Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A busy autumn week in Georgia

First, I'd like to thank all my blogging friends for writing many words of comfort on my last post about the passing of my husband.  I am also grateful for the individual emails of support that were sent to me.  It was a sad time returning to Georgia where I had planned to take back my husband's winter clothes to Tennessee, but now they were no longer needed.  I found a homeless shelter not far away and was able to bring some of his warm coats there.  After I told the roofer that my husband had passed away he said that I could delay the work until it was more convenient.  But I had decided to go to Georgia that week so I could vote early.  And I did drive there on October 28, 2018, as I mentioned in my last post.

This was an important mid-term vote in Georgia because it showed that the state is not totally conservative anymore.  The youth turnout increased 500 percent and six time more Hispanic/Latino voters cast their ballots as well as twice as many African-Americans as before.  Some people in GA had to wait 6 hours in line to vote.  The turnout in my county, Cobb, was 63.7% more than last time even though 600 voting machines had been taken out of the pool by Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is also running as a Republican for the governor seat.  I was very surprised to see that all the suburban counties around Atlanta switched to blue, anywhere from 55% to 83.4%.  Even if she does not win the race (at this writing it is still undecided) Stacey Abrams, the Democratic Party nominee running for the Georgia Gubernatorial seat, has shown that Georgia is becoming more liberal.  Twenty-nine counties in Georgia voted blue (Democratic) against for example states in the Midwest not considered as conservative as the deep South, such as Indiana with only 3 blue counties, and 3 blue counties as well in Missouri (against 13 blue in Alabama.)  Pictures below showing voting in Cobb County (courtesy AJC.)

The new roof installation was done promptly several days after I arrived in Georgia.  Next month it will be the gutters.  The day before I drove to Georgia, Saturday October 27th, eleven congregants in a Pittsburgh synagogue were massacred by a man shouting anti-Semitic words.  This really upset me that in this country, in 2018, there could be such an attack on innocent worshipers.  I thought that people of every race or religion were endowed with the same inalienable rights here, no?  I read that in 2017 anti-Semitic incidents increased in the US by 60%, the largest increase in a single-year.  These 1,986 incidents included physical assaults, vandalism and attacks on Jewish institutions.  Below is a photo of the stained glass windows in the main sanctuary of the Pittsburgh synagogue Tree of Life or L'Simcha Congregation, courtesy Tree of Life synagogue.

 Many argue that President Trump is not helping with his brand of politics using racial rhetoric, attacks against immigrants and his ways of stirring the pot of nationalism and even proclaiming that he is a nationalist.  So when I read that the American Jewish Committee was encouraging people of all faith to #ShowUpForShabbat the first Friday and Saturday after the Pittsburgh tragedy I decided to attend to reject hate and show my support against anti-Semitism.  Many Jewish organizations in the country were taking part in this appeal (and in other countries too.)  I found a synagogue in West Cobb County, not far from my home, and I showed up for Shabbat that Friday evening.  I had never attended a service in a synagogue and was pleased that the rabbi gave many explanations about the programming of the Shabbat service.  It is a small synagogue but it was full with new attendees that Friday.  All of us, Jews and gentiles were happy to say "Shabbat Shalom."  (photos courtesy Temple Emanu-El, New York.)

The rest of my few days in Georgia went very fast as I gathered as much as I could again to give to charity or toss away.  But I am a long way from being done.  I did find another couple of bags full of vintage postcards.  Sometime it was depressing to look at clothes that my husband had worn on a special occasion.  I would take a few minutes rest and have a nice cup of tea - always comforting.  Luckily I had kept a few china mugs and cups in Georgia and some special tea.  Below is a picture of the Harney & Sons RMS Titanic Tea.  It was created with a blend of Chinese Keemum and Formosa Oolong as a commemorative tea to honor the 100th Anniversary of those who perished in the sinking of the Titanic (a portion of the sale of this tea goes to The Ocean Conservancy.)

On Sunday 11 November 2018 there was another commemoration, the Centennial of the end of World War 1.  This most terrible war ended at "the eleventh hour on the 11th day of the 11th month."  I had written a post on the history of WW1 on December 2, 2011, after having been in Paris when, for the first time, a Chancellor of Germany attended Armistice Day in Paris.  You can read it here
"Historical Armistice Day - 11 November in Paris."  In this post I explained the history and gave statistics: "In four years the number of military and civilian casualties came to more than 40 millions: 20 millions dead and 21 millions injured.  This number includes 9.7 million military deaths and 10 million civilian deaths.  As a point of reference, in four years the American Civil Was suffered 600,000+ killed. (Click on collage to enlarge.)

