I Have a Gripe

September 11, 2015

Fourteen Years Later – Do We Really Remember?

So here it is. The night before the world changed. I’ve been watching my Facebook feed fill up with photos of New York, Washington DC, and Shanksville. Photos of the World Trade Center, New York firefighters and police officers. Comments that say “we will never forget.”

This year, I ask one question – do we really remember?

I get very melancholy as “the day” approaches. I usually ask myself why. Do I have a right to feel this way? I didn’t know anyone who died. I know “people of people.” I wasn’t even in New York. I was in my office in Jersey.

I left work almost immediately. As I drove back to Belleville, and came closer to the smoke – and that smell – it really started to hit me. I felt numb, like thousands of others did, I am sure. I drove directly to the school where my friend’s mother worked. Her husband worked in the Twin Towers and I was worried for him. I had no idea what I could do, but I felt like that’s where I needed to be. I tried to get her to come back to my house, but she wanted to stay put. Thankfully, he was found alive.

I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night, but I remember every minute of that day. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

But by next week, with September 11th in the rear view mirror for another year, I wonder if people really remember or if it is just one day out of each year and that’s it.

I remember a country truly united. I remember standing in line to buy desk flags for every person in my department. I remember seeing flags absolutely everywhere. I remember people bringing food to their emergency responders and saying “thank you.” I remember people being proud to be American.

Now? Not so much.

I feel like we are a country more divided than ever. That this horrific day is nothing more than a political football to push forward whatever the “agenda of the day” is. That there are people who have tried to take advantage of this tragedy for personal gain.

This year I am bouncing between sickened, depressed, and angry. Each emotion for a different thought. A different memory. A different feeling. Even as I write this I know this post is more of a ramble and far less organized than posts in the past.

This year, I’ve seen this graphic going around Facebook:

AtThisMomentMaybe this is part of what got me really thinking. I always think about “that day,” but not really what was going on the night before – all the normal things people do on any given evening. Everyone was worried about their day-to-day crap. The next day none of it mattered.

This morning I had some jerk try to run me off the road because he didn’t like how I merged. I was angry and shaken. You know what? As I sit here writing this, it doesn’t matter at all. I was able to come home at the end of the day, kiss my husband, and say hello to my bird.

The people who were killed by the men (and I don’t even like to call them “men”) who represented pure evil prevented those innocent souls from getting home, kissing their loved ones and having a normal day.

Maybe that’s what it is all about when people say “never forget.”

Never forget what happened that terrible day. Pray for those families who wake up every morning without their loved ones. Remember those who knowingly gave their lives so a plane would go down in a field in Pennsylvania instead of the Capitol Building or the White House. Pray for those who lost their lives due to their service on “the pile.” But also remember to live a good life. That our being here is a gift that should not be squandered, because you never know it will all be over. Live a life your family would be proud of. Try to do something good every day and expect nothing in return. Be a good American.

I think that’s the best way to “never forget.”

September 11, 2012

September 11th – 11 Years Later

Filed under: New Jersey,New York,Politics,Security,Terrorism — alvb1227 @ 1:58 am
Tags: , , ,

Tomorrow is the 11th anniversary of the day that changed America. Last year, on the 10th anniversary, the New York City memorial opened. It was an amazing structure and a beautiful way to remember so many on such a heart breaking day.

Well, since then, many have equated the memorial to an amusement park. People have been seen leaving their Starbucks cups, letting their children throw stuff in the reflecting pool, and my personal favorite, seating toddlers on top of the plaques holding the names of the fallen. To me that is like someone standing on a headstone in a cemetery. While I am sure this poor behavior is a minority, I think it is important for visitors to remember this isn’t a tourist spot. It is where 3,000 lost their lives and to treat it with the proper respect it deserves.

I think it is also important that during this year’s ceremonies politicians aren’t going to speak. I believe these events shouldn’t be politicized. No matter what a person’s political affiliation, this is an American event. Politics should stay out of it. When Usama Bin Laden was killed and the President, the New York and New Jersey Governors, and the New York City Mayor went to lay a wreath at the memorial, before the event began, and I am sure they didn’t know they were on camera, they were laughing and joking. The moment they realized they were on camera, they became serious. It left me feeling icky.

