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

Groce Funeral Home, Asheville, NC, leader in green burial

As the times change so do our needs for caring for the deceased.         Some local funeral homes like Groce Funeral Home, Asheville, NC are now offering alternative natural burials referred to as green burials.

Natural Burial like Groce Funeral Home, Asheville, NC may provideWhat are green burials?

Green burials require the adoption of burial practices that are energy-conserving, minimize waste, and do not require the use of toxic chemicals.

They prohibit the use of vaults and lids, concrete boxes, and slabs. Burial containers must be made from natural/plant derived materials and have a naturalistic appearance. They must be based on use of plants and materials native to the region and use landscape compatible with regional ecosystems. Local funeral homes have begun to incorporate these concepts such as Groce Funeral Home. Asheville, NC.

Who is interested in green burial?

  • People aged 25-44 are more interested than older age groups.
  • 44% of people who identify as spiritual (but not religious) are seriously interested compared to 20-25% of people in other faiths.
  • People who consider hiking more fun than reading, watching TV, or shopping.
  • 40%-50% of people who support an environmental organization, eat organic food or spend their money on green products.
  • 31% of people consider the environmental impact of remains one of their top 3 concerns.
  • 90% of people consider the loved one’s wishes in their top 3.

Are green burials more affordable?

Natural Burial site like Groce Funeral Home, Asheville, NC might offerAffordable North Carolina Green Funerals allow families to customize their memorial services prior to or at the graveside. Learn more and watch this trailer: A Will For The Woods.

What you can do in the way of planning, acquiring support, and finding local providers for green burial.

Groce Funeral Home, Asheville, NC is one of a select group of funeral providers approved by the Green Burial Council (www.greenburialcouncil.org) in WNC; a nonprofit organization that encourages the use of burial as a means of facilitating the restoration, acquisition, and stewardship of natural areas.

Another local facility that offers green burial is the Garden of Nature’s Renewel which is now open at Moore Funeral Home at Forest Lawn in Candler, NC, also certified by the Green Burial Council.

Green Hills Cemetery, Asheville, NC, members of the National Green Burial Council honor the balance of the land welcoming home a life well lived. They support environmentally sustainable alternatives. Within their historic cemetery they have established areas that are logical choices for green burials.

Education appears to be a key factor in creating awareness around alternative forms of burial. Contact any of the following local providers; Groce Funeral Home, Asheville NC, Moore Funeral Home at Forest Lawn, NC or Green Hills Cemetery, NC, for additional information on how they may help you in providing a natural burial for yourself or your loved one.

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?

PiccassoDove

 

 

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.

 

Spread the word…and we will spread our wings!

In loving memory of my father, Richard Gaunt Oct. 16th, 1924-August 10, 2013

Dad & Little Wingsmall

Dad feeding Little Wing
May, 2013

My father was one of my greatest supporters and cheer leaders in my life.  He seemed to maintain a true appreciation for life and for all people, whether they were the waitress at the waffle house, the ticket lady at the movie theater or the President of the United States, he showed unconditional love and respect.  He always asked for a name, always tipped, and treated people with love and kindness because he genuinely cared about them.  Dad didn’t have a lot of money yet he was one of the richest people in my life with the generosity of his heart.

And when his physical heart could not pump out that love any longer he said goodbye.  

 

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.