Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happy Memorial Day!!

    As you fire up the grill or get ready for a family outing this Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to remember the real reason we celebrate this occasion. It's true that in most of the country (Florida and warm states are the exceptions) we've come to equate Memorial Day with the start of "swimming pool" season in anticipation of Summer. But Memorial Day used to be called "Decoration Day" and was created to honor the men and women who died in service to our country.

    While decorating soldiers graves with flowers is an ancient custom, our memorial day was born out of our Civil War and while many states claim to have been the first to honor their heroes, the call for Memorial Day to be commemorated annually and nationwide came on May 5, 1868 from General John Logan commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of The Republic, a veterans' organization for Union Civil War veterans. Logan declared: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country..." the date is said to have been chosen because it did not the commemorate any particular battle.

    Memorial Day moved from May 30th to the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971.

    Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pursuit of Happiness!

    As Bruce Jenner continues to reveal more of the transgender journey that will allow an outward expression of the inner woman: "For all intents and purposes, I am a woman" (Bruce Jenner April. 2015) -- it's important to remember that regardless of Bruce's gender, Bruce is a fantastic parent and a shining example for anyone and everyone who wants to pursue their personal happiness-- happiness which often means being a parent.

     Bruce has 10 children in all, having a blended family that includes six kids from three marriages as well as being a parent to his four step-children that former wife Kris had with Robert Kardashian.  All of the children support Bruce's decision and confirm what a loving and caring parent Bruce has always been and will continue to be.
      It is my hope that Bruce, now perhaps the most famous face of the transgender community, will serve as a symbol to all parents to build a loving, supportive family just as Bruce has done. He is an inspiration to all parents and a role model to everyone pursuing their inner happiness. Pursue YOUR happiness.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland

    With the second anniversary of the heroic escape by three women held captive in Cleveland--the recent publishing of a memoir by two of the women, and Mother's Day just days away-- I felt it fitting to celebrate their stunning story of bravery against all odds.

    You know the names: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. You know their story: kidnapped, held captive, emotionally battered and sexually tortured by Ariel Castro for a decade, until they escaped along with Berry's daughter on May 6th, 2013. But beyond what these women suffered, a real mark of their amazing strength and spirit is how they were able to raise Amanda Berry's daughter Jocelyn, (fathered by Castro) now eight years old, and give her as much of a normal life as possible, despite what they endured. It's true that Jocelyn's birth gave Berry strength, and the women formed a bond, a family of their own to protect Jocelyn. But the courage they showed in the face of such adversity is beyond remarkable.

    It is my hope that this story will serve as a reminder to mothers and fathers everywhere about the importance of parenthood -- so that so-called normal families who will never face the traumas Amanda, Gina, Michelle and little Jocelyn faced-- will be sure to love and protect their kids at all cost.

The Memoir of Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus is entitled:
 Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland

Michelle Knight's Memoir is entitled:
Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings