War Stories from my Father, in the Honor of Poland

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If there’s one thing I know, it is that telling stories is more difficult then telling tales. Telling stories is waiting for the moment when your friend is listening, I mean really listening and you pour out your feelings. Telling tales is adding or subtracting from what actually happened, and that is a lie. These “tall tales” or metafictional works of the imagination are what our narrator wants us to watch out for. O’Brien points this out right away- that metafiction is where truth and fake diverge. He indicates that when you see a horrid event, reality leaves you for a while. Sometimes the truth, meaning what actually happened, is so hard to digest that you want something pleasant in the story. The author indicts that those stories are half truth or less. This entire chapter in it’s self is a threshold between what really happened and what people want you to believe. Nature plays a key role in how “he died was almost beautiful.” Curt Lemon died, yes, but O’Brien toys with reality in my mind until the truth comes out. That’s the trouble with war stories, O’Brien declares. I agree, for when he says that they are supposed to hurt the stomach, I can attest to that myself.

When I was really sick in bed, last night actually, and I thought of a question, one I have wanted to know for years my dad was at my side. I was feeling nauseous, and in incredible amounts of pain. My dad stayed with me almost the entire night leading into the day. The question I asked him baffled him, I knew right away in his tone. His answer was even more shocking. Actually, the story he told is still intriguing me, how against even the evils of Hitler my grandfather, whom I never met survived the Second World War. The story translated into English went like this:

My father was the leader of about ten other men. (I ask how many) Ten, he says. (Then he pauses for a while lost in thought, and continues.) They were the men who gave information back to the Allies’ powers, but when the Russian men came, they knew. They knew that my dad was not on Hitler’s side, so they had a plan. A plan to kill the men, he said. (Then he paused, this time a different pause- a sad pause. Seeing my eyes in the dim light filled with intrigue he continued slowly though. I was scared of what was to come of the men. My fears came true when he suddenly told the rest of the story. I thought maybe the men…, when my dad seeing my imagination going went on too.) Four of them were caught the next day, taken to Siberia where they were brutally done away with. (Heads cut off or something worse I asked my dad.) It was probably worse knowing Stalin but not for your ears child. The next dawn, my father and his remaining men escaped quietly, quickly and most importantly ( my dad said) without a chase. (How far I asked?) From the tip of Illinois to the border of Iowa (for I needed an estimated route), and stayed there until they knew no one would come back to their hideout. My father just knew, child, he knew that it was safe, and so they came back and worked. More alert now, my dad says. He wasn’t taken ( he declared). To the working camp either, the death camp, he ran away from that also. (How, I asked) God, he said. He was a good man, Maria. (I wished I had met him.) Then my dad says he wishes also. After that, he was quiet and I swear I could see tears forming at the brim of his pale, tired eyes. Then I asked one final question, and asking it almost made me cry, so I cannot imagine what it must have done for him.

Do you miss your dad? Yes, too much his said. That is why child, I think of Poland less, or differently. Because I do not have a mom or a dad. Hearing him say that aloud at 50, for the first time baffled me, but just then I began rapid coughing once again. So he helped me. For hours, and his mind was on helping me, but his eyes felt strange. I think his eyes where in Poland.

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An Essay I wrote at 17 about a president I admire (throwback)

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I thought in today’s troubling times I would share this essay of hope. Please enjoy and share your favorite president in the comments.

  A Dance with Catherine: The Many Faces of John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy came into his presidency looking as a fresh, new face in the American government. In fact, the American public was immediately taken by the bright, upbeat image he exuded. The people as well as the government slowly grew in majority to believe that Kennedy could handle anything, and as it turns out, it is almost certain that no one could have done a better job, or spoken to the people quite like Mr. Kennedy. The one thing that completely stunned the people was the influential, charismatic mannerisms that this president had. He was not only the youngest president ever, but one whose speeches are still quoted today. Being born into a wealthy, influential family he experienced extravagant living from the beginning. The other extravagant, personal characteristic about him that one notices right away is his amazing courage.

In many ways, Kennedy had an unfinished life, only living from 1927 to 1963 (Dallek). He was assassinated before he could properly deal with the Vietnam War. Many believe that there was a plot against his life and that is unfortunate for he could have accomplished so many more things. Sometimes what made the state senator turned president’s life more extravagant was the simplicity in which he executed his speech. “This is a great country. But I think it can be greater. I think we can do better.  I think we can make this country move again.” (Rubin) More so, Kennedy not only gave moving speeches but a whole lot more care was put into each and every word like an artist with an unfinished piece of art. “Kennedy actually stirred people into action.” (Rubin)

However, the speeches he gave while alive were enough from moving us to tears, to changing our entire spectrum of thinking. John F. Kennedy is best perhaps remembered for his inaugural speech, in which he states, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” (Clarke) There is another quote that proves that not even the president believes completely in our justice system, and that is an extraordinary thing for him to admit. “Law alone cannot make men see right.” (Rubin)

When medical problems put a damper on the president’s life he had this to say, “No this is my time. My time is now.” (Dallek) He was suddenly ill, and some doctors even speculated him to be in a wheel chair for a while. However, the strong-willed president just kept upon the path he was. Despite being so rich and having such luxuries, he managed to keep a straight head and relate to the American public. This situation of illness proved that the president was willing to pull himself forward and lead the nation until his untimely death in 1963 in Texas. His death left a permanent scar of questions that will never be answered.

