Remembering Many

A great deal of notable people were lost in 2016, many this month alone.

This is a just a list of some of the more recognizable names that made headlines this year, causing people to immediately stop and reflect on the lives of these people. People die everyday, but only so many, such as these people, live a full and everlasting life. They all celebrated just one more Christmas before passing on and leave behind a trail of accomplishments and contributions to society in general.

christmas.jpg

Florence Henderson

Gene Wilder

Fidel Castro

Alan Thicke

Bernard Fox

Craig Sager

John Glenn

Arnold Palmer

Prince

Muhammad Ali

David Bowie

Alan Rickman

Harper Lee

Nancy Reagan

Gordie Howe

Pat Summitt

Merle Haggard

Leonard Cohen

Frank Sinatra, Jr.

This is in remembrance to them all.

I Stand With Paris

So terrorized now
But all coming together
For Land of Eiffel

My thoughts go out to the 129 killed in the terrorist attacks in Paris on the night of November 13, which were carried out by Islamic forces. From laying roses on symbolic markers for the fallen to President Obama giving a special prayer and condemning the terrorists, the day was nothing short of tributes. The French flag’s colors of red, white, and blue, coincidentally America’s colors, were proudly displayed in various places across the nation. All across social media, users are changing their profile pictures to include an overlay of the France flag over their face or the iconic building, such as I did:

paris5

A short word from the U.S. leader:

*

New America

14 years ago,
A tragic happening,
A city was in ruins,
Walls crumbling down around

The smoke filled the air,
The ash was so toxic,
New York life running,
Running for their life

Today I bow my head,
And put on a quiet somber,
To remember those who died,
The kids who lost their mother and father

I remember the day,
I remember the people,
The beauty was destroyed,
The shattered steeple

A young child was I,
So innocent and unaware,
We made it through though,
Can’t pick on us,
We are prepared

This New America,
It seems so much better,
But it is not perfect,
Still have scarlet letters

The world so advanced,
Social media rules us all,
Our eyes, my eyes,
Are wide open,
All because of that tragic fall

But even on this day
A little humor is okay
It helps to heal the wounds
Helps to restitch the tattered fray

Brought together again
The world so diverse
The beauty of tragedy
so poetically versed

I’ll Take The Chance

If there were a real Fountain of Youth, would you drink the water?

0331 Unbroken Pool

Only if I was absolutely sure the water was clean and pure, lol. Is there a sign there that says it’s OK to drink? I don’t want to be stupid and die a painful death from a foolhardy poisonous trap. And no telling how many people have walked in that fountain or if it even has the ability to magical clean itself. But in the best case scenario I would absolutely love to shed some years off my life, but not too many, maybe just down to about seven years old. I wouldn’t stop at my 12 to 14 year old life, since those weren’t exactly the brightest days.

Back in September 2001, I was sitting at an Apple IIe computer in the resource room, another name for the special room for kids with learning disabilities. I was ten years old. I remember the phone ringing and my teacher in there picking it up. She said hello and there was a moment of silence before she promptly hung up. Then she turned on the television hanging from the ceiling and instantly a news broadcast about some plane having crashed into a New York City building came up. It looked horrifying. The first thing I noticed was the big clouds of grey smoke surrounding a smoldering tower. Then an announcement came over the PA system:

“Because of a recent terrorist attack, all students are being let out of school early today for their safety. Please have them exit the building and board the buses immediately. Parents are free to pick up their children if necessary.”

I’m not sure if it went exactly like that but nevertheless, I was sent home that day, not really knowing what was going on. It was only until I got home and saw that my parents were talking about the attacks and had the news broadcast on that it registered in my mind. And then the second tower was hit and I remember my mom freaking out over it, not wanting to see the replay that was being used multiple times. This was the first time I was seeing something like this, being so used to cheery cartoons and Disney shows. Being forced by dad to sit there and take in the events “out of respect” was a little painful and boring because this wasn’t my idea of fun. And then President Bush came on with an urgent announcement. And of course all blame was laid on him.

The rest is a bit muddy. All I remember is a number of country songs being released the following weeks giving tribute to the 2,993 that lost their lives. I remember some controversy going around about Toby Keith releasing a song with the lyric “Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass/It’s the American way”. It died down though in midst of more serious matters, the biggest one being the war in Iraq that would ignite and keep going for very long time.

With the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this week, it would be a story to go back to when New Orleans was in the middle of devastation. I was 13 years old at the time and just beginning to understand how the world works. I remember the levees breaking, remember the flooding of the city on TV, remember the people seeking refuge in the Louisiana Superdome that had a hole in the roof.

Would I have the power to change events? I sure hope so. I would love to revisit that spelling bee in fourth grade that I got eliminated on the very first word I received: Flashback! Oh, geez. How did I get that wrong? Did the judges mishear me? I should have said something to them. I was very sure that I spelled the word right. But being that I didn’t have much of a voice, I just went and sat where my mom and sisters were and watched the rest of the contest. My mom asked me what had happened and I just shrugged my shoulders. Felt like a big disappointment there and the next day in school. No one seemed to acknowledge it though.