Many worry – and I am one of them – that as time progresses and people move forward, people may forget. I hope that isn’t the case. The moment we start to forget, the dragon goes back to sleep and we are vulnerable.

I pray we never forget.

 

September 11, 2011

9-11: Ten Years Later

Today is a cool, cloudy morning here in New Jersey, much different from that fateful day 10 years ago. Each year on this day I have tried to provide stories and impressions of that dark day and the light that came of it. As I sit here watching the reading of the names, I am reminded of every moment of that day. As a friend on Facebook said the other day, I can’t remember what I had for lunch two days ago, but I remember every minute of that day.

I am reminded of the acts of heroism by everyday people at I am sure they never expected to do. They are people who went to work, got on a plane, committed their lives to protect us as fire fighters, police officers and members of the military. They never expected to be tested to that extent.

Last night I saw a television program about two men who worked at the World Trade Center who could have easily survived, but they chose to continue to go up the steps of the North Tower, saving the lives of 77 individuals. Architect Frank De Martini and construction inspector Pablo Ortiz are true heroes that came out of that dark day, showing what the American spirit is all about. What those animals could never take.

Yesterday was the dedication of the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. Those 40 people took the information they collected, took a vote, knowing full well they would perish, and thwarted the plans of the fourth hijacked plane that was likely headed to the United States Capitol. Again, people put in a position they never expected became heroes and are a shining example of what the American spirit is all about.

These are only a few examples of the heroic actions taken by many on that day and the days following. There are many more we will all come to know as time progresses.

We can all learn from those who lived through – and those who did not – on that day. We can make sure to stay alert, help our service members, fire fighters, police officers, EMS, and other first responders whenever possible.  Most importantly, we can never forget. Never forget what those animals took from us. And what we have gained.

May God continue to bless the United State of America.

February 2, 2011

Shame on you President Hosni Mubarak

Filed under: International News — alvb1227 @ 10:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

I have watched the protests in Egypt of the last week with both hope and sadness. Today, I feel disgust.

What President Mubarak doesn’t seem to understand is that he needs to go…NOW. Not in the fall. This is the only thing that will help stabilize Egypt. Today, I watched with horror as so-called “pro Mubarak” protesters magically appeared right when the Internet was turned back on and country-owned media just happened to be on the scene to cover it. How shameful and obvious.

I personally love how many of the Egyptian people are starting neighborhood watches, conducting spot checks, working to protect Egypt’s priceless antiquities and checking in on their elderly neighbors. They are doing the best they can do to keep order in their neighborhoods. This speaks much to their hopes for the future.

Yesterday, Neil Cavuto ended his show with his usual “Common Sense” segment and he wrapped up the issue perfectly. I join the many voices urging President Mubarak to resign for the good of his nation…NOW.

November 6, 2010

Reid and “The Dream Act”

So this past week, Harry Reid defied all logic and was re-elected to the Senate; and not just by a slim margin. At first, I was just stunned. However, once I thought about it, I wasn’t that surprised.

Harry Reid pandered obviously to the Hispanic community by pushing his “Dream Act.” That gave him approximately 63% of the Hispanic vote, which no doubt, is what pushed him over the top. Honestly, I don’t understand how legal Hispanics would support this measure after they followed all the rules to come to this country.

What is The Dream Act you may ask? This works to provide illegal immigrants with an easy pathway to citizenship that includes entitlements such as a free college education. Just in case you aren’t sure how I feel about this idea; this makes me completely nauseous.

This essentially rewards illegal behavior, just because they have been here a long time or had an anchor baby. In an economy where parents can’t afford to send their own children to school, Senator Reid wants to use tax dollars to create a huge new entitlement rewarding people who are here illegally by giving them a free ride to college. Shameful.

Let’s forget for a moment that our economy is imploding, millions are out of work, meaning the feds have less taxes coming in and our national debt is spiraling out of control. We definitely cannot afford a huge new entitlement program for a group of people who shouldn’t be here and certainly do not deserve it.

