Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Days of Remembrance

Greetings All:

Yesterday, I had the profound privilege to hear Mrs. Anges M. Schwartz speak at the Rock Island Arsenal Days of Remembrance Observation.  She is a Holocaust Survivor.  Although she was not deported to a death or concentration camp, her mother was.  Her father escaped his own deportation thanks to the actions of Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat (and a personal hero of mine). 

She told a riveting tale of how her idyll childhood world in Budapest, Hungary, was ripped from her when she was only 11.  In 1944, the Nazis, led by Albert Eichmann (later hanged in Israel in May, 1962) began their reign of terror and systematic deportation to the death house that was Auschwitz.  She recalled with chilling detail of the sounds of Nazis marching, coming to collect her fellow Jews,...including her mother.  She survived because her maid, a Catholic, took her in and hid her as her niece.  Because Mr. Schwartz had attended a Catholic school (Hungary is an over-whelming Catholic country and private education was common) she knew enough about the New Testament to avoid inquiry from neighbors, some of whom were enthusiastic supporters of Hitler.  She survived the bombings, the Nazi (and their Arrow Cross henchmen) spontaneous killings, and even found her father after the war.  When finally reunited with her father, she heard those magical words, "We're going to America!" 

However, this was not to be a "and they lived happily-ever after."  After settling in Chicago, her father inexplictedly returned to Hungary.  Then, he did the unthinkable:  he re-married and his relationship with his daughter, the one he almost lost, was thrown away. 

Mrs. Schwartz tells this part of the story without overt bitterness.  She stoicly stated how her father was "never the same."  Undoubtedly, he had post-traumatic stress.  How could he not?  Or her, for that matter.

As she told her story of her first husband leaving her and being a single parent, I saw in this eldery woman a strength few have.  She did not say this, of course, but her presence conveyed this message:  "I survived the war, I can survive as a single mother."  She later did meet another man, Mr. Schwartz, and until his death, they had a good life.  If anyone deserved such a life, it is her.

Now retired, her work is with the Illinois Holocaust Museum, her "second home."  She speaks on a subject she ignored (and who could blame her) for years.  Now, her voice is being heard.  It is a difficult story.  I had to work to maintain my composure several times yesterday.  Her decision to speak, to find her voice (that is becoming a trite phase but appropriate here) is all the more important as the number of survivors is estimated at anywhere between 200,000 and 300,000, with that number falling everyday.  As the deniers and the Hilter apologists are eagerly awaiting the day there are no more living survivors, the tale of Anges Schwartz needs to reach as many people (especially young people) as possible. 

In telling her tale, he elected to cross back over a bridge in her memory that had to cause unimaginable pain.  Yet in doing so, by choosing the courage to speak, we have another testament to a dark time in history.  We need to remember.  By remembering, by honoring, by pledging "NEVER AGAIN!" we build our own bridge to a better world.  A world free of (we hope) from terrified 11-year old girls, hearing the pounding of boots on the pavement.

Best rgs,


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Crossing Bridges

Greetings All:

As I mentioned in my first post, the title for this blog, Cedo Pontis, is a rough translation of the Latin "to go to," and the word, "bridge."  So, I thought I would talk about crossing bridges.  With apologies issued in advance for using a way-old metaphor, I did title this post Crossing Bridges.  However, I will make an attempt to add some original thought to this idea.

I cross a bridge at least twice a day during the week, actually, four bridges, counting the overpass, to get to my work.  (More about that later.)  I am not alone, millions, probably billions of people do the same thing.  Then there are the other "things" in our life we bridge.  They are the connections between our family, our friends (Facebook is the expansion bridge to the online world) and to the parts of our self, past and present.  Many of these we do self-consciously and quite frankly, we should.  It's called life.  If we think and ponder about everything we do and the "deeper" meaning of it, we'd never get anything done.  I can speak only for myself, but it's a constant battle to simply keep laundry washed and (dare I say it) folded and put away.

Yet I do think that it is time well spent to, on occasion, ponder where we are, how we got there, and where we would like to go.  As we think about what is next, planning is always a good idea.  In doing so, we can see what bridges we need to cross, and who knows, what bridges we may build.


Today is Pat's Run in Tempe, AZ.

The link above gives some background on this race and the cause it supports.  Pat Tillman was a pro football player who walked away from millions of dollars to enlist in the Army.  He was killed in Afghanistan under circumstances that may never be 100% clear.  What is clear is that Pat was someone who LOVED life as his friends and family attest to without exception. (I never met him, for which I regret but I have had the privilege to meet many people close to him and am honored to have them as valued friends.)  What is great about PTF is the work it does to help others make a difference.  Today, 28k will take to the streets of Tempe to run, walk and honor Pat.  They will also be raising money and joining together to both celebrate Pat's life and take positive action for others.  For some, the 4.2 mile run will be the longest (and last :)) of their life.  That's fine.  In doing so, they are crossing a number of bridges, those made by others and those created in their mind.

Have a great day, be well my friends!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome to Cedo Pontis

Greetings All:

Welcome to the first post of my blog, Cedo Pontis. I struggled with what to call this blog and deferred to that "end of all arguments," Google. I did a Latin search for bridge and came up with pontis. I then needed another word and while putzing around came across another word, Cedo. Cedo means (roughly) to go or proceed. Therefore, Cedo Pontis means (at least to me) to go to a bridge and cross it.

Of course, this is awfully ripe with metaphors. What's a "bridge?" What is being crossed? Why cross it? Hopefully, I will be able to come up with a few things that will cause interest and ideally, spark some discussion.

I also hope to have some fun with this blog. Life is too short to be too serious. I will endeavor to display a bit of wit while never intentionally causing ill feelings. Of course, I fully intend to poke fun at myself and for those of you who know me, feel free to join in.

For those of you who elect to read this blog, thank you. With that, it begins. I'm walking across my bridge into the blogosphere.

Best rgs,

By the way, my source for the Latin came from this site: