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Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2021

Presidents Day - Monday, February 15th, 2021

Presidents are human beings.

 

They have all been men (so far), flawed men; everyone who has ever held the office has been flawed. Some have had heroic attributes, but all of them have had craven moments.

 

There have only been forty-six them, and we have just lived through the chaotic and criminal presidency of the 45th, ending with his second impeachment after a failed and hapless insurrection that he waged in a desperate and feeble bid to retain power, or simply to assuage his mad vanity…

 

Today the occupant of the oval office is a long serving government official, former Senator and former Vice President, the oldest man ever elected to the office, Joseph R. Biden, and it seems like he wants to do some good for the people of this country, which would be nice for a change since the government is meant to be there to work for us…all of us.

 

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, a catastrophe that we have been struggling through for over a year; nearly half a million Americans have died from it, in large part do to the rank incompetence of the 45th President.

 

There is a lot of work ahead of us, and I do not know if we are up to it, but at least we have a President who understands that it is his task to hold us all-together while we try to get the work done.

 

We have a President who seems interested in doing more than simply manage the moment in front of us; his team, which includes the first woman to hold the office of Vice President, his team is looking past the pandemic, they are looking forward to the job of rebuilding our country, of redefining the American experience, of making the American Dream a reality that includes everyone, lifts the spirits of everyone, distributes what is just and good to everyone, cares for everyone, and leaves no-one behind.

 

We can do this; we can do it if we have the political will to push our elected representatives to do the right thing.

 

I for one am grateful that we have a new President, a hopeful President, but our problems go well beyond the ability of one man to fix, just as they go well beyond the scope of one man’s depravity.

 

Keep hope alive!




Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving, the Via Negativa

Today is Thanksgiving, a secular holiday; nevertheless, Thanksgiving is sacred to most Americans.

 

Many of us write reflections on this day, posting memes that express to the world the things we are thankful for, and that is nice, conscientious, appropriate. We have much to be thankful for as Americans, and we should never forget it.

 

A heartfelt expression of gratitude is always welcome, even the gratitude that is expressed in general for the many things we receive from those we love, by whom we are loved, for the things we are given that make our lives more comfortable, more challenging and more meaningful.

 

It is never inappropriate to thankful.

 

To express gratitude is to make one’s self humble; it is to acknowledge our reliance on others for making us into the people we have become.

 

Thanksgiving is a day for humility; therefore, be gracious. Be thankful…insofar as you are able, in-so-doing you will be following the way of the wise.

 

In theology there is something known as the apophatic tradition. In this tradition it is understood that God, by whatever name you call the creator the universe (of all that is and all we are), that God dwells in a mode of being that is beyond human understanding.

 

The apophatic tradition tells us that God is shrouded in mystery, a state of being that mystics describe as the cloud of un-knowing.

 

According to the apophatic tradition, we are not able speak in the affirmative about what or who God is, because God, the eternal and infinite, God will not be circumscribed by the finite constructs of human thought and language.

 

We are not able to posit meaningful assertions about the nature of the Divine; what we are left with is the via negative, the way of understanding who God is by stating what God is not.

 

In keeping with the via negativa, I am in the custom of forgoing the traditional giving-of-thanks, even though I am truly grateful for my friends and compatriots, I am grateful for everyone in my life, grateful for all of those who inspire me, who love me and who are patient with me every single day.

 

I am grateful for you.

 

For thanksgiving I follow the via negative, the negative way, and express what I am not thankful for.

 

I am not thankful for the coronavirus and COVID-19.

 

I am not thankful that 260,000 Americans have died from this virus, with thousands more dying everyday.

 

I am not thankful that there are more than 20,000,000 million Americans out of work do to safety measures we have had to take in order to fight this pandemic.

 

I am not thankful that tens of millions of Americans refuse to participate in those safety measures, that they do not care for the lives and safety of their neighbors, or their families or even themselves enough to wear a mask, and keep distant from one another.

 

I am not thankful that the track record of the United States is the worst in the world for dealing with this crises, that with four percent of the population we have twenty percent of the deaths.

 

I am not thankful that Donald Trump lies about these facts and figures as a means of trying to avoid responsibility for his dismal failures.