I really hope the current Congress does not fall on their sword for their leadership one last time and vote for this ridiculous program. It is because of the overall dissatisfaction of the general population of the agenda the Congress and Administration have forced down the collective neck of all Americans they were voted out. I hope they also realize that it is due to the obvious pandering of Senator Reid to his Hispanic constituency he actually made it through the decimation of the current Congress.

November 3, 2010

2010 Election Wrap-Up

Well, the 2010 elections are thankfully over. Robo calls will stop invading our homes and those ridiculous commercials will finally go away. However, before everyone starts to look at the 2012 election, I thought I would do a “wrap-up” of the elections that took place yesterday…of course in my own personal opinion.

The Good…
First off, I am thrilled that Nancy Pelosi will no longer be holding the gavel. I’m sorry, when I look in her eyes, you can just hear the Loony Tunes theme. She is seriously a few fries short of a happy meal. I think Ohio Rep. John Boehner will do a good job, as it is presumed he will be the Speaker of the House, but as I am sure all those who were elected last night, he needs to proceed with caution and know that all of America will be watching.

I am personally very pleased that my Representative, Rodney Frelinghuysen defeated his two opponents to claim a ninth consecutive term in the 11th Congressional District. While he is an incumbent, I believe he has done an admirable job representing his constituents. No matter who I have ever asked about his, regardless of party affiliation, they all say the same thing about Rep. Frelinghuysen; he works incredibly hard to represent his district and makes sure he says in touch with everyone who takes the time to write, call or email.

I can’t believe this had to even be a question on the ballot, but only in NJ. New Jersey voters approved a ballot measure to prohibit the state from diverting money from its unemployment-benefits fund, after governors and lawmakers took $4.6 billion from it between 1992 and 2006 to plug budget gaps. So basically, they are now forced to follow the law. Imagine that.

In the governor’s races, I would like to congratulate Rep. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, a Republican, who has become the state’s first female governor as well as Tea Party-backed South Carolina Republican, state Rep. Nikki Haley, who was elected to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, also her state’s first female governor. I am also very pleased that Republican Jon Kasich, a former chairman of the House Budget Committee, defeated Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. I think these are great choices for their respective states that will help begin to move their states forward.

I am also very happy to see that Marco Rubio won in Florida. In my opinion, he truly represents “the American dream.” He started from meager beginnings, the son of immigrants who fled Cuba. He never forgot his roots, which to me, is incredibly important. I would definitely keep an eye on this guy. He is bound to do great things for our country.

The Bad and the Ugly…

First off, I can’t believe Senator Reid from Nevada, Representative Rangel from Harlem and Rep. Barney Frank of the fourth district of Massachusetts  won back their seats. I have to tell you, if those districts and states continue to go down in a giant ball of flames, I have absolutely no sympathy for their constituency. They get what they deserve.

I really don’t see Jerry Brown doing a lot for California to help pull them out of the rut they are in. I hope I am wrong, but I am sadly, not very hopeful. I am equally disappointed that Barbara “Call me Senator” Boxer was re-elected. This woman is incredibly smug and way too liberal for my tastes.

Speaking of California, I have to say I am sorry they voted down Prop 19. Now, for the record, I am not this major pot-head some believe, but let’s face it, one of the real reasons marijuana is illegal is because William Randolph Hearst owned major forests and wanted to make sure they were used for paper manufacturing. For those who use pot, if it is taxed and controlled like a business, it would generate funds for California, which are definitely needed, and the marijuana would be of higher quality because it would be grown in a controlled manner, thus avoiding potential purity issues. I hope they give this another try in the future.

It is About “We the People…”

Ultimately, I hope those who were elected to office last night remember one thing; it is about “we the people,” and not “we the politicians.” I am reminded of a scene in an 80’s Goldie Hawn movie “Protocol.” We will be watching you all…like a hawk.

October 30, 2010

Another Example Why if you See Something, Say Something

Yesterday, the United States once again averted disaster when suspicious packages that were confirmed as explosive devices were discovered on their way to our nation.

These packages were sent via UPS and FedEx from Yemen and headed for Jewish organizations in the Chicago-area. How were they discovered? An alert employee inspecting packages. Additional “test” packages were found across the United States.

This illustrates two items; first, Middle East nuts (that are yes, Muslims) are still trying to kill us. They are trying many different ways to reach us and as President Bush and other law enforcement officials remind us, they only need to be right once; we need to be right every time.

