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Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Poem for the Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day

Here is a poem which I wrote and humbly dedicate to all American veterans who lost their lives in the war on terrorism, and fighting for freedom and peace throughout the world:

In Loving Memory*

With hope and valor
you fought for freedom
without fear and reservation
you shed tears and blood
to the end...

Committed to defend
your country---your home
you fought decisively
struggled hard to win
victory...with so much pain
sacrifice and suffering...

In the service to humanity
you left us a legacy
to cherish and to uphold
that love for one's country
is worth-dying for!

Gone, but not forgotten
yet honored and remembered
today, yesterday, and forever
you the unsung heroes
the freedom lovers and fighters
the peacemakers and keepers
you will always be
our ideal and inspiration
for a better life-world
where there's love
and unity and peace
and brotherhood among humankind!

(c) 2011 by chris a. quilpa

*Published in The Dry Dock, NMC San Diego, CA (Poem was originally entitled "In Memoriam," May 22, 1987); Sandpointer, NSPS, Seattle, WA(May 24, 1991); The Courier, NMC Portsmouth, VA (May 1995); Philippine News, San Francisco, CA (April6-12, 1994); The Dry Dock, NMC San Diego, CA (May 27, 1994); The Filipino Chronicle, Virginia Beach, VA (May 1997); (2004); (9/11/2005); and Suffolk News-Herald, Suffolk, VA (May 22, 2008).

On Memorial Day: Honoring our Fallen Heroes

On Monday, May 30th, this year, we Americans, at home and abroad, will remember our valiant veterans, our beloved men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States of America, who have served and sacrificed their lives fighting to preserve peace and democracy, and the freedom we enjoy today.

On this very special day, we pay solemn tribute to our fallen heroes of war and peace, whose noble deeds and good intentions made America the land, and leader, of the free world.

As we gather together, offering our prayers and flowers at the resting places of our deceased loved ones, we can't help but reflect on the many contributions they have made and all the hardships and sacrifices they have encountered so that we may live free and enjoy the fruits of liberty and democracy.

According to Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, the first Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It was held on May 30, 1868, on order of General John Alexander Logan (1826-1886), an American soldier and politician from Illinois, for the purpose of decorating the graves/tombs of the American Civil War veterans with flowers, wreaths and U.S. flags. But, after World War II, the holiday commemoration was modified to include all American soldiers who lost their lives in all wars. It continued to be observed on May 30, until 1971 when most U.S. states changed the date to a newly-established federal schedule of holiday observance. Finally, the U.S. Congress has declared or designated the last Monday of May, every year, as Memorial Day.

Thus, on Memorial Day, it is fitting and appropriate that we set aside a few moments from our daily routine to honor, pray for, and give thanks to our fallen military heroes and comrades who paid the ultimate sacrfice. And, to them all, we say, "May your legacy live on and on..."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What a Sunny Tuesday with a Twist!

It's a sunny Tuesday morning, in the low 90s, in Hampton Roads. With daughter Tintin, I accompanied Freny to Greenbrier Prkwy, in Chesapeake, where she's scheduled to take her NBPT(National Board for Professional Teachers) exam today. That's why she took a day's off from work.

Thanks God, traffic was smooth along 664 South. We arrived at the testing site an hour early. Upon entering the five-storey building, we thought of using the restroom. Afterwards, we took the elevator up to the fith floor where the testing office was. Tintin and I wished Freny "Good luck," prior to checking in. Then, Tintin and I decided to hang around at Panera's, while waiting for Freny to finish her exam.

At Panera Bread, we ordered bagels (Asiago Cheese and Cinnamon Crunch, with Philadelphia cheese cream) and grande coffee with cream and sugar. The female sales associate asked me if I have a Panera card. "No, I don't have," I said. "Would you like to have one? It's free!" "Yeah, of course. I love to have one," I quipped. She handed me one, instructed me to go online to register and, "so you can start savings and having reward points." I thanked her and mentioned, matter-of-factly, that my family always dine at Panera's in Charlottesville, each time Freny and I visit the area.