As another point of reference: since June 2003 there has been 4486 troops killed in the Iraq war - during World War 1 over 7500 troops were killed each week.  The scale of destruction of WW1 was enormous - whole generations were wiped out."  We need to salute those who served during this atrocious war and honor the millions killed and wounded in the conflict.  The Armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany in the Forest of Compiegne in France in a railway carriage at 5:00 am on November 11.  Six hours later, at 11:00 the conflict ended.

On July 14, 1919, there was a Victory Parade down the Champs Elysees in Paris honoring the Allied with General Pershing, Marshal Haig and troops from the United States, Belgium, The United Kingdom, from Italy, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Siam, Czechoslovakia, Japan, China and more - 31 countries had fought in the war.

In Paris on November 11, 2018, over 100 world leaders and dignitaries walked up the Champs Elysees in the rain toward the Arc de Triomphe to stand before the grave of the unknown soldier (President Trump did not walk with them on account of the rain but came separately.)  Notice that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not walk under an umbrella.  He had said during the commemoration of the raid on Dieppe where 907 Canadian soldiers were killed, 586 wounded and 2000 taken prisoner, that in Dieppe that day it wasn't rain, it was bullets.  Yo Yo Ma, the French-born Chinese-American cellist played the souful Saraband from Bach's Cello Suite No. 5, to the world leaders assembled there.  At 11:00 a minute of silence was observed, and then all the bells rang in churches all over France.  In his speech afterwards, President Emmanuel Macron saluted the memory of the soldiers sacrificed in the fighting.  He also said : "Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism" "Let's add up our hopes instead of opposing our fears!" He urged the assembled leaders to "fight for peace" by refusing "withdrawal, violence and domination," pleading once again for a multilateral approach to global governance at a time when more and more countries are inclined to turn their backs on it.  He ended his speech with "Long Live friendship between peoples, long live France."  (Photos courtesy Paris-Match.)

Then the 130 honored guests were invited to a luncheon at the Elysee Palace where Chef Guillaume Gomez (shown below) included the famous Bresse chickens and the potatoes from the Somme in the menu.  At the main table were seated Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Mohammed VI King of Morocco, King Felipe VI of Spain, Peter Cosgrove General Governor of Australia, Albert II of Monaco, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Denis Sassou Nguesso President of Congo, Idriss Deby Itno President of the Republic of Chad, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahou of Israel and many others.

For this special luncheon the Elysee had set their priceless porcelain china named "Oiseaux" (birds) created in 1758 by the manufacture of Sevres.  This porcelain manufactory was founded in 1738 thanks to the support of French King Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour.  It replaced the Meissen porcelain as the grandest of ultimate luxury favored by European royalty, the 19th century aristocracy and great collectors.

As part of the week-end ceremonies President Macron invited the world leaders to a "Paris Peace Forum" to discuss global governance.  Angela Merkel of Germany was present as well as Russia's Vladimir Putin and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan but Donald Trump did not attend.  He also did not participate, because of rainy weather, in the visit to the Aisne-Marne American cemetery in the village of Belleau were the US forces suffered 9,777 casualties including 1,800 killed.  France renamed the wood "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" (Woods of the Marine Brigade) in honor of the Marines' tenacity.  This is an historic battle for the US Marine Corps.  (US Veterans noticed that Donald Trump canceled this planned visit supposedly because it was raining, and were not pleased.  However, a French newspaper noted that someone had heard Mr. Trump saying he had no interest in visiting the cemetery and it would mess up his hairstyle.)  There are roughly 36,000 monuments in France honoring the fallen of WW1.  I showed many of them on my postcards in a 2014 post, look here .  This year the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, unveiled the new WW1 Paris monument to the 94,415 Parisians who died for France and the 8,000 missing in that war.  (Photos courtesy Paris-Match.)

I am back in Nashville now and will not return to Georgia until December because family will gather for Thanksgiving at my daughter's in Tennessee.  I wish a happy and festive Thanksgiving to each of you.


Jeanie said...

I feel for you, my friend, doing those trips to Georgia by yourself and dealing not only with the expected move but bidding farewell to things that were your husband's. I know someone will love his warm coats and others appreciate what you share, but it doesn't always make the sharing that much easier when memories are connected. Thinking of you at this time and glad you have a bit of a break before you have to return again.

Waiting with baited breath on the Georgia (and other) elections. And as always, a beautiful, well researched and illustrated post. When we were in England I saw a good deal of reference to Remembrance Day, although we were about a month early. But in France, six weeks before the holiday, not much. (Though as you can see from the posts, plenty to keep me happy there!). I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving with your family.