Perhaps the most extravagant thing in Kennedy’s life was his role in the Vietnam War. It was clear he wanted us to get out of it, but because of assassination that would never be so. He expressed concerns that Vietnam would join the already growing curtain of red, in other words communism. Although Kennedy was not a coward, he felt dignified with losing this war. “Did not necessitate a victory”, he was clear as a bell in his thinking that Vietnam cannot fall, but he also believed that we, as a people needed to realize that we should pull out of Vietnam. The amount of money and lost lives that had been spent was unacceptable to him and the American people. He acknowledged that as another excellent reason to pull out of Vietnam, for if the plans were not following through then, the cost was not worth the loss of money and life.

The attention-grabbing concept about the crisis with Russia, Cuba, and Vietnam, was not only his different responses to each, but how his children were all shown with him, a bonding that would not last. His daughter, Catherine, is shown dancing with him in a well-known book, and it shows the sensitive caring side of the president. (Kennedy had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis which involved Russia (Perret). Any other president would have his children away and protected while he worked under these extremely stressful conditions. He worked in these top secret meetings, but in between them would always have time for a dance with Catherine. Many look at this as inappropriate. However, Kennedy did not care and for that he should be applauded, for as extravagant as he was as a president, he was twice as amazing a dad. When he passed away, America’s heart broke right with Catherine.

As a result, Kennedy was seen as an extravagant person as a politician and father. He was incredible during his inaugural speech that that set him off in the right direction. His dealings with the Cuban Missile Crisis and ultimately Vietnam showed his character as not only a president but a person. It is so difficult to imagine that such an amazing human being could be assassinated and more so that America could continue fighting in a war it was not meant to win. So here is a final quote from Kennedy’s first speech as president. They are powerful words, but universal as well, and prove as to the color of his character. “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” (Safire)

The Final “Final Straw”: Please Wake Up Mr. Trump

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An Open Letter

Dear Mr. Trump,

How many times do we have to see you doing this? The mean tweets were a hallmark of your campaign, and began a new dark part of American History. Your wife promised to fight Cyber-bullying as first lady but it seems you are doing just that -bullying. There are so many huge, pressing issues in today’s world. There always have been. But the threat of North Korea is becoming more real. Threats of terrorism as England and other countries experience unimaginable pain loom and we need a leader who is capable of facing that enormous burden with dignity. When you said you didn’t realize how hard being a president is, some hoped you would change your fear mongering and scare tactics, but you haven’t. After attacking a female host of MSNBC, which is just added to a long list of inappropriate behavior you gear towards women, you continue to tweet, damaging not only our view of you but the world’s view of you. We don’t need a bully in the White House. We need a leader and a man of class. A man who wants to make positive changes. There is the healthcare disaster bill that you are pushing so hard that the thought of it overwhelms most Americans. Millions of people would lose healthcare if it passed. That and the North Korean threat are only two of so many issues you should be focused on instead of what the media says about you. Furthermore, besides freedom of speech is there some truth to Mika saying you are damaging Democracy? John Adams once said “If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.” When will you put aside glory for the good of the American people? So many times I thought, this is the final straw he has to change. I say this is a cause of action. What will be the final, final straw Mr. Trump? What will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and gives you a realization that everything has to change?

Sincerely,

A concerned citizen

Now that he’s won what has he done? A call for calm, but a call to act

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All the polls were so unbelievably wrong 

Somehow he has won 

(No, I didn’t just wake up, although I wish I could from this nightmare)

I’m not being bitter or a sore loser

I’m worried about this beautiful country, about the state of the union the state of the United States 

Now that he has won, what has he done?

It’s mayhem and massive diplomatic mistakes that make headlines 

It’s sad, impulsive, insulting early morning tweets that make news 

Tweets do nothing but cause more trouble and distract from our point of attack

I call to us all to act, I call to action 

I don’t know what we can do

But something has be done

The lawmakers aren’t doing nearly enough 

And I know many of us have had enough

I say, we make sure that all people know he’s a fraud and not a man of honor or a man that respects others

So I ask: it’s do or die: speak up

Not just for now, but for the future of this country and its people 

Please Vote

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Don’t quote

Trump’s false facts

Don’t despise our country

Although I’m embarrassed for this country

A sad state of affairs

Don’t let that lead to apathy

Please

For everything our Founding Father fought for

Remember that we must vote!

Vote because it’s dangerous not to

Vote because you care

OR

Vote to save us for ourselves.

(Also, you may dislike both candidates. I understand. Still, the duty to vote !)

 

 

NEVER TRUMP

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Empty promises and full pockets

For him not the American people!

Never Trump!

A nightmare it will be

It already is

The America that would be his

Would be ours no more

He doesn’t care about anything but his bottom line

He doesn’t know how to run a country

And he is constantly belittling everyone

Man, woman, and child of every race and religion alike

A racist on a rant,

Let’s stop this now.

Remember NEVER TRUMP!

Please, read and think: Trump is WRONG for America!

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A man with a plan he is not

Not any decent plan, anyway.

He belittles, rants, and offends

The rich he defends

In the building of his wall

He’d isolate us all

America is great because of:

Diversity of people

Respect

He does not have respect towards

Diversity.

That sets us apart and makes us remarkable.

The unique flavor of individuality is been threatened.

It boggles the mind that someone could support a man that says such offensive things.

Why are we allowing this circus to continue?

Truly, it’s a circus and the future of America is not a joke.

He is a joke.

We need a clear minded, reasonable, and understanding leader. He is not.

Let’s focus on making America great again with someone else leading us forth towards a great future.