Eulogizing The Proven Patriot Charles Walker Brumskine
By Mwalimu-Koh Moses Blonkanjay Jackson, MsEd, EdM, Veteran Educator, Author, Social Advocate
The 19th Century hymnologist Robert Lowry wrote the highly contemplative hymn which has been sung from time immemorial when we bid farewell to our lost ones with hope that one day we will re-unite: “Shall We Gather at The River, Where Bright Angels Feet Have Trod”
In the chorus Lowry gave us hope when he declared, “Yes, we’ll gather at the river, The beautiful, the beautiful river; Gather with the saints at the river; That flows by the throne of God.
But in the last stanza, he reminds us that man born of a woman has certain days to live on this wretched, troubled, depraved, unpredictable earth, and then to return to his Savior to enjoy the peace that abounds: Soon we’ll reach the silver river; Soon our pilgrimage will cease; Soon our happy hearts will quiver; With the melody of peace.
News of the fall of the great Bassa icon, the astute statesman, scholar and erudite man of jurisprudence, Counsellor Charles Walker Brumskine created mixed moments of grief and reflection within my human agency. Grief because “Indefatigable Death” had passed my way again and snatched one of my best and brightest Bassa brothers. Reflection because freedom had once again lost its glowing form that it raised on Montserrado’s verdant height in 1847, as was narrated by President Edwin J. Barclay in his famous patriotic song, “The Lone Star Forever”
You see, you might agree that death is indefatigable because of its remorseless and relenting posture. Death, unlike a transportation bus driver from Paynesville Red Light to Johnson Street, does not need a car-loader to beckon passengers with consistent yelling, “Johnson street, Johnson Street, Johnson Street, let’s go, one more seat…!”; instead, death drives along the notorious “Grief Avenue” and only pauses at our locations to fetch whomever he has on his list at any time, any place, or under any circumstance.
Like a transportation bus leaving from Red Light to Johnson Street, Death has no time to waste but to pick up his passengers and convey them to the Master’s bosom to return quickly for more passengers. From Red Light, one can negotiate the price before boarding a regular conveyance, but on Indefatigable Death’s conveyance, negotiations are not allowed; not even if it is our learned lawyer, our ambitious Presidential hopeful, or our best and brightest; whether it is our worst, inept and ignorant acquaintance, or one of our close-sighted conceited leaders, or a myopic, prejudiced, blind follower of grotesque political or religious dogmas; Mr. Death takes away passengers with no answers to questions that arise.
Death usually leaves behind excruciating painful situations. It doesn’t therefore require much to understand why Jehovah God, the “I am, the I am” reserved Chauffeur Death as ultimate messenger to strike the callous Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, to set the Hebrews free. When death picks up one of our best, like CWB, ah, how our hearts bleed. Oh death where is thy sting, grave where is your victory?
In these moments, not only are Bassa people grieving nor the Liberty Party, but the whole population and topography of Liberia; this morning, the trees are swaying in agony as the rivers rush downstream but slowly with a gross lack of pomp. This morning, Liberia is bleeding and grieving because our beloved “poor man’s lawyer”, statesman, and presidential candidate just boarded the Chauffeur Death’s conveyance to meet his Savior, face-to-face.
“Ah, death, your sting surely has excruciating pain and agony.
The Patriotic Reflection
You see, over the existence of this presently challenged and staggering state, Mother Liberia has always bred and nurtured sons who marched forward for freedom to defend her sacred heritage. The existing lists concluded briefly on November 20, 2019, with the erudite Counsellor Charles Walker Brumskine who has stood the test of time. During President Charles Taylor’s administration, CWB was the center of much scorn in all and sundry circles when he crafted the controversial “Status of Forces Agreement” while others had descending views of the intent of that document, CWB’s justification was to “defend our sacred heritage”.
A reminisce of Counsellor CWB’s death therefore took me to the patriotic song penned by Edwin James Barclay (1901),
The first stanza begins with a resonating ecstasy, “When Freedom raise her glowing form on Montserrado’s verdant height, she held within the doom of night midst low ‘ring skies and thunder storms…” But instead of raising her glowing form on November 20, 2019, Freedom Lost her Glowing Form she raised on Bassa height, by the home going of Patriot CWB.
In the third stanza of the “The Lone Star Forever”, I see CWB directly fitted into the verses; “Then forward sons of Freedom march, Defend the sacred heritage! The nation’s call from age to age.