 

I am not thankful for the food lines that stretch for miles in some communities this holiday season so that families can have something to put on the table to celebrate the good things in their lives.

 

I am not thankful that the economic relief which the entire country is in desperate need of receiving is being held up by the political machinations of Mitch McConnell the senate majority leader and his caucus of heartless, short-sighted republicans.

 

I am not thankful that in the Fake President, Donald Trump, continues to divide us by class, culture, color, and is desperately trying to overturn the results of the election he just lost by 7,000,000 votes, and counting

 

I am not thankful for their collective failure of Congress to protect the constitution, or for the individual members who have forgotten their oath of office.

 

I am not thankful for our failures of leadership.

 

I am not thankful for white supremacy, and domestic terrorism.

 

I am not thankful for terrorism anywhere. I am not thankful for the religious fundamentalism that drives it. I am thankful neither for the fear that spawns it, nor for the fear it generates

 

I am not thankful that there is hunger in our bountiful world. I am not thankful for the greed and the sloth and the bad public policy that fosters it.

 

I am not thankful for willful ignorance, for anti-rational, anti-intellectual, demagoguery. I am not thankful for the cultural relativism that has promoted it, for anti-objectivism, for liars.

 

I am not thankful for Donald Trump. I am not thankful for my fellow Americans who voted for him, I am not thankful for his allies in congress or people anywhere who continue to support him.

 

I am not thankful for the media outlets, the reporters, the editorialists who failed and continue to fail to take the threat Donald Trump represent to our Democracy seriously. I am not thankful that they abdicated their responsibilities as the gatekeepers of society, as the so called 4th Estate, allowing his corrupt and criminal regime to cause so much harm to ordinary people.

 

I am not thankful for his corruption of the rule of law.

 

I am not thankful for our government’s continuous assault on our population of immigrants and refugees, for the way we have abdicated our responsibility to care for the asylum seeker.

 

I am not thankful for these things.

 

I am not thankful that there is so much more to add to this list.

 

Did I say that I am not thankful for white supremacists? I did, but let me say it again…I am not thankful for them or their apologists, both their soft supporters and their ardent advocates. I am not thankful that they have had a seat at the table in the Trump administration, I am not thankful for the normalization of that kind of hate in our society.

 

I am not thankful for that.




 

 

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veteran’s Day - A Reflection

Today is Veteran’s Day, November 11th.

 

Today we commemorate the anniversary of the end of World War I, The Great War, the war to end all wars, we were told, though regrettably it was not.

 

I am a veteran, as is my father and some few of my friends (a very few).

 

From the end of World War I, until 1954, we celebrated this day as Armistice Day, as a remembrance of that moment in that first great-global-conflict, when the fighting stopped along the lines, and in the trenches at the fronts.

 

The end of the conflict was choreographed, like a dance.

 

It stopped suddenly, it stopped all at once.

 

It came to a halt at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month; as if the war had a director who yelled “cut!” And all the actors on the stage, all the pawns in the field, all the millions of people in their graves could get up from what they were doing and go home.

 

That is not what happened.

 

That never happens.

 

Nearly twenty million people were killed in World War I, twenty million families broken, with many millions more suffering in the aftermath.

 

World War I was perceived by those who endured it as so horrible that it would end war itself, end it for all time, but that would not be the case.

 

The gods of war are busy, always

The conflicts they sew never end, not ever

We hunger and we thirst for war

It is the constant failure of humanity

 

Today is the feast of Saint Martin of Tours, the patron saint of soldiers; St. Martin of the Sword.

 

Saint Martin was the first Christian Soldier.

 

It was in recognition of him, and his feast that this date was selected to bring World War I to a close.

 

It might have come sooner for the soldiers in the struggle, but the politicians acting like art directors wanted to wait for a symbolic moment to bring the curtain down.

 

11:11:11

 

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, it was easy to remember.   

 

Pope, Saint Gregory the Great, the man who gave us the modern calendar, he was the man who penned Saint Martin’s hagiography. Most of Gregory’s hagiographical writings were works of fiction, either cut from whole cloth, or steeped and dyed from a the barest scintilla of truth. It is not likely that Martin of Tours ever lived, much less true are the reports of the many miracles he performed.

