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May 30th, Memorial Day…a remembrance

Memorial Day 2011Another year has passed and we are steadily approaching summer with Spring in full blossom. This time of year we are also anticipating a welcomed three day holiday weekend. Memorial Day weekend somewhat marks the beginning of our warm season, outdoor activities, picnics, drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and family gatherings. More importantly though, how many of us know the meaning and origin of Memorial Day?
It was originally called Decoration Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Waterloo, NY officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead, officially proclaimed May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. The “30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers , or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion , and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land”, he proclaimed”. The date of Decoration Day , as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. At first the holiday was only recognized by all the northern states and the South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I when the holiday changed to honoring all Americans who died fighting in any war. It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May. It is also a National Federal holiday ensuring a three day weekend. Red Poppies often seen worn at Memorial Day events honoring those who died serving the nation during war were first inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” however Moina Michael replied by writing her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies

For the last 9 years I have had the honor to present white doves as the finale to the Memorial Day event held in nearby Black Mountain, NC. This years event will be on May 30th at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Black Mountain, NC.
The following is a letter I received from last year’s memorial event:
Dear Ms. Gaunt: On behalf of the Buncombe County Veterans Council and the Charles George VA Medical Center, we thank you for your participation in the Memorial Day Program held May 25, 2015. This special day of solemness engenders a call to our Nation to stop, remember, reflect and honor the sacrifices made by those who served. As you know many Veterans remember their comrades every day, this each day is Memorial Day. We are grateful to you as our Nation paused to remember the sacrifices of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guards made in serving our Nation where and when they were needed. Sincerely yours Alyce Knaflich, Chair, Buncombe County Veterans Council and Cynthia Breyfogle, Fache, Medical Center Dirctor, June 29, 2015

Doves…Why do we regard them as symbols of peace?

Doves mate for life, are incredibly loyal to each other and work together to build their nest and raise their young. This fact makes them an excellent choice for wedding themes.  People throughout the world picked up quickly on the idea that doves were dedicated, honorable and continued…peaceful.

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The dove is a bird of peace, eating seeds, easily trained to eat out of the hand or to become domesticated.

Beginning with the Egyptians, the dove was as symbol of quiet innocence.

The Chinese felt the dove was a symbol of peace and long life.

To early Greeks and Romans, doves represented love and devotion, and care for a family. The dove was the sacred animal of Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love.

The dove also symbolized the peaceful soul for many cultures.The Bible continued this symbolism, often referring to the dove as an animal representing love, loyalty, fidelity and honesty. The dove is entrusted with the olive branch when Noah hopes to find a new home for himself and his flock.

The dove often also represents the Holy Spirit. dove-bird-flying-white-spirituality-symbols-of-peace-wing.jpg

In funeral or memorial ceremonies the symbolic representation contributes to a memorable visual presentation which brings comfort to those who have lost a loved one.

Picasso popularized doves again in the 1950s. When WW2 ended, he was asked to create an image for the Peace Conference and he chose the Dove of Peace. This became an instant hit and he continued to portray doves for many years.  Is it any wonder why the dove is a popular logo and symbol throughout the world?

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Baby Boomers are doing things differently…

Times are changing and so are the ways we celebrate life!
Here are a few unique ways that some folks have honored their loved ones.

Doves and Christmas

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It’s not hard to notice the symbol of the dove especially at Christmas time.

Doves are symbolic of peace, purity, love and the Holy Spirit, all important concepts celebrated during the Christmas season.
Because of this, doves became popular as Christmas tree decor.

 

Remembering those who serve….

 

Memorial Day 2011

This Memorial Day, there will many ceremonies to honor those who have served in the armed forces. One such ceremony is just outside Asheville, NC held at the State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain, NC. Please join us in remembering those who serve, and have served at 10 am, Monday, outside the cemetery chapel.

Asheville White Dove Releases has had the honor of presenting the white dove release finale both for Veterans Day and Memorial Day since 2006.

Please watch REMEMBER ME

 

A Special Dove Story Update….continued

Mareta5-9-13On March 9th of 2013 a funeral service was held for Mareta Morgan at the Green Hills Cemetery in Asheville, NC where a white dove release was presented as a tribute to her life.  Unfortunately the final bird was attacked by a hawk which has rarely occurred in the 8 years I have been presenting dove releases however on this day it happened to one young bird.  Following the service I found the small dove, severely injured, who was miraculously alive, brought her home and witnessed her will to survive.  I named her Mareta and was able to establish communication with the daughter of the deceased.  It seems, Mareta the dove kind of became a testimonial to the strength and tenacity of her mother, Mareta, and therefore represented something very special to this family.

I am happy to share that now two months later to date, Mareta the dove appears fully healed.  She recovered most amazingly and is flying here at the house and loft with all the other birds as though she had never had a brush with death.

