Saturday, June 16, 2007

So much little Time

I attended the funeral service of a grand and gracious woman this morning. Alvetta Moore was a charming 68-year-old who was struck down by a fast-growing brain tumor.

At the service, one of the readings was the Beatitudes, that short summation of righteous living. Blessed are the peacemakers...Blessed are the poor in spirit...Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake.

She was a black woman who grew up in Alabama. That says quite a lot in itself. Surely she was subjected to racial taunts and name-calling, discrimination, and bigotry. Yet, for the 16 years that I knew Alvetta, I never heard a single complaint fall from her lips. She was one of those positive people who sought the good in others.

The congregation was mostly black and elderly and I wondered as they were singing one of those powerful Negro Spirituals: what had they seen and experienced in their years as a black American? What injustices had they suffered? What humiliation had they endured?

Bless you, Alvetta. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How odd....more of the same in Iraq

We shutter. The Mosque of the Golden Dome is once again bombed. The Shia and Sunni are at each other's throats, once again.

American soldiers are sitting ducks in the Civil War.

Who knew??

Had a more wise and learned man been our leader, the headline would have had little impact on us.

But no. American citizens were hoodwinked into believing that they had a wise and learned man as their leader.

Ignorance is rampant.

Monday, June 11, 2007

History is Gone and Forgotten

NPR's Day to Day, June 11, 2007 posted the interesting story of Gen. Vang Pao, a leader of the Hmong immigrant community in America. He will appear in a Sacramento courtroom Monday. Vang Pao is charged with trying to overthrow the government of Laos. The general's defense attorney Thomas Heffelfinger, says Vang Pao will plead not guilty.

He talks with Madeleine Brand.

Apparently, the lack of knowledge of recent history is amazing. No, not amazing; rather, criminally pathetic.

"We Died for You"

During our 2 week visit to Germany, my wife and I visited Berlin and the various WWll sites that we had read about in our school books. One of the most chilling was the bombed-out Kaiser Wilhelm Church. The people of Berlin decided to leave what was left of this magnificent church as a reminder of the horrors of war. "Never again."

Naturally there were also many other reminders of the consequences, as Emerson wrote, of "a whole nation roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice." The Holocaust Memorial built atop Hitler's bunker is yet another visual warning to those who would easily forget the past. The recently completed Jewish Museum led the visitor on a visual tour of the horrors of genocide.

Our nation is now entrenched in its own aggressive, preemptive war, a war begun on false statements and innuendos. Yet this administration would not have succeeded in promoting the war had the majority of American citizens not demanded it. Why were so many of our citizens 'roaring Patriotism' just before the invasion of Iraq in 2003? In many Berlin museums were yellowing posters of rallies led by Joseph Goebbels, the NAZI Propaganda Minister. What was said to the German people during those fiery speeches? What caused their citizens to demand a preemptive war?

The Last days in Germany were spent in the Black Forest village of my grandfather. One of my relatives presented me with some letters written in 1947 by my great aunt who lived in Heilbronn, northwest of Stuttgart. She described the horror of the 4th of December, 1944, the day that her city was bombed with phosphorous explosives. After 7 hours of bombing, she and her family crawled out of their cellar and witnessed, as she said, 'Sodom and Gomorrah.'

I returned to Toledo the day after Memorial Day with this letter in my suitcase. No doubt there were many parades here in America on that day. Interestingly, I was told that parades are not held in Germany any more. Apparently the German people had their fill of patriotic-fever parades during the NAZI years. I snapped a final photograph in a cemetery of a small village before leaving for Toledo. There was a memorial on a back wall to dead soldiers. The inscription above the names read, "We Died for You."

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