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A Personal Thanksgiving Letter From Your Editor

yellow flower iv

Oath Keepers Founder and President Stewart Rhodes asked me to compose a brief Thanksgiving message for all of our members and friends. Knowing my tendency toward verbosity he did ask me to be brief. The following is as brief as I could be… and I’m stating right up front that this letter is from me personally, in a way I do not usually speak to our membership, offered with thanks to you the reader personally.

After focusing on Ferguson, amnesty, porous borders, financial chicanery in the gold/silver markets, ongoing wars abroad, the militarization of police in America, the distant but approaching drumbeats of “martial law” coming to America, the plight of this nation’s war Veterans and their families, and myriad other pressing concerns like Benghazi, IRS abuse of Tea Party groups, Presidential abuse of executive orders, constant attacks on our Second Amendment rights, and indeed even the incessant assault on our Constitution itself, among other matters of concern, I have to say that Stewart’s assignment to write something for our people on the occasion of Thanksgiving is a very welcome and pleasing task me.

So this will be a letter from your friendly editor, and it shall reflect my own personal thankfulness, which I hope will inspire all readers to take heart in the face of the seeming disintegration of our way of life.  For a moment let us put aside all the concerns of recent times and reflect on a goodness in life, a goodness each of us knows is there, deeply rooted in our families and our communities, in our way of life, our values and moral codes of honor. Goodness is a good thing. You may quote me on that.

I was recently interviewed by some people from the History Channel, and in that interview I noted for the camera that I am an “unemployed poet”.  Off camera, the journalist and photographer wanted me to define that a bit, so I just asked them to try to recall the last time either of them saw a want-ad in their local newspaper calling for a poet. They both grinned, for they, like the rest of you reading this, had to admit that they had not seen a want-ad for a poet. Truth be known, it’s hard to find a job as a poet. Nobody hires poets, it would seem. Poets have to make their way in other ways, for the most part. It’s been that way since the beginning of language, and I see no sign, sooth, or symbol which indicates it will ever change. Yet the muse abideth, none the less.

The beginning of my seventh decade in this old, well-worn body is staring me in the face now, and I’ve yet to publish a collection of poems from those I’ve written over the years, even though that Good Grey Usher whom some call the Eternal Footman is nipping at my heels. I am an honorably discharged U.S. Marine and Veteran of the Viet Nam war. I was dosed with Agent Orange when I served in Viet Nam, and the fact that I’m sixty-nine years of age is a blessing for which I’m daily thankful. Each moment of each day is a precious gift to every man or woman who has been in war and made it back home from war. The shadow of death illumines one’s eye for life itself, and the presence of beauty in one’s world.

The incredible indelible beauty of the miracle of existence confronts me every moment of every day, and that miracle, radiant and brilliant and stunningly so, distracts my old heart with ventures into what I fondly call the “fields of the flowers of mind”, where I register my thankfulness to my higher self and to what our Founders referred to as “Nature’s God”. Part of goodness includes taking pause to smell the flowers, and to perhaps reflect upon the obvious fact that flowers are quite unnecessary, quite fragile in a brutal world, and yet are everywhere the eye casts, calling out to mankind to remember “beauty”.

As one who is thankful to find beauty in this world I do believe that its time I share a bit of my secret life as a poet with Oath Keepers readers, especially with you, personally. I will introduce this by first speaking about figurative language, the tools of the poet. Included in the poet’s tool chest are abstractions such as “similie”, “metaphor”, “irony”, “personification”, “alliteration”, “symbol”, “synecdoche”, “metonymy”, “allegory”, “paradox”, “hyperbole”, “allusion”, “tone”, and even “onomatopoeia”. Such are the tools of the figurative wordsmith, created by human mental states derived from observation and experience down through the centuries of written history.  On this Thanksgiving Day I’d like to dwell specifically on the tool called “metaphor”. To introduce the term metaphor, I’d like to offer readers a little poem entitled simply “Church Flower”. After we read that poem I’ll talk about how the poem brings before our visionary powers a message of enduring hope and a challenge for America, embodied in an extended metaphor.

Church Flower

Tuesday brings no dutiful deacon
nor member of the fold;
the church is ringed about outside
with autumn leaves and cold;
a distant sun with teasing light
dances the window-sill
with shadows made ‘neath the slender bend
of the flower time shall kill.

Old widow Gray on Sunday last
offered the bloom in taste,
placing it with black-gloved hands
upon the sill, envased.
And all who heard the Word of God
that morning saw the act;
black fingers ’round a golden face
for a moment’s timeless pact.