 

All the great Popes were great prevaricators, and great recipients of the penchant for falsehood.

 

Even if the life of Saint Martin was based on the life of a real person, his hagiography is a fiction and our celebration of him is a piece of propaganda, it is just another terrible lie, a fable penned with a terrible purpose; through it Pope Saint Gregory gave permission for Christians to takes up arms.

 

He gave Christian soldiers leave to march to war, a vocation which had been theretofore forbidden to the followers of Jesus, and a matter of deep contention in the Church.

 

The spirits of conflict have a will of their own…their will is bound like the double helix within our human nature.

 

There is no god of war, there are only human pretenders.

 

In 1954, President Eisenhower, the man who had been the Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, changed the nature of the November 11th holiday; changing the name from Armistice Day to Veteran’s Day, in honor of all Veterans who had fought in any conflict, anywhere in the world.

 

Friend or foe, ally or adversary, we celebrate the courage of the average person, woman or man, who was willing to risk everything for their tribe, their nation or their clan.

 

That is what we celebrate today on Veteran’s Day.

 

We do not celebrate the end of war, because it seems that war itself will never end.

 

We do not celebrate the fictional life of a fictional saint, whose usefulness as a tool of propaganda promoted the idea that it was not only possible to serve Jesus with a sword, but laudable, and we do not celebrate the lie that peace could ever be the fruit of war.

 

The fruit of peace springs from a different seed altogether: from tolerance and mercy, compassion and humility...and justice, true justice.

 

What we celebrate today is the character of those men and women who have had the courage to enlist, to risk their lives for the sake of their sisters and brothers, whether at home or beside them in the field.

 

We should always celebrate that quality of character, while simultaneously naming the flaws in our own that lead us to war; fear and greed, anger and hatred, all of our calamitous attributes.

 

The spirits of conflict have a will of their own…the children of Aries; Fear, Panic and Strife, they own a piece of us, they reside in each of us.

 

We are possessed.

 

One hundred years after the end of World War I, we are still waging war all around the world. We the United States of America are waging war in Afghanistan, in Africa, selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, who is fighting a war by proxy with Iran in Yemen, and we are feeding other conflicts in every sector of the globe.

 

We are the greatest arms dealers in the world and every bullet we sell is a shiny little example of our failure.

 

I served in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, from 1990 – 1994.

 

I served during the first Gulf War, though I did not serve in the theatre of combat where we killed 300,000 Iraqi people in the space of a few months.

 

My father served for twenty-two years; the first four as a Marine, the next eighteen in the Air Force. Our nation went to war once during that time, in Southeast Asia where my father served multiple tours of duty, a war in which we killed over 3,000,000 people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

 

We have killed millions more in many other nations in the decades since then, leaving millions of families broken.

 

We are terrible, profligate killers, we are experts at it, we Americans.

 

Today The President of the United States participated in a ceremony that honors the lives of fallen soldiers, a man who never served, who lied to avoid the draft, a man without a shred of honor.

 

Earlier this year he ordered soldiers to disperse crowds of protesters peacefully assembled in front of the White House, they used chemical irritants and horses to move the crowd, all so he could have a political photo-op in front of Church across the street.

 

He assembled his generals to participate in it as a show of force.

 

He ordered the Defense Department to draw up plans to use the United States Military against the American People under the authority of the insurrection act because he feared widespread protest of his failure to govern.

 

His top generals and defense secretary made public statement that they would not allow the United States armed forces to be drawn into the president’s political conflicts. After loosing his bid for re-election he fired the Secretary of Defense and put a political crony in his place.

 

It remains true that every bullet we fire, every missile we launch, each of them is an admission of our failure as diplomats and as human beings.

 

Violence does not beget peace. Violence it begets violence; it will always be that way. Only peace and reconciliation can bring about peace reconciliation.

 

Love one another; pay respect to the inherent dignity of every human being, regardless of your disagreements, regardless of the pain you are carrying from your past. This is the way out of conflict.

 

To be free from the repercussions of our history of violence requires that we forgive one another and seek forgiveness for ourselves.

 

If you want to honor our Veteran’s then commit yourself to meet conflict with love, respect all people, even your adversary, this is the thanks you can give to a Veteran today.

