears, look up and know they must live the rest of their lives without someone.

Since 2001, retired Army Reserve Lt. Col. Philip Kowzan, has played taps at military honor funerals in the Spokane area. His debut came unexpectedly at longtime friend Ivan Brayman’s funeral. “They had a recorder there and I said, ‘No, you’re not using that, not at my friend Ivan’s funeral,’ ” Kowzan said.

A lifelong trumpet player, he got his trumpet out of the car, took a deep breath and played for his friend one last time. “I wasn’t in uniform or anything,” Kowzan said. “I’m not even sure I did it right.” That was the only time he played taps in 2001.

But since then, he’s played at 1,259 funerals, sometimes playing at three services in the morning and another three in the afternoon. “I did seven one day,” Kowzan said. “That’s a lot.”

Every funeral Kowzan has participated in is meticulously recorded in a little black notebook, its cover worn from being carried in his pocket. When he ran out of notebook pages, he switched to a small three-ring binder.

He tries to get the funeral program and the obituary from each service, and he’s working on creating a leather-bound scrapbook that will be given to the Washington State Veterans Cemetery. “It’s become my mission,” Kowzan said, flipping through the pages of his notebook, recognizing many of the names.

At 77, Kowzan is long retired, first from the Army and then from a job with a whirlpool spa company.

kowzan

He plays in several bands with his wife, Carol Kowzan, and has just picked up viola, so he wouldn’t mind slowing down his bugling career. It’s just that he knows of only three other bugle players. “Once in a while a new person shows up,” Kowzan said. “But we desperately need younger people.”

Kowzan doesn’t charge anything, though he doesn’t turn down a donation to cover gas and a sandwich for lunch. His spotless, well-fitting uniform cost him $500.

The Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake pays him a $25 stipend – for a whole day. “It’s 23 miles out there, so if I have funerals in the morning and the afternoon, then I don’t go home,” Kowzan said, smiling.

Kowzan is not complaining, he’s just truly worried that battery-operated, digital bugles with built-in MP3 players will take over, leaving a sterile monotone presentation of a very emotional piece of music. “Sometimes the batteries die in the middle of everything,” Kowzan said. “It will never be the same as having a real live person play.”

Age has taken many of his fellow buglers away. “Perhaps people have become complacent?” Kowzan said. “They expect us to be there, but they don’t want to do it.”

Rudy Lopez, director of the Washington State Veterans Cemetery, said that Kowzan, Dave Halverson and Paul Manley form the primary group of buglers used by the cemetery. “He is a very giving individual, and he is passionate about taking care of veterans and their families,” Lopez said, adding that Kowzan was volunteer of the year in 2014.

According to the organization Bugles Across America – a nonprofit that supports buglers – anyone who can play the 24 notes of taps in a style that honors the veterans, their families and the burial detail can become a bugler. “We would love to have high school students join us,” Kowzan said. “They could do it as a community service project.”

Kowzan is the chairman of the Spokane Honor Guard and he said they, too, have dwindling ranks. Military honor guards are provided by veterans’ organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

VFW Post 1435 in Spokane Valley pulls honor guard members from all the VFW posts in the area, said member J.F. “Gunny” Goffinet. “To be in the honor guard you would have to have served in some form,” Goffinet said. “You should contact a veterans’ organization.”

According to www.military.com, eligible veterans are entitled to free military funeral honors, which consist of at least two members of the armed forces, one of whom represents the parent service of the deceased. The minimum service includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the family and the playing of taps.

Kowzan is a purist when it comes to taps – he doesn’t like the echo version fancied by some. “It’s 24 of the most beautiful notes in the world,” Kowzan said. “No need to mess with that.”

He speaks with reverence of the famous cracked note at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral, a slight imperfection that showed the bugler’s emotion.

Being a bugler is a solemn and exposed job, Kowzan said. Standing at the gravesite, in the silence of the cemetery, there’s no one to hide behind as the funeral draws to an end and the bugler walks to the head of the grave.

A small man, Kowzan stands straight, loosens his shoulders, takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. “I see the notes as I play them, one at a time, up and down,” Kowzan said. “And I put them up there in the right place, just like you put cups away in a cupboard.”

We salute you, Mr. Kowzan.

DCG

Memorial Day 2015

eagle in cemetery

Statue of Liberty in tears

Memorial Day

~Éowyn

Find out if your car is recalled for dangerous defective air bag

Takata defective air bags

A few days ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a major recall of defective airbags made by Japanese company Takata for 11 car manufacturers.

About 33.8 million vehicles are being recalled to replace frontal airbags on the driver’s side or passenger’s side, or both. The airbags, made by major parts supplier Takata, were installed in cars from model year 2002 through 2008. Some of those airbags could deploy explosively, and have caused at least 6 deaths and more than 100 injuries.

Nissan explains: “The [air bag] propellant could potentially deteriorate over time due to environmental factors [many years in high humidity conditions], which could lead to over-aggressive combustion in the event of an airbag deployment. This could create excessive internal pressure within the inflator and could cause the inflator housing to rupture.”