I came on board with Oath Keepers as soon as Stewart Rhodes invited me. As I stated at the Bundy ranch down in Nevada on the fifth anniversary of Oath Keepers, this past April 19, 2014, Oath Keepers has been very good for me. As an aging war Veteran who cherishes the America we seem to be losing, and as an unemployed poet, I can not think of any better way to honor that Oath I swore back in 1965 than to give my all to Stewart Rhodes’ vision and the organization which has grown out of that vision – the one organization which has revived in the national discourse over the past five and a half years the meaning carried in that Oath required by Article VI. I am thankful for that opportunity which Stewart’s idea provided to me, and thankful to work with so many wonderful patriots – our members, our local chapter leaders, our State chapter leaders, my fellow Board members, and all the other patriots across America who are daily spreading the light about our Constitution. And that is the metaphor the poem above only hints at in the abstract.

Our Constitution is like a golden flower. The Light of Truth gives it its fair color, outlines its form, and thereby uplifts every eye with hope that the “unalienable rights” which each person brings by birth into this world shall be protected by the highest law of the land.  Yet the fingers of darkness surround it, have placed it in a confined and redefined place, left it abandoned in an empty church, isolated it aside from the hurried and harried steps of the crowd, the human congregation, who bow to the thousand and one flies in the market place or to the contests in the stadium or to the entertainments in the theater or even to the sofa facing the TV set. As the poet Leonard Cohen once put it,

“The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor.”


Will that dutiful deacon, the American patriot, come by on the morrow, before prayer meeting, and water that flower? Will we, as patriots, embrace our commonality, pour from our hearts in universal gratitude and thankfulness the saving river of our combined love, which we find in fealty and beauty, in family and friend, and thereby water that flower to keep it alive? Shall not we actually live the Constitution , to keep it alive?

Only time shall tell, of course; but the ravages of time have been held back for some two-hundred twenty-five years already, thanks to all who cared and served across many generations. For that I know all reading this are thankful, and for that I too am thankful. I will close this letter with my favorite metaphor, a line written by Dylan Thomas long ago. I offer it as  a gift which defines the essence of metaphor. My life as an amateur poet has always striven to at least once, just once before I die, put pen to a line as powerfully dynamic and alive as this metaphor by Thomas:

“The force which through the green fuse drives the flower” – Dylan Thomas 1937


And to that title line I would now, on Thanksgiving 2014, add this in grace and gratitude – That same force drives every member of this organization to honor one’s Oath to the Constitution. To all you Firefighters, Rirst Responders, police and deputies, military current-serving and all who’ve retired or are Veterans, and to all who have never served that way but who support those who honor their Oath with your membership dues and gifts, Oath Keepers wants you to know you are appreciated for standing strong in good conscience through thick and thin in a turbulent world.

We are thankful for your continuing service with your ongoing support of this organization. In a brief five and a half years you have implanted in the national mind a remembrance of the Oath, it is on the tongue of everyone, even politicians, and the project is thus far a triumph, thanks to each of you.

Stewart wanted you to know that, and I’m glad he asked me to be the one to word it. All of us at Oath Keepers national wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with a peace that glows only in the fields of the flowers of one’s personal inner soul, in the good soil of one’s mind. Thank you for keeping the candle burning.

Happy Thanksgiving, Oath Keepers!

Salute!

Elias Alias, editor

NOTE FROM STEWART:

On this day of Thanksgiving, let us take time to give thanks for the chance we have to turn back the tide of darkness and fight the good fight to save human liberty, in defense of our God given rights.  We should be thankful that we were born in this time, so that we may step into the breach, and be thankful that we were born Americans, so that we would be here, where the crucial battle for liberty will take place.   The Founders relied on divine providence and the assistance of Almighty God in their time of need.   Let us do our utmost, but let us not also forget the God of Hosts, upon whom we must rely for strength and wisdom.  Remember, duty is ours – results are God’s.  Let us do our duty.

And today, let us raise a toast to the Oath Keepers volunteer Security Team standing watch out in the cold in Ferguson, Missouri.

OK Israel guarding from roof

Israel a U.S. Army veteran and Oath Keeper, stands guard on a rooftop in Ferguson, MO.

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Oath Keepers standing guard in Ferguson on Thanksgiving Eve.

Thanks to them, four shop owning families will have a joyful Thanksgiving, with their shops saved from arsonists (who would otherwise have burnt them to the ground).  Happy Thanksgiving, Sam, John, and the rest of the Oath Keepers crew there in Ferguson!  And Happy Thanksgiving to the good people of Ferguson they protect.  Let us pray for the safety of our team there, so they may fulfill their chosen duty and then go home to their families once the task is done.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!   And God bless the Republic.