 



Saturday, October 31, 2020

Halloween - A Holiday Reflection

When I was young I imagined that Halloween was for children.

 

Halloween was all costumes and candy and imaginary play. It was as an escape from reality, an opportunity to gaze into another world, to pierce the veil of what is real and true.

 

We use to go block to block in our costumes, we called it Trick or Treating, we carried pillow cases slung over our shoulders, taking candies at nearly every door we knocked on, with nearly every bell we rang.

 

We scoffed at the people who only handed out little bibles or tubes of toothpaste, and shunned those who handed out home-made fare, thinking they were doing something good.

 

We would rather have nothing at all than have those things, and they quickly found their way into the trash; all those little popcorn balls, boxes of raisins, apples and bibles.

 

With fondness I recall the drill that came at the end of the night, searching through our candy piles, looking for suspicious things, open packages, search for pins and needles and razor blades.

 

We understood that some people hated children and would slip these into the candies.

 

I never found anything dangerous, never once in all of those years, but the fear that there could be, haunted us for real.

 

Halloween is not all fun and games, though, it has a deeper meaning than we were taught as children, and a much longer history.

 

Halloween is not just about ghosts and goblins and friendly witches.

 

In the celebration of Halloween an ages old conflict is present, a real struggle between the Christian Church, and the “Old Time Religion,” the customs of the pagans, paganus, pagani, the country folk and their persistent traditions that lurk just beneath the surface of the Christian rites.

 

On the Christian Calendar; Halloween is All Hallows Eve, a celebration of the honored dead, of all the saints who had passed before, who have already gone to meet the maker.

 

For the old pagans; whose traditions are tightly interwoven with the Church, Halloween is a celebration of the dead, plain and simple, of all of the dead, of the saints and sinners who have passed from this world together.

 

Halloween is an acknowledgment of the dead whose spirits walk among us still, good and bad, honored or not.

 

In modern times the holiday has been largely stripped from its affiliation with Christianity, celebrating the dangerous, the macabre, the frightening and the weird, those qualities and characteristics that every person hides within themselves, because they are in fear of the world.

 

I was fourteen the last time I went Trick or Treating, and really, I was only chaperoning my younger brother then, I was not dressed up, but I took some candy nonetheless.

 

In that same year I remember the Pastor at my church lamenting the popularity of the pagan festival. Believing that the Christian feast should be honored above it instead, to the exclusion of anything else.

 

There was no fun in that, there was no fun in him. He was just an old man watching his tradition fade away, being usurped by those of another generation, by children who were less committed to the Church than he was when at their age.   

 

In the years that followed, the number of children who go out in costumes seeking candy has declined by 25%, so the media outlets say.

 

Halloween is no longer considered safe or wholesome; it has yielded to the real dangers of the real world.

 

For me it is just another day, Halloween, I do not believe the dead walk with us. I have never seen a ghost, or any evidence of magic, as far as national holidays go, this one is an anomaly, though my maternal grandmother was born on this day.

 

There are real horrors in the world, we have a pumpkin colored demagogue for a president, spreading fear, night and day and lying to us at every turn. We are in the grip of a global Pandemic that is the claiming the life of an American citizen ever ninety seconds.

 

We are three days away from a national election where the prospect of reelecting this made man is all-too-real.

 

So now that I think about it, today of all days we should all be thankful that we have this day to luxuriate in the fantastic and the surreal.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

 

2020.10.31




 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Indigenous Peoples Day – Not Columbus Day

Let us forgo the celebration of Christopher Columbus and the extraordinary crossing he made with Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, and recognize what a monster he was.

 

I learned this refrain in grade school: In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He set out on his adventure, sailed in pursuit of fame, wealth and titles and vanity. He sailed across the Atlantic four times and back; he became wealthy and famous, he earned the titles he sought, but his vanity was never satisfied.

 

Christopher Columbus was an Italian from Genoa and he was born in obscurity. As a boy he went to sea where he learned the skills and the knowledge that brought him to a captaincy.

 

In this aspect he was remarkable and deserving of respect.

