Monday, May 26, 2008

To All Who Have and Are Serving-Thanks.

Memorial Day 
by Edgar A.  Guest

These did not pass in selfishness;
they died for all mankind;
They died to build a better world
for all who stayed behind;
And we who hold their memory dear,
and bring them flowers today,
Should consecrate ourselves once more
to live and die as they.

They were defenders of the faith
and guardians of the truth;
that you and I might live and love,
they gladly gave their youth;
And we who set this day apart
to honor them who sleep
Should pledge ourselves to hold the faith
they gave their lives to keep.

If tears are all we shed for them.
then they have died in vain;
If flowers are all we bring them,
forgotten they  remain;
If by their courage we ourselves 
to courage are not led,
Then needlessly  these graves have closed
above our heroes dead.

To symbolize our love with flowers is not enough to do;
We must be brave as they were brave,
and true as they were true.
They died to build a better world,
and we who mourn today
Should consecrate ourselves once more
to live and die as they.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tourist for A Day...

I live roughly 20 miles from Manhattan.  For 10 years before I moved to N.J. I lived in the Bronx.  Given those facts it is a bit sad how little I have checked off my list of things I would like to see and do there.  We had family in for the weekend and given that they are tourist, not only had they already done and seen more in the city than I have, they wanted to see more.  So on Sunday morning we piled the kids in the car and headed in.  
   I think therein lies part of the reason we don't get in more often....the tolls are exorbitant... the traffic is horrendous... the parking is sky high, but I digress.
   We drove past ground zero which is still mostly a hole in the ground 7 years later.  pathetic. 
We parked our car down at 45 wall street by battery park.  I worked in midtown for 7 years so I spent very little time downtown.  It is a gorgeous, charming part of the city with little surprises around every corner. We would turn a corner and there would be a street that was still cobblestone.  We  turned another corner and it was be a street full of little bistros with all outside seating.   We walked over to battery park which is a beautiful park.  It's all the way down at the end of Manhattan right on the water and it's really clean (for NYC) and nicely maintained.   I had NO idea that New York City even had a Vietnam Veteran's Memorial!  
I also had no idea that there was a Merchant Mariners Memorial. 

They do.  
On the list of things that I have wanted to do but have never gotten around to was Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty.  I have only ever come as close as the Staten Island Ferry gets you.  This time since we were with  family from Idaho we thought that we would ante up the whopping $12 that they charge for the ferry ride over and take a closer look.   Well worth it.  It helped that it was a gorgeous 70 degree day without a cloud in the sky but the boat ride over was fun, and well there is something very awe inspiring about seeing lady liberty up close.  And appropriately I found  there are few places in the city with more ethnic diversity.  You see people from all countries and cultures, several languages being spoken and it just seems so fitting that this symbol of liberty at the 'entrance' to Manhattan would be what brought us all together. 
    Well after that the only thing to do was to experience a little bit more culture,  so we headed up to Little Italy for dinner.  If you have never been to Little Italy in downtown Manhattan it is a 'MUST' experience.   You truly feel like you have walked into another world.  It is especially fascinating because we got there driving through Chinatown first and the change is drastic.  From one block to the next you feel like you  have just crossed continent borders, let alone countries, and in reality you have just driven a hundred feet! 
   The day was exhausting, but educational and fascinating and just plain fun.  So if you live within a hundred miles of Manhattan I definitely recommend taking the time to see some of the sights that in a lot of ways we just take for granted.  And, well, if you live more than a hundred miles from Manhattan why don't you come visit someone who DOES live here...and make them take you to see some of the sights?  They'll probably thank you for it.