Category Archives: memorial

19 Years Later


Have we forgotten

who our true enemies are and were?

Have we forgotten how we united

for a powerful cause?

We vowed to never forget!

We vowed to stand together.

Nineteen years later

the pain is still so real;

tears flow,

hearts broken,

Silence of words unspoken,

bells tolled,

flags furl 

stoic salutes,

over 3000 names uttered by loved ones.

roses placed gently.

No, no, we will never forget.

Let this day be our bookmark

to the beginning of a new chapter

of the stories that will also resonate

in our minds forever 

of the losses we have had 

in these last few months

Lives taken

by a different fiend

one unseen

by friend or foe.

NEVER FORGET!

No matter what

we do know 

how to stand together!

God bless America!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

70 Days – Out of Touch?


Out of touch?

Feelings are not important, right?

Death is only felt by the 177, 000 dead!

 

Out of touch?

Did you eat the conventional three meals today?

Do you know how many did not?

They are thousands of children, American children. Our children.

They are the homeless.

They are even those who have a home.

They are the unemployed.

They are of all colors, all creeds, all political parties.

 

Out of touch?

Many of us are.

This is what is so sad.

 

Out of touch?

We need to come to one realization.

That is, it is not just to say, “It is what it is.”

What it should be is,

What we should ask ourselves is:

What are you going do about it?

Out of touch?

Not me, not I, never again.

 

In Remembrance of My Father-in-Law


You became a father to me;

I needed someone to look up to and make proud once again.

You counseled me during hard times.

You protected me when you thought I was not looking.

You taught me that marriage is a heavenly partnership.

I watched how much you loved your children

and then the grandchildren we gave you.

You were so proud when you met your great grandchildren.

You lived a life full of commitment to what is truth and justice.

You were the ultimate patriot.

I may not have told you enough that

I loved you like a father.

I may not have thanked you enough for all the things you did for all of us.

Somehow I think you know now.

We miss you very much.

Rest in Peace!

Remembering Dad


My dad would have been 106 years old today. I suppose it would be unrealistic to think that he would have lived that long. But he is eternally living in  my heart. I just saw a news clip about  Setty Cirillo who was born in Rome in 1913, celebrating her one hundred and sixth birthday. She was dancing and she looked fabulous. She says dancing lessons keep her active. God bless her. How lucky for her children and grand children to have her around and still so agile and strong.

Sometimes I picture my dad dancing a Tango by Carlos Gardel or singing his favorite aria from La Boehme as sung by Enrico Caruso. The smile on his face was worth a million.

I am so grateful I have these sweet memories. He also loved nature and the sounds of silence. I would sing Simon & Garfunkel’s songs and he loved it. He also loved when I sang “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother.” He cared about people and gave of himself in every way.

So today I remember my dad’s smile and love for humanity. I celebrate his life singing the songs he loved. Many of which still resonate so much today. I wonder what he would say. Thanks dad. Love you forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Is What We Make It


Time Is What We Make It

Fifty-one years have passed since the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. America lost a pure soul and a charismatic leader who tried to unite people. Many television programs devoted time to memorialize one of the true kings of justice and equality. His surname is such an appropriate fit.

Someone said that “Dr. King is more alive today.” He certainly lives collectively in the hearts of many Americans and people from all over the world. Many of us can recall and recite different excerpts from his famous speeches. Perhaps what we should remember more is that Dr. King knew that humanity had a life’s lesson to learn. He knew that it may not have been learned or internalized immediately. And five decades later, that lesson is just as pivotal.

We must be “appalled at the silence of good people.” Too many of us continue to accept injustice. Some of us prefer to look the other way when we see homeless individuals on the streets of every major city in this country.  This country, the greatest democracy in the world does very little to change the intolerable state of existence of homeless people.

Martin L. King III reminded us recently that the best way to honor Dr. King’s memory is to do something to eliminate the poverty in this country. He cited that there are 36 million Americans that live in poverty. That is appalling. Twelve million children live in poverty. That is appalling. Where have the good people been for the last fifty years? Jonathan Kozol warned us of the “Savage Inequalities” he observed a few decades ago in the poorer school districts of our more important cities. Not much has changed. This is appalling.

According to the census data compiled by Kids Count, in Louisiana, twenty-eight percent of people under the age of 18 live in poverty. Mississippi statistics report 30 percent and New Mexico falls in the third place with twenty-six percent of this age group living in poverty. This is appalling.