 

He became an adventurer in the service of Ferdinand and Isabella, the monarchs of Spain. He made his first voyage for them in 1492, setting sail on September 6th, and sighting land in what we now call the Islands of the Bahamas on October 12th. He named the island that he landed on San Salvador; exactly which island this was is now lost to memory.

 

He expected to be in Asia, but to his surprise, and to the surprise of everyone back in the Spanish and European courts, there were other continents and other oceans they had yet to traverse in order to get to India.

 

They still wanted a westward route to India, but they were more than happy to discover the truth for themselves and learn the real shape of the world.

 

Columbus opened up these continents and all of their peoples, to the incessant appetites and cruelties of the Europeans, to their hunger for gold, and for land and for war.

 

He never sailed past the Islands of the Caribbean. He never set foot in what came to be known as the America’s, and his life after his first voyage was not without controversy.

 

He became wealthy and earned titles, but he was also arrested, jailed and relieved of his governance, before eventually being released.

 

His heirs did not inherit the titles he had earned, he never entered the true nobility. He died at the age of fifty-four, a sailor from Genoa bearing the meaningless title Admiral of the Ocean Seas.

 

His coming to the West, was the beginning of the end for countless peoples, for tribes whose names history did not record, peaceful people who were captured and enslaved, and worked to death, the encommendero system marked by genocide and the tyranny of Spanish rule began with him.

 

Columbus’ journey was one of historical significance, we should take note of it, but the truth should be told and not celebrated.

 

Columbus was a petty man, reckless and pitiless and a harbinger of death.


 



Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day - A Reflection


Labor Day


Today is Labor Day, a great national holiday, a day set aside for the American worker and to celebrate the ordinary citizen.

This day is meant to honor laborers, it is a day to honor work. It is meant to be a day of rest, repose and respite, but this year it is a day that we must acknowledge our collective anxiety as there are twenty million Americans unemployed, out of work and uncertain of our future.

I spent most of my life working in the hospitality sector. Now I am self-employed but my clients are mostly restaurants, this year many of my friends and colleagues have had to shutter their businesses, close their doors, cut their hours, reduce their staff change their business model to account for the global pandemic COVID-19.  

There are millions of workers that have the day off this year who would rather be working. We have had too much time off, but the nation is not ready to reopen.

Our chief executive has abdicated the responsibility for managing this crises, preferring to pretend that it will go away on its own.

It will not.

Each of our fifty states has a different plan to handle the pandemic, some governors have followed the president’s example, abdicating their responsibility, putting it off on local governments at the county and municipality level. Some of these governors have taken even more draconian steps and signed orders that limit what local governments can do to protect their people and find a safe way to live, go to school, engage in commerce and move forward.

Today we count the number of dead at 190,000 and climbing.

On Memorial Day we were poised to cross the 100,000 threshold. Ninety thousand more Americans dies over the summer, and it did not have to be this way.

It does not have to be this way, but it will continue to be this way until we have leadership that acknowledges the scope of the emergency, and puts together a plan to manage the crises.

The economy will continue to struggle, the stock market notwithstanding, a million Americans will file new claims for unemployment every week, the unemployment rate will continue to hover around ten percent, Americans will not return to work for as long as the status quo remains the same.

The unemployed American worker needs relief. The House of representatives has passed a bill to provide. The Senate has opted not to address and the president is actively working against it.

We need the Hero’s act to pass to provide this relief, we need to keep those who are still working, working, we need it to help those who are not working return to work. We need it so that American families can keep a roof over their heads, keep the lights on, keep gas in the car, and keep food on the table

We need leadership, or we need a general strike!

Happy Labor Day my brothers and sisters, lets due the right thing!

Strike and Unite!



2020.09.07

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day – A Reflection


Memorial Day is a day set aside for reflection, a day meant for us to honor our fallen dead.

The meaning of Memorial Day has changed a great deal since it was founded. At its inception, the day was set aside to honor the African-American soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War, both our soldiers who were born-free, as well as those who were former slaves; men and women, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters who gave everything they had to keep the United States of America whole, and to make it a free nation.

Memorial Day was established to honor those who died for an America which they only dreamed could exist. They died for these United States, for a vision of it that they prayed for, but was not yet real; they got something different, they got this reality, an America that is still in a state of becoming, one that is more or less just, depending on where you are born, what color your skin is, what class you belong to.

