Pentagon, the Pride and the Pain
Recently, I went to Washington, DC, United States (US) to officiate at the marriage of my niece, Tahalia Barrett, to Louis Chang at the War Memorial, which is a monument to persons who fought in the World War and gave their lives on behalf of others in the name of freedom. This was very symbolic because Tahalia's grandfather, Willard Dick (DICK W.S. 715698 AC1), served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. While in DC, I toured the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense - a symbol of willingness to sacrifice one's life for a greater cause.
Sacrificing one's life is an important tenet within the Christian Faith. Christianity claims that Jesus, the Christ, died on behalf of humans in order that they might experience forgiveness of sins. In addition, Christians are expected to offer their lives for the advancement of humanity.
Edna Manley, sculptor, was the first to proclaim Paul Bogle as a martyr by evoking the image of Jesus on the Cross in her statue of Bogle, thereby placing Bogle as a martyr for the Christian Faith. National Hero Paul Bogle knew that his life was at risk and he engaged deliberately in his fight against inequality and injustice as a outworking of his Christian Faith. In that sense he is a martyr. One of the legacies of Bogle is the inspiration to be willing to offer our lives to make the world a better and safer place.
Likewise, The Pentagon is an important institution in the name of freedom and safety not only for the USA but also her allies, including Jamaica. I visited the Pentagon Memorial built in remembrance of 9/11. It honours the 184 people whose lives were lost at the Pentagon and on the American Airlines Flight 77 and all those who sacrificed so that we may live in freedom. When the Jamaica-born senior executive assistant to the assistant secretary of defense escorted us, one still feels the pain of that attack.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The Pentagon is prepared not only for attacks from outside but also from home-grown terrorists. There are approximately 30,000 persons (military and civilian) who have employment at The Pentagon, which is like a city with the ability to be self-sustaining for months. The Pentagon, with its five sides, five floors (excluding basement floors) and five ring corridors per floor, provides a sense of safety and security in a dangerous and wicked world. One feels comfortable to know the 'good guys' are on our side. Billions of dollars have been spent on The Pentagon to make the US safer, and to some extent, the world. We should be proud of The Pentagon and be in solidarity.
Support of The Pentagon does not mean unquestioned loyalty to the US. Even Donald Trump, Republican presidential hopeful, said that the world would have been a safer place if Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya were alive. Additionally, US President Barack Obama apologised for deaths caused by drone strikes in Afghanistan. There are elements of the US's foreign policy, including the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that Jamaica must question. However, our commitment to law enforcement must not waver.
In that spirit, the Seventh-day Adventist Church should be commended for its commitment to improving the working conditions of the police. In addition, citizens must share information with the police so that criminals are brought to justice and lawyers and their clients should not be allowed to frustrate justice by using delaying tactics.
Jamaica needs to be inspired by The Pentagon and allocate the necessary resources to make Jamaica a peaceful country.
PS: In last week's article there was a typo - it is 'Native Baptists' and not 'native Baptists'. The former is a specific denomination while the later refers to persons of African origin who were Baptists but did not belong to the Native Baptist denomination.
- Reverend Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.