If the airbag housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin—a potentially disastrous outcome from a supposedly life-saving device.

Cars affected include automakers Honda, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Saab, Subaru and Toyota dating back to the 2001 model year.

Automakers are required to send you a recall notice if your vehicle is under recall. But a quick way to find out, without waiting for your automaker’s recall notice, is go to the Transportation Department’s safety recall website https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/vinLookup or click here.

By entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), you can find out if your vehicle is subject to the Takata air bag recall or any other safety recalls.

Source: Consumer Reports

~Éowyn

Greek hospitals run out of supplies, turn patients away due to budget cuts

Greece bankrupt

Ben Tufft for the UK’s Independent, May 23, 2015, that Greece’s insolvency and indebtedness that left millions unemployed and 2.5 million without medical insurance (out of a total population in 2o13 of 11.03 million), have also led to huge cuts to the healthcare budget.

The result is that Greek hospitals now find themselves unable to provide even basic provisions for operations and medical procedures because they have run out of supplies as simple and essential as painkillers, scissors and bed sheets.

Despite the new Syriza government’s reducing the €5 fee for attending state hospitals and pledging to hire 4,500 more health workers, healthcare spending has fallen by 25% since 2009, creating shortages of the most basic surgical equipment and leaving too little money to pay nurses’ salaries.

Reports have surfaced of patients being turned away from hospitals because there was no meter to measure their high blood pressure, while others have had to do without painkillers during medical procedures. One patient was even asked to bring their own sheets to hospital.

A trainee surgeon at KAT, a respected state hospital in Athens, said the situation was at “breaking point”: “There is no money to repair medical equipment, no money for ambulances to use for petrol, no money to hire nurses and no money to buy modern surgical supplies.

The news comes as the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, warned the country would run out of money in a matter of weeks. By June 5, Athens must repay the IMF €300m ($330.075 million), but should Eurozone creditors not agree to release a €7.2bn loan it is likely Greece will default. A further €820m ($902.205 million) is due just days later.

It is unclear what this would mean for Greece’s position in the euro club.

A report by Reuters just 3 hours ago says that Greece’s interior minister said today that the government cannot make debt repayments to the IMF next month unless it achieves a deal with creditors. This is the most explicit remarks yet from Athens about the likelihood of default if talks fail.

In 2013, Greece’s government or national debt is 175.1% of the country’s GDP.

~Éowyn

Democrats Are Crybabies

image

Democrats are Crybabies

When I was five and six-years-old there was an expression common to most five and six-year-olds. That expression was crybaby.

A crybaby is someone who pouts and cries when then they don’t get their way. In extreme cases, a crybaby will even pout and cry when they do get their way. Crybabies are absorbed with themselves, and their outbursts often come at the expense of well-meaning people around them.

A common characteristic of crybabies is their refusal to acknowledge evidence, facts, and common sense. It does no good for mom to explain to little Debbie that she can’t have the sandbox all to herself, because other little children came to the park to play in the sandbox, too. Little Debbie will have none of it. She’ll scream and wail until the parents of those other children pull their sons and daughters out of the sandbox and she has it all to herself.

Most children are taught not to be crybabies. They’re taught that part of growing up involves seeing things from the other person’s point of view, that sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the common good, that personal feelings must often be put aside. Those are all lessons that democrats and progressives have never learned.

Democrats and progressives live life according to their feelings. If something makes them feel good, then they demand it, regardless of the consequences to other people. Like the example of Debbie above in her sandbox, they live in a myopic world ruled by their own capricious desires. They are the ultimate crybabies.

When Lincoln and the Republican Party abolished slavery, petulant Democrats flew into a rage and created the Ku Klux Klan. For more than a hundred years, they terrorized both black and white Americans. Why? Because their feelings were hurt and they didn’t get their way.

Today, 150 years later, that racism still exists in the Democratic Party via welfare, affirmative action, and dumbed down education.

More recently, we’ve seen crybaby Democrats take to the streets in looting frenzies in Missouri and Baltimore. Why? Because the media fed them a false narrative that hurt their feelings. Their reaction? Wail, scream and pout.

Have you ever seen a toddler fly into a rage and knock down a store display or hurl their own toys against the wall? Ask yourself whether there’s really any difference between that child and the childish adults you saw acting out in Ferguson and Baltimore.

Have you ever seen a toddler throw a fit in a supermarket or other public place? You would think that any reasonable parent would take the child quietly outside until they cooled down. However, my experience has been the opposite. I almost always see the parent ignoring the child, who continues to scream, wail and destroy, much to the detriment of the other shoppers. The parent doesn’t care about those other shoppers.

Ask yourself whether there’s really any difference between the actions of those parents and the actions of the Democratic Governor of Missouri, who apparently ordered the National Guard to stand down during the recent riots, or the actions of the Democratic Mayor of Baltimore who gave the rioters “space to destroy.”

