I just heard the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed. The “Notorious RBG” was a strong and courageous woman. She served all people. My heart breaks because she was a role model for so many women my age. She made America a better place. We were so lucky to have her. God bless her. My condolences to her family and the thousands of women that emulated her.
Remember “Women belong where decisions are being made.”
I salute all those who served our country today. I am grateful for their sacrifice. I hope that as we celebrate today we remember that there are many others who sacrifice daily to keep us safe. God Bless America!
I remember our adventures
when we crossed the river
and slipped on the moss covered rocks
we laughed because one of us would always loose our shoe.
I remember how we loved to go to the Saturday matinee
and watch three movies for fifty cents – our whole allowance.
I was only two years older than you
yet I was your aunt as chance would have it.
But you called me sis.
I remember your love for nature.
I remember how you always picked buttercups and made a small bouquet
and bring it back to surprise your mom.
I remember how happy it made you to play your guitar.
I remember your contagious smile and fabulous chuckle.
I remember the day you decided to join the army;
your mom and I were terrified.
I remember listening to radio that dreadful day;
It was Memorial Day morning.
TAPS was played and then America the Beautiful.
My heart stopped beating for a second as it always did when I feared
something horrible would happen to you.
I tried switching the fear gears in my brain.
Two days later we got the news.
You had passed.
Forty-three years ago I could not believe what had happened
and it is still hard for me to believe it is true.
As far as I know we do not celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on the exact day February 12 anymore. We celebrate President’s Day instead. No wonder some children have no idea which presidents we celebrate. I asked a 10 year old and he thought the days off are to celebrate all our presidents. Most schools close for a long weekend and of course we all look forward to the sales. But I wonder how many of us remember the date.
Well I want to celebrate Abe Lincoln and remind people of some facts (not alternative ones) and some of his thoughtful, eloquent oratory. Abraham was the 16th president of the United States. He was born in 1809 and died victim of an assassination on April 15, 1865. He was still in office when his assassin John Wilkes Booth shot him at the Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Lincoln was born in Kentucky and the son of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. His mother died when he was just nine years old. He was self educated and loved to read. He ended up in the state of Illinois and became a lawyer and later ran as a Republican for a seat in the state senate and won at the age of twenty-five. He later became a congressman. He married Mary Todd and had four children.
We need to remember him for his Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863 ordering for the freeing of slaves. This set forth the 13th Amendment which would free all slaves in the United States a few years later. During the Civil War Mr. Lincoln held the country together.
He is remembered for one of the greatest speeches in American History, He gave the speech at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863. It’s called the Gettysburg Address.
My first memory of knowing about our 16th president was a poem my teacher read us. She told us about how honorable and honest he was growing up and throughout his life. Two pretty good traits for a president.
I recently visited a family member whose home was built in 1865 and I had a flash back to that moment in my childhood when my teacher emphasized the importance of honest. I looked around the house. It was built around the time we had lost a great and beloved president. He was just fifty-two years old.
Here are a few of the quotes I remember learning about in school and thank my teacher for teaching us that these were quotes to live by. I think we must remember their value.
“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
The Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
My favorite poem of Langston Hughes is “Mother to Son”. I read the poem during a ballet dedicated to the great Harlem Renaissance poet. The poem resonated with many grandmothers in the audience that evening and I will never forget Ella Mae who came up to me and told me her story. She struggled to make ends meet when her husband died tragically and she was left with three little boys. She was the daughter of a share cropper and never learned to read. But her dream was to see her sons go to school and become professionals. Her eldest became an attorney and the other two sons were both doctors. She finally learned to read at the age of 70 when she enrolled in an adult literacy program. How she managed was a miracle. She said her own children never realized she was not literate. The reason she shared all of this with me was because her favorite poet was Langston Hughes. He was one of the first poets introduced to her by her literacy instructor. This poem is a tribute to all mothers who dream big for their children. I will never forget Ella Mae and her heartwarming story about a mother’s love. Here is a recitation by Langston Hughes himself.
This post is dedicated to many of my fellow bloggers. I used the titles of their blogs to inspire my poem. My wish is to thank my fellow bloggers for their comments and support throughout my tenure here at WordPress. I hope no one is offended if I did not include them this time around. Once again thank you all for your support as I celebrate 8 years at Poemattic.wordpress.com. Happy Blogging!!
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.
I was thinking about my dad today most especially. I know many reading this blog have commented and written something about Father’s Day or their respective fathers. I think about my father all the time. But today I wondered what he would say about all the stuff that is happening in our world. I know he was an environmentalist because he loved the earth and taught me to listen to the sounds of nature. He conserved and recycled. He lived through the Great Depression so I think that influenced his habits early on.
He bought American made cars which he said were the best. I wonder how he would react to self parking cars or hybrids. He was a great communicator and taught us to love books, poetry, art, and the theater. I wonder if he would like Twitter, texting, Facebook or even blogging. He wrote letters and had beautiful handwriting (actually used calligraphy). I was always so proud of his signature on my report cards.
Conversation was an art and people actually talked at the dinner table. He was open to new ideas but always demanded respect for the opinions of others. He read the newspapers and listened to the radio. I wonder what he would say about “fake news”, or “alternative facts” (a George Orwell phrase that my dad would have known because he had read the book). I wonder what he would say about selfies. He loved self-portraits of the great masters in art. He kept pictures of us in his wallet. I remember he kept one in particular of me. I was about four years old. But he would show that one to people anyway. They were always surprised when they met me and realized I was way beyond four years of age.
What I would give to have a conversation with my dad about these and many other things. Father’s Day is bitter-sweet. I have a husband, and a son and a father-in-law who are all great dads. But for me, my dad will always be the best dad ever. Happy Father’s Day.
“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.