Dr. King spoke of the “triple evils of poverty, racism, and violence” and still fifty-one years later we have more prisons than ever to house our violent criminals. Yet very few opportunities for reform and for restructuring the individuals who need help the most. We are bombarded by violence everywhere from the children’s cartoons to television and movies. And, fifty years later, yes, racism is still alive.

Should we be concerned about the time that has elapsed? Well, according to Dr. King, “Time is never right and never wrong; time is what we make it.” So, it is about time that we make good use of the time. We must start a roll call at churches, schools, community centers, and any type of organization that claims in their statements of mission that any or all the triple evils have to be dealt with collectively. We must not only roll up our sleeves but be ready to remove all the obstacles that obscure or shroud the clock of time well used.

Many of us are so absorbed with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where we share pictures taken with the pink colored lens. Many of us live in solos. We forget the importance of the real life community. We follow people we don’t even know just because they look good or cute. We accept what is posted on social media as the definite truths. We accept alternative facts as truth. We forget that our greatest strength as a nation is our votes. We van be the change. Dr. King proved that united we stand.

History views as prophetic Dr. King’s last speech that fatal day in Memphis. But, his very last words to Ben Branch, a musician, are mind-boggling.

Dr. King asked him to play his favorite song, Take My Hand, Precious Lord.

The following is an excerpt:

“When the darkness appears
And the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home”

Our nation is capable of making good of the time. We must think of ourselves as a great corporation. The stakeholders must all invest and help others to grow. We must keep our eyes on the clock and make sure that when the time comes for us to clock out that we have worked hard to effect social justice. We must emulate the work of the king of social justice and civil and human rights.

Our politicians need to roll up their sleeves and walk the walk. It is time. We must remember that Dr. King was only twenty six years old when he started his journey to effect change. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and was the youngest person to have received it at the time. He professed economic justice for all. He was here for a very short time; very much in the presence of good and with a great awareness of what needed to be done. We have a long way to go. Or do we? We are better equipped to get more people involved. There are no excuses. Are there?  I can’t think of one excuse that would exonerate us from our failure to act now. Representative John Lewis said that Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. “redeemed the soul of America.” We must live up to that redemption one by one.

 

 

 

Hello Again


I have been away from the writing board for a few weeks now. Sadly my beloved father-in-law passed away and we had to go and help with so much that is required after a death.

My father-in-law was my father. I lost my dad many years ago and he began to fill in that gap slowly but surely with much love as my father would have done. I relied on him for advice, his mentoring and a fatherly hug when I needed one. He will be missed.

My son delivered a very emotional eulogy depicting his grandfather as a noble family man. As I listened to him I heard my husband’s, my dad’s and my father-in-law’s voices all in one. My son had learned well their collective teachings. He never met my father but I had shared so many of his stories that my son got to know him well. I was so proud of him.

I learned a lot about life these past few years as I watched and listened to my father-in-law deal with his illness. I have learned to appreciate so many things more now. The little things especially. It is amazing how many of the mourners remembered precisely the short  encounters with my father-in-law. Many close friends characterized their memorable experiences as seeming insignificant to anyone else but themselves. They emphasized how some of these events (mostly acts of kindness) had changed their lives.  But now more than ever the family swelled with pride to know how he made a difference in so many people’s lives.

His legacy will carry on through my son and daughter and hopefully my grandchildren. We are what we do. A life is the sum of the great things we do for others. This was the best lesson of all. He served during World War II, he loved his country with great passion and cherished his wife of 70 years and his entire family. Rest in peace Don Will, you did well.

 

The Bugle Call


The Bugle Call

 

It is a melancholy,

yet a comforting sound,

a sobering Call

that announces the fall

of a gentle warrior:

a brave soul,

perhaps too young,

to know how finite,

the summons will be.

 

I hear that song again

repeating an inquisitive lyric

“War, what is good for?”

My response is always the same.

“Who knows?”

 

I wonder about him

all the time

that Unknown soldier

and the one I knew well too

who chose to be remembered

the next to last day in May,

waiting to be lifted

alone,

thinking,

hoping,

his last wish comes true.

In Memory of my nephew Ivan.