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Are you beginning to see a connection between the actions of the parent and that of the crybaby child, and the actions of the leaders in the Democrat Party and that of the crybaby rioters? Each one feeds the other, and it all stems from a lack of maturity, a refusal to face reality, and a total disregard for the wellbeing of others.

The parent of that crybaby child is unconcerned with that child’s future development. Their only concern is with their feelings in the present moment, even if it hurts the child. Likewise, the leadership of the Democratic Party is unconcerned with the future development of society and its citizens. Their only concern is with their present feelings, even if it hurts the very people who look to them for leadership.

Crybabies and those who enable them have no concern for the rights or feelings of others. Their only concern is with themselves. For a child or five or six, that’s understandable. For an adult who belongs to the Democrat Party or calls themselves Progressive, it’s inexcusable.

Democrats are crybabies.

Pentecost Sunday: How to listen to the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:1-4

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

pentecost2

Today, the universal Church celebrates Pentecost, the arrival of the Holy Spirit, whom our Lord Jesus Christ sends to be with us, always. Given His importance, it is distressing how little we actually know about the Third Person of the Triune Godhead.

This much we know, from Jesus’ own words: The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete (advocate, counselor, comforter) and the “Spirit of truth”.

John 15:16-27; 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father,
he will testify to me.
And you also testify,
because you have been with me from the beginning.

I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own,
but he will speak what he hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine
and declare it to you.”

Given that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth itself, it is important that we seek and heed His counsel.

But how? How do we listen, and how do we know when the Holy Spirit speaks?

Here are some suggestions from Charisma News and a few from my experience:

1. Pray for wisdom: “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” With sincerity and humility, ask the Holy Spirit to counsel, enlighten and guide you, especially when you have just received Holy Communion and/or before the Eucharist in the tabernacle.

2. Listen to the Spirit: The Holy Spirit speaks to us in many ways —

  • In the Bible: God is always speaking through His Word. Apply what you read to your life and you’ll position yourself for additional truth and wisdom—no matter how God communicates it to you. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
  • As a still, small voice in our mind.
  • As a flash of understanding.
  • In a dream or vision: St. Joseph was told by an angel to “not be afraid to take Mary as your wife” (Matthew 1:20). St. Peter fell into a trance (see Acts 10:10). St. Paul had supernatural encounters—whether in the body or out of the body, he did not know (see 2 Cor. 12:13). St. John wrote the entire book of Revelation based on a supernatural vision.
  • Through our surroundings in our daily lives: God spoke to Solomon through his practical experiences, an account of which is in Proverbs 24:30-34: “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles covered its surface, and the stone wall was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it; I looked on it and received instruction: Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, so your poverty will come like a stalker, and your need as an armed man.” If you keep a listening ear, you’ll discover that God will speak to you through and about many things just as you go about your everyday life.

3. How do we know that it’s the Holy Spirit speaking to us:

  • By the message’s goodness: Remember that the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Triune Godhead. He will never counsel you to do ill or harm.
  • By its persistence: When the Holy Spirit wants you to do something, He can be very persistent.
  • By your sense of peace: When you listen and heed His counsel, your heart, mind and soul will be at peace. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7.

For a beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit, go here.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!

~Éowyn

Irony Alert: Shell protesters damage West Seattle dive park habitat

shell protestors

Mynorthwest.com: The activists protesting Shell oil and the impacts drilling has on the environment left behind material used to anchor their protest barge in a popular dive park. The barge known as “The People’s Platform” was parked over the dive park near Seacrest Park during last weekend’s protest of Shell and the Polar Pioneer oil rig.

Divers found cement blocks, cables and chains used to anchor the barge, according to Joe Smillie, spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources aquatic division. “They were mooring [the barge] with cement blocks and cables,” Smillie said. Those are now on the floor of Elliott Bay.

The damage to the park was minimal, Smillie said. Protesters will not face a fine, but will have to pay for the cost of cleanup; that cost has not been determined. It’s a popular dive location because it’s a habitat for octopus, Smillie added. The barge is being relocated to an approved area for non-commercial vessels, Smillie said. It can remain there for 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Department of Natural Resources is requesting more information regarding Foss Maritime’s plans with the oil rig parked off the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5. The oil rig is in an area that only allows for temporary use, Smillie said. The department is asking Foss how long it plans to keep the Polar Pioneer at its present location.

State-owned aquatic lands platted as waterways are generally reserved as “highways” for navigation under state law. Short-term use, such as loading and unloading, is allowed. However, the oil rig may be violating those laws, Smillie said.

“We’ve asked them for information for their plans, how long they plan to be there, and if they need a permit from us to be moored outside Terminal 5,” he said.

Any long-term storage in the area where the oil rig is moored is not allowed under the State Constitution, Smillie added.

I wonder if all these protestors rode their bikes to the park, wore plant-based material clothing, and used kayak’s made of wood?

See also:

DCG