George Herbert Walker Bush (1924 – 2018)

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​Not sure if this is going to be longer later, but – I’m sad that George Bush 41 passed away. I’ve been listening to both the hagiographies and the realistic assessments of his presidency and public service career. Whatever else he was, he was a kind and decent person who cared about and loved his family and his country deeply. He had faith and beliefs that he kept in his heart throughout his life. He had a good sense of humor, and he made it okay for us to not like broccoli.

He signed the Americans with Disabillities Act and when he was asked to intervene in pushing back the Iraqi regime out from their invasion of Kuwait, he acted. He forrmed a multi-national coalition including Middle Eastern/Muslim countries, and when their objective was done (Hussein going back to Baghdad), he didn’t push an imperialistic doctrine.

He saw, and contributed, to the peaceful end of the Cold War after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, including the reunification of Germany, which is likely one reason that Chancellor Merkel came to pay her respects.

I didn’t vote for him, but I worked for him…kind of. I was a civilian in the Navy’s child development program. In addition to our regular group of military children under five, we were also joined by a couple of displaced kids when their parents were called up and their reserve units were activated during the Gulf War. Oddly, I was less politically active and vocal during Bush’s Presidency than just prior when I was in college and studying political science.

When he pledged not to raise taxes, then got into office, and saw the reality of the economy, he took a leap (and it probably cost him a second term), and for the good of the country, he raised taxes. For the good of the country.

He also closed military bases, which included my being laid off.

At 17, after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted, volunteering for the Navy and was the youngest aviator. He was shot down over the Pacific. He then went to college, and over the span of decades was Congressman, ambasasador, director of the CIA, Vice President and President of the United States. A lifetime of service. A good man.

He should be admired.

This eulogized more than I had originally intended.

The point I wanted to make is that if you’re waiting for someone who is unproblematic in order to eulogize them and offer condolences and respects upon their death after a lifetime of service, you may as well stop now. There is no such person. There will never be any such person. Even Saint Mother Theresa didn’t always believe in G-d, and she’s a saint. The point being that take a forward glance towards the future of state funerals and name the one, unproblematic one that we’re allowed to feel bad for, to admire, to want to emulate aspects of. They are all problematic to someone.

That doesn’t dismiss the valid feelings they invoke, but it may need some additional perspective. 

George HW Bush was a decent man, with morals and he attempted to be better, not better than anyone or any of us or anyone around him, but just better.

And in this world of Wisconsin Republicans overthrowing the duly elected incoming state government (is this the tyranny the NRA has warned us about? But that’s another discussion, isn’t it?), we could all use a little bit more decent.

EXCELSIOR

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Stan Lee (1922-2018)
It was announced today that Stan Lee, Marvel Legend, co-creator of Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and several of The Avengers, including Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, and Falcon as well as Black Panther and Doctor Strange, passed away today at the age of 95, just about eighteen months after his beloved wife, Joan, passed away.

In 2010, he started the non-profit Stan Lee Foundation, which seeks to provide literacy, education, and the arts throughout the United States.

This past weekend, our family was watching Teen Titans Go to the Movies, and we were surprised and delighted to see a cameo from Stan Lee despite this being a DC production. Stan Lee worked at times in his long career for both DC and Marvel, but his long relationship with Marvel is primarily what fans recall. He was also a veteran of World War II, serving in the Signal Corps and the Army Training Film Division. He was inducted into the Signal Corps Association last year (2017). 

We always looked forward to his cameos in the recent Marvel films, and can’t wait to see the next two that are already finished or in post-production.

Stan Lee, may his memory be a blessing.

46/52 – Transgender Day of Remembrance

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As of this writing, 25 trans people have been murdered this year, however that number may only be the US. This is something that needs to end. It’s not about whether or not you agree with someone’s truth, but the transphobia is killing trans people, especially women of color and youth.

We need to remember and continue moving forward to better lives for trans people, equality, and safety.

The first Day of Remembrance was held online in 1999 and has evolved into a day of action as well as a memorial. It occurs every year on November 20th, which is tomorrow.

Please visit the Trans Day of Remembrance site for up to date information and a memorial list of the 2017 deaths as well as Glaad.org/tdor

September 11th

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Every year I try to reflect and write something meaningful for today. I’m not sure that any of us who were witnesses to the events of 9/11 will be able to just let this day pass unnoticed.

While touring Northern Ireland, I was very much surprised to see a tree and plaque commemorating September 11th. I do understand that many faiths and nations lost people in those attacks. However, I was moved that this wasn’t a remembrance for their own citizens, but in mourning, memorial, and solidarity with us. It is directly across from the Northern Ireland War Memorial, and within the gates of Belfast City Hall.

The text on the plaque reads as follows: This tree was planted by Belfast City Council on 11th September 2002 to commemorate all those who so tragically lost their lives in the horrific events in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania on 11th September 2001 and to mark the special relationship which the City of Belfast enjoys with the United States of America. (c)2017

Those We Lost

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I was going to write a post about how much of my childhood I lost this past year. It seemed that every other day a new name was being memorialized on my television, on my Facebook, on my heart.

Our family lost my mother-in-law and a close family friend. My friend lost her father. Another friend lost his grandmother.

We will always continue to find inspiration somewhere, but that doesn’t make any of these losses, family or celebrity, any easier.

Death is a part of life, and with the turning of the calendar page, 2016 passes away, and 2017 is born.

We Lost a lot of Progressive Artists

Generation X Lost too many Touchstones

We Lost Carrie Fisher and so Many OthersRemembering Those We’ve Lost

Timeline of Celebrity Deaths – 2016

Memorial Video

My mother-in-law. (c)2016

Grandma with her grandkids (my kids) after the third one was born. (c)2006-2016

Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall

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Back in the spring, the Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall came to one of our local towns. It is a smaller, to scale version of the Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. I’ve seen the replica wall before and it is still surprising at how moving and emotional it can be to visit.

If you have the opportunity to see it in your own area, take it. It is paid for through donations, so you can pay what you can afford and take as muich time as you need for your visit.

There is an area where you can look up family members or friends who may be engraved on the wall, and you can have the opportunity to take a pencil engraving.

There is the continual hum of all of the names being read while you visit.