Notice how you can barely see the spot on her Mareta’s chest…and how she holds her head up proud.  May your will to live and your strength of flight be ours to behold, dear Mareta the dove.

One People, One Bird, One Wish…

For thousands of years, white doves have been a traditional symbol in wedding ceremonies. To the ancient Egyptians, the dove represented quiet innocence. The Chinese saw the dove as a symbol of peace and long life. To early Greeks and Romans, doves symbolized love, devotion, and caring. The dove was the sacred animal of Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of love.dove image
In these ancient cultures, the groom would give a dove to the bride, symbolizing his promise to help care for her and for the family.

These days, Doves are regularly released at weddings as a blessing for the bride and groom.

 

Doves pair up for life, so they are a true representation of love and the eternal commitment that a couple have made.

Continued…This tradition has become hugely popular at weddings in the United States and the UK in recent years. It is also quickly gaining popularity in Australia.

There are many bird fanciers that have put their expertise to providing doves for release at events around the world.

It is really easy to have a spectacular white dove release at your own wedding that is just as enchanting as it would have been for people that participated in the weddings of ancient times (probably much more!).Fontaine Vinyards thumbnail

This tradition has become hugely popular at weddings in the United States and the UK in recent years. It is also quickly gaining popularity in Australia.

There are many bird fanciers that have put their expertise to providing doves for release at events around the world.

It is really easy to have a spectacular white dove release at your own wedding that is just as enchanting as it would have been for people that participated in the weddings of ancient times (probably much more!).

This video gives a beautiful visual and verbal explanation.

The story of Little Wing

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Carried in my warm sweater pocket

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seen with a full crop of food…

In the bird world Spring flings come early with mating and laying in January and February. It has to do with the increase in daylight.  It is not unusual to find the “Rock Doves” in my loft going to nest even though temperatures do not very well support the tiny hatchlings survival in such cold weather. Nevertheless one day while doing my routine feed and watering, there on the floor of the loft not far from what was a makeshift nest was a naked featherless hatchling lying on the floor seemingly dead and quite cold. I picked up the small featherless apparently abandoned bird who was probably only maybe a week old old and put it in my hand discovering that there was still life in it.  I held it for some 20-30 minutes until there was clearly a sign of life and blood flow returning.

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Snuggled like a little kangaroo

Occasionally for whatever reason, of which I do not know or understand, a parent bird will abandon it’s young and this was one of them. There is no restocking of the nest for the parent had made it’s decision and sometimes for good reason.  Most often I allow mother nature and mother bird to take their own course.  Mother knows best and the strong survive. This may be one of those rules of the animal kingdom where we should not intervene.  However, this time I did and the small helpless cold bird came back to life in my warm hand on that very cold February day.

Once the small bird was warmed, hand feeding began, usually twice daily in the first week.  Now I have hand fed many birds in my history of bird-keeping over the years and I must say that it can be a long process depending on the avian species.

Little Wing

Little Wing

The pigeon variety is actually a much shorter period until weening maybe about 6-8 weeks. This I am grateful for!

That afternoon was the beginning of my relationship to Little Wing, LW for short. I will say one thing, she/he (not sure yet) is one of the most photographed Rock Doves in my bird world environment and this story has only begun.

 

Balloons Blow…Don’t Let Them Go!

It will be Earth Day this next Monday, April 22nd, 2013. We are raising awareness about the littering of helium balloons. We will be passing out flyers in our community this weekend advocating alternatives to releasing balloons. One of these, of course, is releasing white doves. We ask that you join us in our campaign and let people know BALLOONS BLOW…DON’T LET THEM GO!

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Easter Sunrise white dove finale’, Erwin, Tenn.

We have been honored for the second year to participate in the annual Easter Sunrise Service in Erwin, Tenn., a courtesy of Valley Funeral Home managed by funeral director, Mike Peterson. ValleyFHEasterSunrise.jpg3

I make my way in the dark to the NC/Tenn. overpass before dawn to arrive at Evergreen Cemetery just before the first light of the day.  A small gathering of dedicated people, dressed warmly for the cold mountain temperatures and slight rain showers, are awaiting this meaningful Easter Sunrise Service. The small crowd all join in prayers and song to celebrate with enthusiasm in their voices. As Christians, there is a strong connection to the symbolic meaning of this holiday.

Michael Peterson awaits the right moment to release the white doves at the Easter Sunrise Service.

Michael Peterson awaits the right moment to release the white doves at the Easter Sunrise Service.

As the sun slowly rises over the mountains and the songs rise to the occasion, the finale of 20+ pure white doves are released from two white baskets symbolizing the joyous recognition of Christ arising.

All eyes are on the doves as they circle once, twice and or three times. There was a quiet feeling of gratitude as we all witnessed the doves join and fly off into the horizon.

And this is how Easter morning began…for one small group of worshipers in their community in Erwin, Tenn. this March 31st, 2013.

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                                                 Hallelujah!