Tag Archives: Peace

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

“Know the Power that Is Peace” – Black Elk. Visitor Center, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
Custer National Cemetery, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. South of Hardin, Montana.

Rows and rows of white headstones, often with an American flag carefully placed at the base of each one, are a common image on Memorial Day Weekend here in the United States. This morning – Memorial Day – I found myself thinking about my visit to Little Bighorn National Monument early in May and realized I had photos of rows and rows of white headstones.

Custer National Cemetery, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Looking toward the Bighorn Mountains.

Away from the cemetery are gravestones to mark where men fell in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn was fought along the ridges, steep bluffs, and ravines of the Little Bighorn River, in south-central Montana on June 25-26, 1876. The combatants were warriors of the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes, battling men of the 7th Regiment of the US Cavalry. The Battle of the Little Bighorn has come to symbolize the clash of two vastly dissimilar cultures: the buffalo/horse culture of the northern plains tribes, and the highly industrial/agricultural based culture of the United States.

Context & Story of the Battle, https://www.nps.gov/libi/learn/historyculture/battle-story.htm
Hillside of Custer’s Last Stand

I grew up in eastern Montana and knew of the battle as “Custer’s Last Stand” – a terrible defeat for the cavalry.

Part of the Battlefield

But for the warriors who were defending their homeland, it was a great victory.

“That night the Lakota men, women, and children lighted many fires and danced; their hearts were glad for the Great Spirit had given them a great victory.”

– Etched on the Indian Memorial, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
A Great Victory
The Warriors

“An Indian memorial to honor Native American participation in the Battle of the Little Bighorn, June 25-26, 1876, and to change the name of Custer Battlefield National Monument to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, was authorized by Congress in 1991 and signed into law by former President George H. W. Bush on December 10, 1991.”

From the sign describing the Indian Memorial

The design of the Indian Memorial is circular. It includes the etchings of the warriors (above) and words of “A Great Victory.” It also has a remarkable metal sculpture (below) and quotations from Native Americans.

Isn’t it interesting how we frame a story based on our particular experiences, culture, heritage, and more? What might we learn if we were to truly listen to a different narrative of the same event? Whose story do I/we need to hear today?

Musing: Beyond Christmas

Christms Elf with Book. Photo: TLCLark, 12/2019.

Christmas has come and gone. Except for Orthodox Christians who are celebrating today. As I get ready to pack up decorations two memories and a poem come to mind.

My favorite new memory: the cheering of a child at the end of every Christmas carol at the family friendly Christmas Eve service we attended. It felt like a celebration of the music. But could easily have been a cheering of the lyrics. Joyful and absolutely appropriate.

Another lingering memory: the Peace Candles at both Urbandale United Church of Christ and Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church (Ankeny). Each had been lit from a flame that began in Bethlehem and was carried to Austria and across Europe, flown to New York City and passed throughout the United States. So many, many prayers for peace.

Peace Candle on Communion Table along with a Menorah used during the Time with Children as the pastor read the book The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate. Photo: TLClark, 12/24/19.

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

by Howard Thurman