 

 

 

 

To My Late Father


To My Late Father

 

I have forgotten what your voice sounds like

But I remember the things you said to calm me and give me strength

I have forgotten what made you the happiest

But I remember your smile

When you looked at me from afar and thought I was not looking

I have forgotten the true color of your eyes

But I remember their gleam when all your children were around

I have forgotten how tall you were exactly

But I remember that you were a giant in my eyes

I have forgotten your gait or how you walked into a room

But I remember I wanted to follow in your footsteps

I have forgotten your favorite color

But I remember how much you loved autumn foliage

I have forgotten many of the little things about you.

But I remember how you cared so deeply for those less fortunate

I remember how hard you worked to make sure we had it all.

I remember your love for art and music.

I remember your generous heart.

I remember how you loved my mother.

I remember how you loved family.

 

Father, I may have forgotten some things about you

But I have never forgotten you.

My Favorite Dr. M.L.King Quotes


“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

These are just a few of my favorite quotes. I think they are timeless. I hope we reflect on his wisdom and move to act and do what Is right to honor him.

The Pope of Hope


As most people here in the Tri-State area, we have seen the presentations and masses pronounced by Pope Francis of the the Holy Seas and many of us have been deeply touched by his message of Love and Peace. This is my poem to honor his visit. I also tried painting his friendly face with all due respect.

Skies of crystal blue prevailed today
As the Pope of Hope
Like Jesus did walked among us

Even for those who were not too close
deep emotions did not fail
to energize and fill all hearts
with glory and hopeful dreams

As he waved to thousands
On what now will be the Holy urban trail
Worshipers screamed,
called out his name,
and cried sweet tears
for this Pope of the People
had washed away their fears.
For many today
Life will not be the same
History records impatiently
The sounds and sights today
Pope Francis of the Holy Sea
Prays for you and me and
For even the non-believer
All he wants is Peace to be a reality.

Pope Francis 2 by Melba

He asked us all to restore our hope
To resolve our differences with respect
For we must live as one
He asked us all to educate the young.

Future generations
must learn the lessons well;
To build our oneness
and fraternal love,
To restore a Nation of Freedom for all
This is our divine call.

He said to Remember the Golden Rule.
Our faces may be different yes
But our hearts beat all the same
Some filled with passion and compassion
Love can only be our gain.

Thank you Pope Francisco of the Holy Sea
for your humble presence and
your words of inspiration.

With Gratitude and Remembrance
I think we will see clearly now,
And forever more.
No more smog or clouds
to block our vision and sincere affirmations
For deep down in our hearts
We know this to be true
United we stand
and in God We Trust.

God bless America

and Pope Francis,

God bless you too.

Numbers With Meaning


My tribute goes deep. One of my family members was first responder and we are grateful she is still in our lives. A couple of my former students at the time lost family members. A colleague lost his cousin. As everyone else, I remember vividly the events of the day. I can remember things I said, what I had for breakfast and the pounding of heart. It all started during the first period of the school day. I had to be strong for my students and the teachers under my supervision. I was not supposed to panic. I had to be strong for all of them. I remained as calm as I humanly could and tried to comfort the children who had been entrusted to me.

I did not breakdown until I returned home that evening and looked to the New York City skyline from my car to see the devastation. Although all I could see was smoke, I kept thinking of the people who lived in that area and all the lives lost. I thought about my old neighborhood and how terrified people must have been in those horrific moments. I thanked God that my family was safe. I recently visited the 9/11 memorial. It is amazing. It was very emotional and sad but at the same time I felt hopeful. I know we will never ever forget. I just pray that it gets better for all the family members who lost their loved ones. I did not realize or maybe I’d blocked out some of the facts of that day. Only six people survived. Most especially I was stunned to know that 11 unborn children had also perished. Now that I am a grandmother this fact is harder to accept. However, I believe with all my heart they are our angels of hope.

I did not write a poem this year but I focused on the numbers that appear in every newspaper, blog, flyer, book, and all accounts of that beautiful September day that became the most tragic day in the history of our country. May their souls rest in peace.

A candle in the wind God bless America.

Numbers with meaning

9/11

2001

8:45

1

767

11

20,000

80

110

18

9:04

2

767

175

60

9:45

5

757

77

125

64

15

200

10:30

93

40

500

5:20

7

4

1,800,000

2997

90

11

343

23

37

6

19

Freedom Tower

Water Falls