I wrote a poem similar to this prompt topic back on November 19, 2014.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Forever Young.”

WPC: Fireworks

Normally, fireworks aren’t much to get excited about, but when I finally got the chance to get some decent photographs of some this Memorial Day weekend, a new perspective of these pyrotechnic marvels opened up to me. It must be true, as with snowflakes, that no set-off firework ever is the same.
Fireworks

Bursting red, like a brilliant star exploding after millions of years, emitting a hot shower of sparks, raining down with a sizzle and fizzing out into the nether. This firework looks so much like one of those flowers with sprouting antennae like feelers, which are probably used to absorb sunlight.

“And the rockets red glare”

Fireworks

A more finely tuned set of fireworks, with the quill like structures of porcupines. The thing about catching fireworks on camera, especially with a point and click, is that you have to sometimes press the shutter button before the firework bursts open in the sky, and what you end up with is totally random.

“The bombs bursting in air”

Fireworks

And this was part of the “grand finale” that tuned out this year to be a complete letdown. Unlike in previous years, there were only a couple of fireworks set off, not the big pyrotechnic show of dazzling lights and cannon booming shaking the night, leaving a cloud of smoke afterward. I guess they were cutting back on the budget, trying to save money for more important things like fixing the roads. There will be two more firework shows this year in my city, so watch out for more pictures of these holiday traditions in the future.

For all the vets who have died in the past and recently, this Memorial Day post goes out to you.

“For the land of the free…and the home of the brave!” 


Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

I decided to include this as a second entry for this week’s WPC, since fireworks are a thing that starts off as one large cluster and then explode/break into many smaller parts.

Paying My Grand Respects

Dear Uncle Dwight, spiritual being,

I may not have known you personally or even gotten a real chance to get to know you, but I have to say your “going away party” was the best thing that I had ever witnessed in my life, a real honor and privilege to have been apart of, even more adding to the fact that it happened to fall on my sister Emily’s 19th birthday, the symbolic celebration of life advancing and life ending hard to ignore.

You were a great man, who accomplished many things in your lifetime, notably being a teacher of many and inspiring others to learn, and serving in the Michigan National Guard, taking an important part in defending this great nation. All of the family still living were in attendance, many of them I had never met, saying their goodbyes, paying their respects, telling marshmallowy stories of you and how you made certain family members lives better with your joyful presence, and how you graciously helped out individuals, including my father when he was going through his first hip replacement back in 2001 – you were willing to put aside your own schedule to help a friend or relative in need, and that shows how unselfish a person you were.

I especially enjoyed the story of how you, when you were a young lad, used to sit in the back of the church, the very same one you were laid in today, and always make noise, such as tapping your Kiwanis Club ring on the pew or talking loudly with a friend, until your mother supposedly whispered, “Quiet, Dwight!” I would have never known it before, but you were quite a humorous individual, who loved to make others laugh, and could brighten up anyone’s day in an instant, just because you were so free spirited and full of happiness. You were quite the life of the party when you were living, and I can only imagine that you will continue to be that way while living within the pearly gates.

“And I will raise you up on eagle’s wings” – Singing those hymnal songs was one of the best moments of your funeral service, the togetherness really coming alive, the serious matter of the moment in the air being cut through like a knife, cheerfulness instantly spreading to everyone in the church. I hadn’t sung church songs in so long, I forgot how wonderful it sounded to have my voice ring out, to feel my vocal cords vibrating, joining the the warm chorus of spiritually invigorating music, only this time it didn’t seem empty, had a definite purpose – I and everyone else were singing to you; this was your time to shine, your victory celebration, celebrating a good long life and how it touched many other people’s lives in truly amazing ways. One of your favorite church hymns, “Amazing Grace”, was the final to be sung, and there are not enough words to describe how special a moment it was singing with everyone, young and old.

Reverend Elias Murbiro from Zimbabwe did an incredible preaching about your life and how you have gone from a “physical body to a spiritual body”, repeating those words a number of times during the sermon, each time with a daring burst of soul in his voice. His words were packed with power and ultimate enthusiasm, really uplifting the spirits of all who mourned in the small church on a chilly February afternoon in Saginaw, your’s and the Chisholms’ home for many years. His voice was so booming, I could literally feel my hymnal book vibrating.

80 years. That’s a good long life. Nice round number. Eight decades worth of events, many of them historical. When you were born in 1934, Iran was Persia, The Three Stooges had just been introduced, and Adolf Hitler had just taken over as the head power, or Fuhrer, of Germany, and 90% of the population actually approved of his presidential power – that percentage supposedly went down over time. The price of gas in ’34 was a mere 10 cents. The Great Depression was ending.

So here’s to an incredible life worth living every day, and how you never let one moment slip away while you were in your prime; from enjoying some of your favorite hobbies such as hunting, fishing, and writing music, to doing the thing you loved the most – teaching, going from educating high school kids to continuing to spread the gift of knowledge in retirement.

Best wishes in the afterlife,

Your nephew,

Matt