Second, it is important for the public to remain vigilant. If you see something, say something! It is our responsibility to help law enforcement to keep this nation safe. A perfect example is the attempt on Times Square. A street vendor saw something suspicious and helped law enforcement avert disaster.

Don’t forget…we all need to work together to keep us all safe!

May 23, 2010

Princeton’s Immigration Policy

Today, Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, NJ implemented their own version of an immigration policy by providing members of the “Princeton community” the opportunity to purchase an identification card. The best part? This ID card will be provided regardless of immigration status. This card will allow illegal immigrants to get a library card, cash checks and yes, even get health care. While this is not an official form of government identification, the police feel that these cards will help them do their job.

Now, many say that Arizona’s law will promote racial profiling. The ID cards are a project through the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund. So my question is, if people are so worried about racial profiling against Hispanics, why is a Hispanic organization sponsoring this project?

I am far from a legal scholar, but why is it objectionable for Arizona to develop an immigration policy to deal with a massive problem, but Princeton is essentially developing their own immigration policy that welcome’s illegals? I’m sorry, but I find this highly offensive. Why are we welcoming people whose very presence is against the law? Hundreds of thousands of people come to this country legally every year. Why should these people be allowed to have the same, or in some cases more, resources as those who are following all the right steps and legal channels? I say absolutely not.

I would like to know when are going to stop thinking if we are just “nice” to the entire world, then the entire world will finally like us. When did we as a nation become so wimpy that we allow the President of another country come to our Congress and complain about a law and get a standing ovation from part of our representatives?

President Calderone, have you read your country’s immigration policy recently? Maybe you should review your policies before you throw rocks in the glass house. If you were able to keep your country in order, your residents wouldn’t be leaving in droves. In reality, we as a nation should be billing you to take all these Mexican nationals on! Think about that.

May 8, 2010

See Something, Say Something

This past week there was a terrorism scare in New York City at the famed Times Square. Thanks to two observant street vendors (and veterans), a quick moving investigation by the NYPD, FBI and I am sure lots of others we will never hear about arrested a suspect just days later. This taught the entire country the NYC mantra – see something, say something.

It is important to alert authorities if you see something that looks questionable or suspicious. I have actually reported two suspicious items since 9-11; one was just a few a weeks ago. I was getting on the 33rd Street PATH when I saw a bag without an owner. I couldn’t find anyone, so when I arrived in Hoboken, I found an officer and a PATH worker and told them exactly what I saw and where I saw it. They thanked me for reporting it and said they would dispatch someone to investigate. I’m sure it was nothing because I never heard anything on the news, but it was still important to report what I saw.

Another time I was driving home on Rt. 280 when I saw a large drum upright in the median. I hadn’t seen it the day before, so I pulled over and called the local police to explain what I saw. They transferred me to the New Jersey State Troopers so I can report what I saw. I started with the explanation, “I’m not a nut, but there is something on Rt. 280 that wasn’t there yesterday.” They told me not to feel like “a nut” and thanked me for reporting the information.

So, in the end, I hope everyone follows the advice of the NYPD and if you see something, say something!

January 12, 2010

Ramifications of Being an Illegal Alien Around the World

Filed under: General Annoyances,government,Politics — alvb1227 @ 6:26 pm
Tags: , ,

Another friend sent me this via email and, again, I felt the need to share. It is both sad, but true…

Ramifications of Being an Illegal Alien Around the World

If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard labor.

If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.

If you cross the afghan border illegally, you get shot.

If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally you will be jailed.

If you cross the Chinese border illegally you may never be heard from again.

If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally you will be branded a spy and your fate will be sealed.

If you cross the Cuban border illegally you will be thrown into political prison to rot.

If you cross the United States border illegally you get:
A job,
A driver’s license,
A social security card,
Welfare,
Food stamps,
Credit cards,
Subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house,
Free education,
Free health care,
A lobbyist in Washington
Billions of dollars worth of public documents printed in your language
The right to carry your country’s flag while you protest that you don’t get enough respect

I just wanted to make sure I had a firm grasp on the situation…

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