The Promise to our MIAs

I recently attended a showing of the film, “A Solemn Promise: Missing in Action,” in a theatre that was filled with Vietnam Vets. This was the story of the ongoing search for the missing and unaccounted men and women who served in our wars beginning with World War II.

We all learned that there are over 83,000 individuals still missing in action. Our country is the only nation that has made this vow to never stop searching for its MIAs. Now with the help of DNA, identification of remains has improved greatly over the years.

A submerged plane was located after a fishing boat’s nets became tangled in the aircraft. All the soldiers were rescued along with a dog. Remains from a mass-burial gravesite in the Phillipines are being identified as well as at battlegrounds in Vietnam.

At the conclusion of the film, a question and answer session showed how raw the feelings of these vets still is so many years after the end of the Vietnam War. One veteran cried as he expressed his thanks and relief in learning that his missing friends have not been forgotten.

I only learned of this recently from a friend whose DNA is being used to help identify a missing relative. It was a very emotional and gratifying evening. I wonder how many Americans do not know of these extraordinary efforts to help bring closure to the families of those Missing-in-Action, but not forgotten, men and woman.

I am Skeptical

Now that I am a grandma, I have spent a lot of time skipping down memory lane. Today, I want to discuss potty training, which was a reward which every parent impatiently anticipated and celebrated its success.

I opened my baby book and discovered that I began my adventures in potty training at the age of—wait for it, wait for it—7 ½ months!! I kid you not. According to my mom’s entries in my book, I apparently had some success well before my first birthday. I find that hard to believe.

What does this really mean? Apparently this coincided with the moment when I was able to sit alone unaided, so I guess Grandma just plopped me on the potty. Did she follow a signal, or did she just strap me aboard and forced me to remain there until success was achieved?

If you are repulsed when changing a number-two-filled disposable diaper, I must tell you that it is a piece of cake compared to changing a similarly filled cloth diaper, so I understand rushing the process. However, I am extremely skeptical of the success of placing a child on the throne at such a very young age.

I need to have a chat with Grandma about this.


We’ve Come a Long Way, but Not Far Enough Yet

After a historic number of women were elected to public office this week, including at least 35 newly-elected to the House of Representatives—joining 65 already serving—I decided to look back on some of the advancements for women’s rights since I was born.

When I was five, the FDA approved birth control pills, and what surprised me in learning this was that nineteen years earlier, it was illegal to send information through the mail because that was considered to be obscene.

President Kennedy established the “President’s Commission on the Status of Women,” which recommended affordable day care, paid maternity leave, and fair hiring. I think we still have a long way to go on these issues.

Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for women to be paid less than men for the same job, and the Supreme Court ruled, in 1965, that contraception was now legal between married couples.

Employment ads by sex were no longer permitted, and the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress when I was a junior in high school, but it still has never been ratified by enough states.

In 1971, unmarried individuals were permitted to use contraceptives, discrimination in schools based upon sex was banned in 1972, and women were given the right to a safe and legal abortion in 1973.

Women could no longer be discriminated against for being pregnant, the Supreme Court decided that sexual harassment at work is illegal, and the first woman was elected to that court in 1982.

No longer are women banned from serving in combat, and just two years ago, woman were permitted to serve in any job in the armed services.

We have come a long way, but we still have not had a woman elected to the presidency. I eagerly await that day. I hope it comes years before our little two-year old sweetie can run for office.



Was it Enough?

I am beginning this day feeling both hopeful and anxious. How will this day end? Will tomorrow show the world that America is not satisfied with the status quo, or will we be looked upon around the globe with continued worry and confusion?

Politics never interested me. I never went to a march or a political rally, never communicated with my representatives, never allied with a particular party, and never did anything more than vote.

This time it is different. I am worried about the future for my children and grandchildren. Clean air and water, affordable healthcare and equality for all, and the return of integrity and trust has made me an activist.

It began with the Women’s March, followed by the realization that marching and carrying a clever sign was not enough. I decided to dip my toe into local politics. I attended and hosted meetings, where I learned how I could make a difference.

I wrote hundreds of postcards for my candidates for governor and Congress. I learned how to register people to vote. I helped organize a candidates’ forum. I visited my current congressman every week, armed with cookies and questions in the hopes of proving or disproving the fact that he does not answer to his constituents. Sadly, I learned he does not care about me.

I made telephone calls during primary season and knocked on doors as part of the Get Out The Vote campaign (GOTV). This got me out of my comfort zone when I saw that people were thankful for the information I provided on the candidates as well as how and where to go to vote early absentee.

In the wake of so much gun violence, I joined Moms Demand Action, a national group intent on enacting more common-sense gun laws. With this group, I learned how an idea becomes a law in my state, when I attended subcommittee and committee meetings, which happen before a law can be voted upon by the legislature.

I did a lot, but did I do enough? I will know tomorrow when I see the election results. No matter what, when my grandchildren read about the 2018 election in their history books, I will be able to tell them the story of the people I met, the things we all did, and how Grandma did not let this election go down without a fight.


Hurry Hurry Hurry

Hurry, hurry, hurry, everyone! Today is November 2, so the Christmas season has officially begun. I became acutely aware of this yesterday when I started channel-surfing on my car radio and discovered that the Christmas station is already up and running. (Channel 4 for anyone interested.) I am already late in acknowledging this.

So toss out those pumpkins before they rot. Take down those Halloween wreaths from your front doors and put away your costumes and decorations. Eat that candy before you begin baking the cookies. Begin creating your Christmas lists for Santa and your loved ones.

Should I even bother displaying my Thanksgiving decorations—the ceramic pilgrims and tacky Mr. Rushmore salt and pepper shakers that I love? It’s time to put up those outdoor lights and drag out the Christmas tree. Hurry, hurry, hurry, before it’s too late!