Just bitchin'

…lest we forget…

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MSNBC’s tribute ‘9/11 As It Happened’ begins with silent text tracking across the screen, saying that the broadcast is not only an homage to the terrible events 14 years ago at the World Trade Center, but is also intended for the future…lest we forget.

Stomach dropping, I stare at the bleak words.

Remember the Alamo…a ghostly voice whispers.

All I remember is growing up in Southern California where Spanish was a required class in elementary school. All I remember are the friends and classmates of Mexican descent and their wonderful culture and cuisine that spilled over into the lives of everyone who lived in that region.

Pearl Harbor…a day that will live in infamy…

All I recall is my oldest friend, my roommate from college, who is from Tokyo. I remember sharing holidays with her family and learning about the Buddhist religion from a charming people.

And I watch the words…9/11… lest we forget

…and I know

that someday

we will

forget.

And the cycle will repeat.

And that is the moment I understand terror.

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Just bitchin', poem

A Page Turns…

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A tiny thing has vanished.

Like the barest tip of an iceberg, its disappearance signifies something much bigger. Something as vast as sorrow and as limitless as history.

Every year, no matter where I’ve lived, the weekend of Veteran’s Day will find an elderly gentleman sporting a military hat, or sometimes a chest of medals, sitting at a small table, handing out red, paper poppies in exchange for a small donation. Often these simple tokens are handed out for free when  their bright color catches a child’s wide, untutored eye. It’s just a pretty thing to them. They don’t yet know what it means.

But this year there is no table at the usual place. No poppies. No veteran.

When I asked about it, I was told that there were no more of the old school soldiers left to take on the task of dispensing poppies at this locale. They have all passed on.

So for those children who won’t see the poppies this year, know that they were the first flowers to grow among the graves of soldiers in a faraway place called Flanders.

Remember…

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.

                     —– John McCrae, 1915

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