Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Little D's Mission Call

My eensy weensiest widdle baby brother Little D is now a shocking 19 years old, and he just got his mission call. He's going to Independence, Missouri!

I had just gotten engaged to FH when Little D was born, so I've always considered Little D to be a sort of an upper bound on how old my kids could be if I'd screwed up. The thought that I could be the mother of a child going on a mission right now is... a little bit scary.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9/12 Protests May Set Record

I wondered how attendance at the 9/12 March On DC compared with other protests in DC. So I went to Wikipedia-- yes, not the most reliable source, but I was looking for back-of-the-envelope type figures-- to see if I could figure out what the largest protests there were. I figured I'd allow any sort of estimate, just for fun, including organizer estimates that tend to be on the high side. I know it's hard to estimate crowds, especially when people come and go instead of coming at the beginning and staying till the end. Media organizations often get their estimates too low for various non-bias reasons. [I've commented before (though not here, I think) that media estimates of Tea Party events in Salt Lake City were low despite a politically friendly media, because the media came and shot their video and made their estimates in the first half-hour of the event but people were streaming in and leaving after it had been going for an hour, so the local media only counted those who came on time.]

I had figured there would be at least one really big (defined by me as having a top estimate of 500,000+) anti-Iraq War protest, since that issue got a lot of attention. The Guinness Book Of Records evidently recorded 3 million in attendance at an anti-Iraq War rally in Rome. But the four largest protests in DC thatI could find on Wikipedia were an anti-Vietnam War protest at about 500,000, an LGBT protest for equal rights (300,000-1 million), the Million Man March in 1995 (estimates 400,000-1 million, with an independent estimate around 850,000) and the pro-choice March For Women's Lives at 500,000-1.15 million. In the latter three cases the high estimates came from event organizers, and the low estimates from law enforcement and media. Media estimates of the 9/12 March On DC are coming in as high as 2 million, though I can't find a source for the 2 million claim. What is clear, though, is that this protest is somewhere in the ballpark with the two biggest DC protests ever.

That being said, you don't have to be a particularly big protest to make history. The Bonus Army, that I remember from my high school history class, was only about 40,000 strong. Notable among all these protests is that very, very few of them are for what you might consider conservative causes. Today's protest is certainly the largest of that sort.

My 9/11 Post

OK, so I'm a day late and a dollar short; it's the story of my life.

I wanted to share with everyone, in memorial of 9/11/2001, a scripture that helped me through that time. It's from the Book of Mormon, Alma chapter 14 (emphasis mine):
8 And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire.
9 And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.
10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.
12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.
13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not.
On this day 8 years ago, 9/12/01, I took my large framed and matted picture of Captain Moroni out of its frame, and I wrote upon the mat the words of the Title of Liberty: "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children." In this well-known Book of Mormon story, the "in memory of" was not supposed to be a memorial to these things after they're dead, but a reminder of how important they are to us and why we ought to defend them. I had fallen into a rut of complacency and forgotten how essential these commonplace things are to our civilization, and how fragile they are without constant maintenance.

It's really easy to forget about what happened that day. It's painful to think about, so we avoid it, which is only natural since people tend to avoid things that cause pain. And let's face it, it's a busy day, just as busy as all the others. I kept forgetting to put up my flag, and by the end of the day I'd completely forgotten. But that's because I'm such a total space cadet. I did remember it was 9/11 and spared a moment of silence for the dead, read tributes to them online, etc.

Let's not forget, you and I. Next year let's make a better effort to remember.