Those men and women died for us, for good or ill, they died for us. They died for promises that went un-realized, they died for a dream deferred, as our poet Langston Hughes wrote of the African-American experience in his poem Harlem[i]:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

We have yet to repay those good people, we have yet to fulfill their hopes for the America they dreamt of; America, daughter of liberty, America the true and good, America the arbiter of justice, an America that could be if we pursue the dream of her, and exercise the will to make it so.

Now, we honor our dead on this day; our soldiers and sailors and airmen, our police and firefighters; we honor them.

We are too frequently called upon to honor children, children who stand in the way of gunfire to protect their classmates, who had to pay for it with their lives.

We must honor them and their sacrifice, all of them who died upholding our most cherished values, we honor them in recognition of the fact that we are one people descended from many nationalities and ethnicities, and that we each come into the world with the absolute right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that all other rights are subordinate to these. 

This year we are called upon to honor all of our citizens who have spent their lives, giving it to public service. We honor our teachers and the good works of our ordinary citizens, of our friends and neighbors, we honor the sacrifice of everyone, known and unknown, and those yet to come.

We must honor the 100,000 Amricans and more who have perished from a deadly coronavirus we call COVID-19, and we must honor the doctors and nurses, the EMTs and paramedics, the orderlies and custodians who are charged to risk their lives and give their lives to care for them.

On this day of all days, do not make the mistake of thinking that it is our service women and men who keep us free.

It has been at least sixty years since America faced an “existential” threat from a foreign power.

We are not kept free through armed conflict.

We do not face such an existential threat from beyond our borders and shores right now; not from Iran, not from North Korea, not from Russia, not from China or anywhere.

The real threat we face is from ourselves, we face an existential threat of ignorance, short-sightedness and greed.

We stand in our own way; we, and we alone who can protect us from ourselves.

Our apathy and selfishness, our prejudice and hatred, our gluttony and cowardice, these are the most dangerous forces aligned against us, these are the forces that threaten our freedom. They are more deadly than any other worldly power, these are the forces which have gone unchecked by our elected representatives, even encouraged by our President and his criminal regime that are killing our fellow Americans in numbers greater than the last five decades of armed conflict.
It is shameful and terrifying.  

To honor our fallen dead, you must do your part to keep us free. You must participate in our democracy.

Vote, stay informed, organize, build alliances and collaborate.

Our collective failure as citizens of the Unites States has allowed a criminal, autocratic, demagogue to hold power in the White House, allowed the Supreme Court to state that corporations are to be treated as people, and money regarded as free speech, while those same justices have told ordinary American’s that their right to free speech does not include the right to be heard, and that our right to vote does not include the guarantee that our votes will be counted.

This rank cynicism is more dangerous to our lives and freedom than any rag tag group of militants half way around the world, more dangerous than immigrants looking for a better life on our side of the border we share, people who are only seeking the same thing as my own forebears did when they came here a little over a hundred years ago.

Honor our fallen dead. Not with cards and flowers and barbeques (but do those things because they are good), honor them by standing up to racism and bigotry, to religious zealotry and corporate greed, to scientific ignorance and xenophobia, to corruption in our public officials in our highest offices, and to the notion that the right to keep and bear arms does not include our responsibility to regulate them.

Honor them by participating in public discourse. Do not lose heart, and do not give up.

Honor them by wearing a face mask when you go out in public, by practicing social distancing, and by supporting your neighbors in the weeks and months and years ahead, as we rebuild our country in the hopes of achieving the dream that is still being deferred.

Stand up, and be counted!

We must rebuild America and reform our institutions; we must do this for the sake of all Americans and all future generations.

We must take responsibility for our live and freedom.

We will have nothing to protect if we let apathy and ignorance, selfishness ad gluttony provide a vector for a virus that cannot distinguish between borders and political parties.

Honor the fallen, in this way.

Participate!

Jay P. Botten, Veteran, U.S.N., Hospital Corps, 1990 – 1994



[i] Langston Hughes, "Harlem" from The Collected Works of Langston Hughes. Copyright © 2002 by Langston Hughes. Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates, Inc.