Thursday, September 16, 2004

Guess How Much I Love You?

There's a story book that I like to read to little children entitled: Guess How Much I Love You. It's a book that Amy gave me when I was recovering from cancer at age 25. My biggest worry at that time was whether or not I would be able to have children after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. The book was meant to inspire me and help me think positively about my future.

After The Cat in the Hat, which I know by heart, this book is my favorite. There was a young marine who I used to write to who's innocence and strength of conviction reminded me a great deal of Little Nut Brown Hare, the main character in that book. After corresponding with him while he was in Iraq, I was glad to hear the news that he was finally home in Long Island. For me it meant that one more Marine had done his duty and was now safely home.

After he returned, our communication dwindled and we lost touch when I was going through my battle with carpel tunnel, my computer getting infected and my website getting hijacked.
Several days ago, as I was doing my daily walkabout on the net, I came across his name in the most unlikeliest of places, on a French website that I visit daily. In disbelief I followed the link to where I discovered that not only had 1Lt. Ronald Winchester gone back to Iraq for a second tour of duty (after serving 7 months), but I learned that 8 days into his second tour he was killed by a roadside explosion while he patrolled on foot outside of Baghdad. He was my fist soldier correspondent to be killed in action. My heart still reeling from 9/11, was scattered to pieces once again.
In the storybook Little Nut Brown Hare talks about how much he loved Big Nut Brown Hare and goes through several wonderful motions to show how much he loves him. Ron loved our country very much, and he showed us how much with his untiring dedication and willingness to serve, remaining positive and extending his hand to Iraqi's throughout his time there.
In the end, Little Nut, while being held tenderly in Big Nut Brown's arms, falls asleep. Big Nut Brown Hare then places the sleeping Little Nut gently on a patch of soft green grass for the night. That's how I want to remember Ron, sleeping peacefully on a patch of soft green grass.
Ronnie, may you rest in peace. I'll remember you forever, and just in case you didn’t know it, "I love you to the moon and back."

Saturday, September 11, 2004

2001 - 9/11

Two thousand one, nine eleven
Five thousand plus arrive in heaven
As they pass through the gate,
Thousands more appear in wait

A resplendent man with haloed hat
Steps forward saying, "Lets sit, lets chat"
They settle down in seats of clouds
A greeting angel calls names aloud

Groups of soldiers in blue and gray
Others in khaki and green then say
"We're from Bull Run, Yorktown, the Maine"
The Newcomer said, "You died not in vain."

From a man on sticks one could hear
"The only thing we have to fear.
The Newcomer said, "We know the rest,
Trust us sir, we've passed that test."

"Courage doesn't hide in caves
You can't bury freedom, in a grave,"
The Newcomers had heard this voice before
A distinct Yankees twang from Hyannisport shores.

A silence fell within the mist
Somehow the Newcomer knew that this
Meant time had come for her to say
What was in the hearts of the five thousand plus that day.

"Back on Earth, we wrote reports,
Watched our children play in sports
Worked our gardens, sang our songs
Went to church and clipped coupons
We smiled, we laughed, we cried, we fought
Unlike you, great we're not"

The tall man in the stovepipe hat
Stood and said, "Don't talk like that!
Look at your country, look and see
You died for freedom, just like me."

Then, before them all appeared a scene
Of rubbled streets and twisted beams
Death, destruction, smoke and dust
And people working just 'cause they must
Hauling ash, lifting stones,
Knee deep in hell, but not alone
"Look!  Blackman, Whiteman, Brownman, Yellowman
Side by side helping their fellow man!"
So said Martin, as he watched the scene
"Even from nightmares, can be born a dream."
Down below three firemen raised
The colors high into ashen haze
The soldiers above had seen it before
On Iwo Jima back in '44
The man on sticks studied everything closely
Then shared his perceptions on what he saw mostly
"I see pain, I see tears, I see sorrow - but I don't see fear."

"You left behind husbands and wives
Daughters and sons and so many lives
Are suffering now because of this wrong
But look very closely.  You're not really gone.
All of those people, even those who've never met you
All of their lives, they'll never forget you
Don't you see what has happened?
Don't you see what you've done?
You've brought them together, together as one."

With that the greeting the angel said
"Take my hand," and from there he led
a legion of Five thousand souls,
New angels to heaven and heroes to all. 

anonymous 11/12/01

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