Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Memorial Day in Fandom

A colleague of mine in the Northern California Local Council (Mother of All LCs) of CoG, Kitty Crowe, was honored this past weekend at BayCon, an annual science fiction/fantasy gathering. Monday being Memorial Day, this is what they did to commemorate it:

This past Memorial Day weekend at BayCon (a local San Francisco Bay Area Science fiction convention held annually over Memorial Day weekend - this was #25) at which I was Fan Guest of Honour, Diana Paxson* (the con's Fantasy Writer Guest of Honour) conducted a Memorial Day ritual on Sunday as part of convention programming (which also included Christian and Jewish services).

Ours was held outdoors in a gazebo on the hotel grounds rather than inside in a function room. The altar cloth was printed with a stars and stripes flag design, and a replica of Lady Liberty graced the center. Diana wrote a very moving ritual in which we invoked various founding fathers and specific significant presidents for the quarters, requesting their aid and guidance as we deal with the current military deployments in the Middle East, as well as asking their blessings upon all those involved in protecting and defending our rights and freedoms both at home and abroad. As we passed the horn we remembered those who have fought and died defending our freedoms, and also praised those who had fought the VA so long and hard and finally won the right for Pagans in the armed forces and their spouses to have the pentacle on their headstones in the national cemeteries.

It was a very moving experience.

We plan to hold something similar at the upcoming Westercon in San Mateo over the weekend preceeding the 4th of July (before Diana heads off to Washington, D.C. to participate in similar events there on July 4th).
When I wrote to Kitty for permission to quote her here, she added:

Oh, and we sang the Star-Spangled banner - all four verses (thoughtfully provided by Diana).
If others are inspired to recreate this ritual, I believe copies of the script may be available from Diana. The other option is the time-honored Pagan one of creating your own ritual in honor of Lady Liberty and in support of our Constitution and our military.

* Diana is also a member of NCLC-CoG.

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