Like the Panera's in Charlottesville, by Barracks Road, there were lots of diners here today; I thought we couldn't find a table. But, lo and behold, after careful "scanning" around inside this restaurant, with free Wi-Fi, we found one. We unloaded our heavy "baggage" on the rectangular wooden table; Tintin sat down immediately on her designated seat, while I remained standing beside the table. Aha, next to it was an unoccupied, small round table.There I took with me my things while Tintin was already all eyes on her opened laptop. But, then, while I was looking around, I saw three diners leaving  a longer table by the corner, one that can accommodate up to six people. I alerted Tintin so we can move over there. And that's what we did.

Awaiting for our food, we plugged our laptops in to an available outlet on the wall, and started surfing the 'net. I logged on straight to facebook. Believe me, when I say, I've been on facebook for only a week! Well, I give credit to Tintin, especially, for her assistance and patience. And to son Andrew for lending me one of his two laptops, the one he used for four years while in college. So, as a tyro(still) in the field of computer technology, I'm still learning to explore and discover what's in and out there. I'm getting excited, though. Who would have imagined a social networking tool exists, such as facebook, that helps you to re/connect with your friends, family members, etc. in the cyberspace world! Thanks a lot, Mark Zuckerberg and co. for facebook! You're incredibly amazing! Thanks to youtube, too, for I'm getting used to it, now. In fact, I'm learning a lot from watching videos and listening (music) to youtube lately. Beside being entertaining, it's educational. But, of course, there are videos that are questionable, to me, because of their content and message. My gosh...lots and lots to know/learn! So overwhelming! But I'm not complaining. Actually I love it! I know, it takes time and motivation to know something, anything...under the sun.

I was on my facebook page, on my notes, writing an Ilokano-English poem when a female server gave us our food. We thanked her. Setting aside our laptops, Tintin and I said our grace, then enjoyed our bagels and coffee with half(milk) and half(cream).  After eating, we went back to our laptops. I continued writing, using my index fingers on the keys. Carried away by my scribbling, I forgot about my cellphone that's in my pant's left pocket. I didn't hear it ringing. Until Tintin called my attention, reminding me that probably Freny has called me. That she's done with her exam. My gosh, I couldn't believe it: surely, she called and texted me several times. Leaving Tintin alone at Panera's, I went to pick up Freny. She was already outside, by the parking lot, when I arrived in front of the building. "How was it?" I asked about her exam. "It's ok, I guess, hope I made it," she said, as we headed back to Panera's. Luckily, we occupied the same spot in the parking lot at Panera's.

Entering Panera's, we saw the line to order food was long. We decided to order later. We went straight to Tintin who's watching a Chinese drama in her laptop. "How was the test, Mama?" she asked. "Good," answered Freny as she hugged her "baby" Tintin. At that time, I mentioned them about my new Panera card. Yes, I have to register to to avail myself of the benefits. With little help from Tintin, while registering, I got my free strawberry smoothie, after Freny and I were done ordering and paying for our lunch, and upon presenting my card to the sales associate. Yeah, I was ecstatic...having smoothie which I haven't had for a while! Of course, I did share it with my two lovely women in my life while savoring our healthy meal of classic salad and baguettes and apples. And, cold water, as our beverage.

Okay, in between our lunch, I interrupted Tintin's eating to show/teach me how to create a blog. (I've wanted for so long to have a blog, but didn't get the chance to create one.) Finally, my wish came true! Yes, here's my first entry blog, written on installment basis.Yes, done on installment. Know why?

Here's the twist: On our way home, after four in the afternoon, we encountered a nasty, severe weather. A strong storm visited our area! Traffic was slow and eventually halted. Freny, who was the one driving, couldn't even see the way while we're on interstate 664 North. We could hear hails falling, striking through the roof of our vehicle. Slowly, we inched our way to seek shelter on an overpass, just like the vehicles in front of us. Lightning and thunder ruled the gloomy world. God, what's happening around? Please allow us to be home, Lord! I was reminded of that tornado that devastated some parts of Suffolk in April 2008. The power of Mother Nature is unbelievable! No one, not even the most sophisticated technological gadget or instrument, can deter the power and fury of Mother Nature.  

After thirty minutes, traffic was moving smoothly. Finally, we're home. Good God, thank you. We made it home, safe and sound!