Sunday, April 11, 2010

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Let us all take time to remember the atrocities that have happened, are happening and can happen because of hate and prejudice.

Today we remember all the groups of people killed under the regime of the Nazis... The thousands upon thousands of Jews, Catholics, Polish, Jehovah Witnesses, Political Prisoners, and Homosexuals who were killed because they were labeled as "different".. and different is bad. Don't we still do this today? Label people as "other" and separate from the "norm".

Let's reflect on our own prejudices... and when we stand up and say "Never Again", let's mean it!

I'm watching another version of The Diary of Anne Frank. I always find myself hoping it will end differently... that they will all survive the war. I know how the story ends.. but I still hope it will end differently each time I watch it. It's just one story... one voice of so many that have been silenced prematurely because of hate.

The above picture is part of a prison uniform of a homosexual prisoner.. as denoted by the pink triangle. For those interested in learning about a less publicized group of people who were also targeted by the Nazis, I encourage you to read the short yet moving book: The Men with the Pink Triangle

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter/Dyngus Day

I hope everyone had a great Easter Sunday!!!

I really enjoyed the holiday. It started with a beautiful Mass at St. Anthony's, followed by brunch with my Dad's side of the family. After brunch, Dad and I went on a 5 miles walk to enjoy the Easter sunshine... and to burn off some of the calories which we packed on at brunch!

My sister-in-law had us over her house, along with her parents, for dinner. We had a great time!! The food was amazing, and our two families always have a blast when we get together.

My brother Joe let us play his Wii. Nothing beats Wii bowling in your Easter best!

Today is Dyngus Day... a Polish American, post-Lenten celebration. I had never been to the parade, so I figured with the beautiful (albeit cold) weather, it was time for me to see it personally!

I wandered around the East Side of Buffalo for about an hour prior to the parade.... visiting The Central Terminal and historic Corpus Christi Church. The people watching was just as good as the parade itself.. it was amazing to see so many people, young and old.. sporting their Polish pride!

I ran into my friend and fellow St. Anthony's parishioner, Mary. She was asked to be a judge for the parade floats along with her charming husband Howard. They allowed me to tag along with them... It was cool getting ushered through the crowd with the "official judges". They were all wonderful people... and parades are always nicer when you're watching them WITH someone rather than by yourself... otherwise.. there is no one to "ooo" and "ahhh" with... or give the old "raspberries" to for the floats that showed little effort.

Howard had me laughing to myself. There he is standing there in an amazing brown pinstripe suit and tie.. a stark contrast from the shorts and t-shirt wearing crowd around him... jotting down notes on every float and group that passed us by. I think he'd be a good guest judge for a show like Project Runway or American Idol. He took his job quite seriously!

Sadly, I left my camera at home. I'm hoping to "borrow" some of the photos Mary took when she posts them on her blog. :)

After the parade.. I hiked to the Mother Church of "Polonia", St. Stanislaus. I have never seen the inside of that amazing Church. And you know what.. I didn't see it today either. The doors were locked! ugh!!!

Across in the Church hall was a big gathering of Polocks eating sausage, drinking beer, and listening to Polka. A friend of mine who was in the parade was over there with his colleagues from work. I tried to make my way through the crowd to say hello.. even paying my $2 entrance fee... but alas, I gave up after 5 minutes. Being shoved into a Church hall with wall to wall beer wielding Polocks did not seem like fun to me. I gave up on my attempt at being social, and headed back to the calm of the suburbs.

No, I didn't hit anyone with pussy willows.. or squirt anyone with water. I did however get hit with the pussy willows by a cute little old Polish lady near Corpus Christi Church. I tipped my hat to her and wished her a Happy Easter... I think however, that the hitting with the pussy willow means we're now engaged. I don't know... my Polish heritage was never stressed much growing up.. so your guess is as good as mine.