Stewart Rhodes

Founder and President of Oath Keepers

Original url for this article at Oath Keepers is:

https://oathkeepers.org/oath/2014/11/27/a-personal-thanksgiving-letter-from-your-editor/

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26 comments

  1. Thank you Elias,for this heart felt beautiful letter. I hope and pray every day for our country and all who serv her. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS THE U.S.A.
    Dennis F. Conolly

  2. Thank you for your moment of sharing a very moving message with all of us who are able to “hear”. It is rare these days to hear such sincerity, and it’s very refreshing. May you live long(er) and be in good health.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone here at Oathkeepers!

    Elias, ever think to see if your poems can be set to music and sung?

  4. Elias,

    When I got up this morning, I was going to compose a Thanksgiving message to friends & family.

    You have done it for me, so I am merely forwarding your letter with comments.

    My prayer for Thanksgiving:

    Dear Heavenly Father,

    May those of us who believe in You remember to be grateful for our blessings.
    Both today, and on every other day. Too often, we overlook, or take for granted,
    the blessings you have given us.

    Please grant us the courage, wisdom, discernment, & judgement to cope with what
    is coming upon us. Let us not falter in our allegiance to You, our nation,
    or our fellow man.

    I ask this in the name of your Son, our redeemer & salvation.

    Amen

    “I pledge alliegence to the flag, and to the REPUBLIC, for which it stands . . ”

    Republic. Not democracy, not oligarchy, and certainly not tyranny.

    Muley

  5. With the promise of impending violence in Ferguson, MO, hanging over our heads for the last 90 days, I wasn’t sure we were going to enjoy another Thanksgiving as a free nation. Thankfully it appears that that apprehension was misplaced. My heart goes out to the honest, law-abiding folks in Ferguson who have seen their livelihoods burned to the ground. I even pray for the souls of those who did the burning. I pray that someone or something comes along to drive the hate from the hearts of those who wake up every day embracing that hate.

    One of my favorite poems, written by Rudyard Kipling nearly a century ago is probably more pertinent today than at any time since Kipling wrote it:

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings

    AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
    I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
    Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

    We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
    That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
    But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
    So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

    We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
    Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
    But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
    That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

    With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
    They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
    They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
    So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

    On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
    (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
    Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and God bless the United States of America

    Retired Navy Spook
    LCDR Stan Needham
    Signals Intelligence Officer, USNR-Retired

  6. Thank you for articulating what many of us feel and believe but do not have the voice to express.
    My father, my brother, my husband were all vets (WW2, Sub Service, Vietnam) and although I have never served, other than an EMT and RN, I fully support and believe in the oaths taken by all of you.

    In order to preserve our Republic we must all work together to fight ” the militarization of police in America, the distant but approaching drumbeats of “martial law” coming to America, the plight of this nation’s war Veterans and their families, … constant attacks on our Second Amendment rights, and indeed even the incessant assault on our Constitution itself.” as our Editor so put it.

    On this Thanksgiving Day, I thank God for all of you and those who have gone before you.
    Thank you for your service, and may God bless you.

  7. I love poetry… thank you for sharing yours… and for your service … My favorite from childhood… and I am now 66 is still The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere… ‘for the COUNTRY FOLK to be up and to arm’…(did they have to obtain a pistol permission slip…hahaha). Experiencing the demise of America though beyond repugnant drives me closer to my Lord and my God. The scripture: 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways,then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”. (I thought my wicked way was not praying enough for those in authority in our government…). It dawned on me at 3am right after I saw the revolting news that the illegal obama desires to “influence” American businesses to hire illegals (gee isnt that a crime??) and offers the bribe of $3000… Oh I was so angry and after expressing my inability to God how to pray for obama in English… or is it Spanish,… should I press 1 or 2… The Holy Spirit quickened the above scripture and i realized that scripture is talking to me… to let the Holy Spirit purge me of my ” wicked ways and sins” (which i have come to know are called “strongholds in the soul”). These strongholds remain even after a person accepts Jesus and they hinder our walk and effectiveness! Letting the Holy Spirit destroy these “strongholds of the soul” frees us to have LIFE and LIFE more abundantly and be vessels God can better flow through today and in the evil times ahead… to be a blessing to the lost before REAL HELL BREAKS LOSE on this earth. Those evil (corrupt govt authorities) those without a relationship with God will in the future… when they think they have won be faced with their absolute and abject total and complete failure and know eternal TERROR like never before… Please make sure you are right with God through Jesus for I would like to thank you and spend Eternity with Honorable, Genuine Patriotic, God Revering American Citizens who have done all they could to promote Truth, Freedom and Godliness. Death is not the end of life but for those who trust in the Lord (have received eternal life now) it is the last door to go through to spend eternity with the only One worthy of Following completely. There is coming a new heaven and a new earth … Blessings. check out this great website http://www.daveroberson.org

