A new year is upon us after several disappointing years in trying to achieve progress for all Americans. For me this new year will be tempered with more than frustration for the failure we have faced in trying to achieve a just society for all Americans. It will be tempered by the sadness of being the first year I will face without my favorite American of all, my father George Dillon. A man that was much more than a father to me. He was my best friend, my mentor, my business partner and my greatest defender. In him I see all I wish my country could be and all that those I despise on the other side of the spectrum are not.
At 11:30 yesterday morning on the corner of Greene St. and Washington Pl. I met Firefighter James M. Sorokac for the first time. I'd never met him before but being the keeper of "The Last Alarm" and a member of the of the FDNY ceremonial unit, his face was far too familiar to me.
In the shadow of the Asch Building he explained that the bell that is rang for the fallen dates back to a time when there was one bell at every NYC fire house. He told me the story of the four fives. When firehouses would communicate to each other across the city by ringing five times in a series of four the message that "a brother has fallen in the line of duty."
Today that bell is rang once by a white gloved firefighter at funerals and memorial services. Yesterday Firefighter James M. Sorokac rang that bell 146 times.
There's been rumblings lately among some on the other side of the health care debate that neighbors should take care of each other, and I couldn't agree more.
You see, Ted Kennedy was my neighbor. He was your neighbor, too.
When my two children were born with autism, a developmental disability, Ted Kennedy was there speaking out about the need for head start, a program that my son used to help him make eye contact and understand that he could communicate his needs with words, and not just with crying: http://www.tedkennedy.com/jour...
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. The first Decoration Day was held 3 years after our war, the Civil War.
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 during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.