CWB, as one of the sons of Freedom, had history of an intent to defend a sacred heritage which our nation has been calling for, from age to age. He did not only march forward as Freedom’s son but also as the renowned law man, and promised leader of the Republic of Liberia.
Where’re it sounds ‘neath heaven’s arch; Wherever foes assail, be ready to obey ‘Gainst treason and rebellion’s front, ‘Gainst foul aggression. In the brunt of battle lay the hero’s way!
Of course over his ambitious life to become President, “Foes assailed” and CWB obeyed; When criminal minded foes deceived him and stole huge sums of money from him, CWB obeyed. When votes were allegedly rigged; elections held in hap hazardous and grotesque manners, challenged elections results, judgement render in “unorthodox” ways, the hero CWB battled with naked valor against those fouled aggressions.
Oh no, over his lifetime Counselor Brumskine was never sitting on the fence or playing second quiet fiddle. He was always marching forward like a drum major who leads a band or the front line warrior who braves the hottest battle zones to preserve a nation’s sacred heritage.
The Last Mile
Within a few days, the persistent fighter, Cllr CWB will be traveling his last mile. The last mile which many sons of God have traveled and never returned; presidents, lawyers, prelates, young and old have all trod this route and never returned, and so let it be with the Bassa Elder, Cllr CWB.
But wait a minute, this other last mile is not an ordinary one because instead of wailing and gnashing of teeth, the air will be inundated with complete patriotism. Patriotism that another of the sons of freedom is marching forward.
As the casket bearing the mortal remains of CWB drives by slowly to the rotunda of the Capital Building or the church, let us all, whether LP or LPP, BP or UPP, PPU, RPP or CDC supporters, line up along the streets of Monrovia, not to mourn but to sing the patriotic song, The Lone Star forever. Let “The Lone Star Forever” song reverberate from Cape Mount to Cape Palmas; let it resonate from the Wologisi Heights to shores of Buchanan, let roar from Mount Nimba to the Bokon Gedeh ranges.
Most of all, let us remember we have two tasks: to finish CWB’s unfinished business; the business of statesmanship for which he so craved up to his departure, and let us pray CWB be received softly, tenderly and gently into the Savior’s arms. In the Saviors arms where there will be no more crooked dealers, liars, deceivers and thieves, and people without remorse. In the Savior’s arms where there will be no more sickness, injustice, and disappointments; where justice is truly blind and never manipulated. Oh humankind where is your conscience; Oh death, where is your sting? Grave where is your victory? We can only say at this time, “Go CWB, go to rest”. You have fought a good fight, you have run the race well, and although you may not have been awarded the coveted highest seat, your exemplary life itself is an indisputable victory.
Now may the Compassionate Savior bless the soul of CWB, may He make His face to shine upon him, and be gracious unto him; May he give him peace but not the temporary peace mankind would have given him by voting him “President of the Republic of Liberia” with all emoluments and power appertaining…I am talking about the peace that passes all understand that Jesus Himself gives, when CWB will stand at the gate the Master Jesus would say, “Welcome home my son Charlie, you fought a good fight hence I have laid up a treasure for you” And when CWB enters the gate, Jesus would close the gate very slowly and quietly and bear him to his Father’s feet for the celebration of life.
Goodbye Counsellor Charles Walker Brumskine, Goodbye Chief.
Could you now join me in the patriotic song, The Lone Star Forever?
When Freedom raised her glowing form
On Montserrado’s verdant height,
She set within the dome of night,
‘Midst lowering skies and thunder-storm,
The star of Liberty!
And seizing from the waking morn
Its burnished shield of golden flame,
She lifted it in her proud name
And roused a nation long forlorn
To nobler destiny!
The Lone Star forever!
The Lone Star forever!
O long may it float o’er land and o’er sea!
Desert it no never!
Uphold it forever!
O shout for the lone-starred banner!
Then speeding in her course along
The broad Atlantic’s golden strand,
She woke rever’brant through the land
A nation’s loud triumphant song,
The song of Liberty!
Then forward sons of Freedom, march!
Defend the sacred heritage!
The nation’s call from age to age
Where’er it sounds ‘neath heaven’s arch,
Wherever foes assail,
be ever ready to obey
‘Gainst treason and rebellion’s front,
‘Gainst foul aggression. In the brunt
Of battle lay the hero’s way!
All hail, Lone Star! All hail!