  8. It was a wonderful letter that I very much appreciated in these troubling times. You have captured how delicate our freedom is by using the metaphor of a beautiful, but delicate, flower to describe America’s Constitution. Unfortunately our Constitution has been marginalized and twisted to support our current government’s march towards socialism or worse. Our country has been fractured in so many ways in order to destroy the fabric of our country that has made it the world’s beacon of freedom and prosperity.

    The future does not look good for our country. Our military is being weakened to the point we may not be able to defend ourselves, our economy is in shambles, our debt is almost at a point that we will not be able to payoff, mind numbing drugs are now legal and our Christian religion is under attack. We are very close to a “perfect storm” that may start a second Civil War. A story in my newspaper from the FBI states that they expect on this Black Friday approximately 40 new requests every minute from 48,000 gun retailers for criminal background on people wanting weapons. People do not trust our government anymore!

  9. Elias,

    You are a competent and thoughtful wordsmith. Thank you for your Thansgiving wishes. Back at you all Oath Keepers.

    Mark Odenbach

  10. HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!!!!!!!!

    FROM THE GUY WHO INVITED YOU TO GET IN THE SHADE TO TALK, AT BUNDY RANCH.

  11. Thank You Alias and thank you to Stewart and all the Oath Keepers who have never given up on their Oaths and who continue to fight the battle to preserve the Constitution and America and all that is great about this nation and the real American patriots that live in it. I feel honored to have met so many great dedicated people thru the association with the Oath Keepers. You all are awesome. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving and especially to all our troops who could not be home with us today! God Bless!!

  12. Very nice words indeed, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you too Elias Alias, along with the rest of the OK staff. May we all be thankful to HaShem for all he has given us for everything is his…

  13. Alias, your words of wisdom never cease to uplift and encourage me. I know that you have a daunting task before you, one that you take on and accomplish with the vigor of your former youth and the wisdom of your present age. Your minds eye shows the will and dedication that is in all of us and sets the example for all who have their own eyes wide open to see. Thank you friend, thank you for all that you do for us and our nation. Together there is no doubt that with the providence of our creator we will succeed in our honorable and righteous quest for the Republic to make that beautiful flower of liberty grow and thrive in all peoples minds once again.

  14. As I was reading your Great artical, A tear came to my eye as I started to reflect on the direction our country is going,but knowing that with leaders like you,Stewart and all the other patriots of the Republic, A smile came to my face, as I knew we WILL get back to the way our Founders wanted it to be>

  15. I am thankful for many things and high up on that list are you, Elias, Stewart, all the board members, leadership, and members of Oath Keepers. Stewart’s brilliant concept of Oath Keepers is making a huge difference in our country. More people than we can know have been reminded that their oath is to the Constitution, not any person, and does not expire. Even those who don’t or can’t join often say, “We’re with you”.

    Happy Thanksgiving and thank you to all of you!

  16. A wonderfully written piece Elias. I am so honored to have you as a friend and brother that has shared so much of your wisdom and time with me. Semper Fi Brother !!

  17. Well said as usual, Elias. I, too, am proud of our members. Here in Indiana I have the honor to work with a diverse and amazing group of committed Patriots. I pray daily for the courage, strength, and wisdom to continue to lead by the example set by our National leadership.
    Thank you for a very moving Thanksgiving message. I wonder why someone doesn’t employ poets. Huge oversight.

    Rick

  18. As an interested citizen I thank you all each and everyone, veterans, patriots. Thank you Stewart for this site for me to stumble onto, waking me up. I once was a foolish person exercising my liberty as if I was untouchable. Elias, with your patience. It is not ironic to say but it is just how bad it is right now, that last night at 4am a four tap knock took place on my front door. I was downstairs, same room and my dogs scared them off. I was ready awake and waiting inside.

  19. Help Wanted

    Wanted: One poet. Must be understanding of the uniqueness of each human spirit, and its longing to be free. Use of language, both with metaphor and simile, helpful.Verbosity not required, but not objectionable. Please send a sample of your poetry with a statement of your wisdom and life experiences.

    This position has been filled. Thank you, Elias.

  20. Thank you Elias and Stewart and all American patriots. Thank you all on this Thanksgiving day 2014. God gives me more reason to choke up with pride and shed another tear each time I see our flag unfurl. God Bless.

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