Kay G. said...

Oh, I am so sorry about the loss of your husband. I only just read this on this post. Once again, very sorry.
You have so much to comment about on this post but I just have to say, that I love your photo of the tree with the Georgia Peach "I Voted" sticker. The reason I love it is because I recognize that it is a sassafras tree and I only just learned it.
Happy Thanksgiving to you with your family in Tennessee.

DJan said...

Your posts are always interesting and filled with facts that somehow get glossed over in the news cycle. I learned so much more about what happened this year in France over the 100th anniversary. And I think that no matter what happens in the Georgia election, there is a sea change coming, it's obvious. Maybe not today, but it's coming. Blessings to you, dear VB.

Geo. said...

Dear Vagabonde, my condolences, my thanks, my admiration for your strength.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

The US is going through a turbulent time but I must have hope that somehow we will come out of this mess and learn to be united once again. Getting more people, especially the young, engaged in voting is a start. It was wonderful to see so many people at the polls.

How I wish that Macron or Trudeau was leading our country.

I hope you and your family can enjoy a good Thanksgiving. Take care of yourself.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Dear Vagabonde - I am sorry to read of the sad loss of your husband - you obviously so enjoyed life together ... always explored in your wonderfully detailed posts. It's never easy ... and I'm sure those cups of tea just help you calm down and remember things more comfortably.

Have a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving with family and friends before returning to Georgia ... all the very best - Hilary

David said...

Hi Vagabonde,

Coping with the loss of your husband and giving away his clothing has to be a sad and terrible experience. I'm sure he'd approve of his clothing keeping others warm. My wife also likes a nice cup of tea to settle down her stress levels from time to time. She worries about everything!

The recent elections were interesting to say the least. I'm a moderate so I'm not really happy with either party and there seem to be few of us remaining especially in Washington DC. What ever happened to the 2 sides getting together for compromise on tough issues? Very frustrating. With more minorities voting and women deserting the Republican Party in droves (mostly due to Trump's actions), they are doomed unless they moderate their positions and broaden their appeal. Sad state of affairs...

The anti-Semitic and attacks on other religious institutions (not to mention many public gatherings) are despicable. There is no doubt that anti=Semitic activity has increased in our divided country but I did note that 1,000 more public agencies provided numbers to the government this year than last...and I know that other agencies still don't furnish the numbers.

As for France and Macron, they do have their own problems and divisions including a failure to absorb/integrate Muslim immigrants. One advantage that they do have is that they don't have the guns that we have floating throughout society. I definitely am not in favor of global governance but I do believe in global cooperation on key issues. Unfortunately, the term nationalism was corrupted by the Nazi's but it shouldn't be a bad word. A strong and cohesive USA would be in a better position to assist the rest of the world but it will take different leadership, that's for sure. America's ultra conservatives "wing nuts" do a disservice to everyone but that's 'the problem' with free speech.

We need to focus on education and health care here in the USA. We need to invest in programs that raise up the folks living in poverty in Appalachia and the inner cities. Just spending money so they can 'survive' will never fix the problem. I do believe in America First...but only in a positive way and not to exclude assistance to disasters elsewhere in the world.

FYI...I am also pro-environment, something I can't even discuss with most of my conservative neighbors. They won't even accept the possibility that humans are contributing to global warming. They claim that we don't impact what is to them, a 'normal cycle. Yikes!

As I recall, WWI was billed as "The War to End All Wars"! That hasn't worked out too well...

Trump skipping out on event commemorating the end of WWI was quite disheartening. However, a peace conference with Putin and Erdogan is a bit like having tea with a couple of true despots who will brook no dissent and who would and do jail and kill off the oposition. In my opinion, the only thing that either of them understand is if another country is stronger than they are.

Love your posts! Always well written and thoughtful... You crank up my political worries and thought process. Wishing you and yours a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Glenda Beall said...

Dear VB, My heart goes out to you at this time of mourning. Having lost my husband, I understand that feeling of letting his things go. I held on to many of Barry's things out of sentimentality. You are a super strong woman, I think, and will move on with your life, but you will always have the memories of the good times with your husband. I love your posts and have missed them. I hope you can find time to continue to educate people like me with your photos and language. Have a peaceful holiday season.

Down by the sea said...

As always such an informative post both about the election in Georgia,the 1st World War in France. Hope you have a good Thanksgiving with your family, thinking of you. Sarah x

Magic Love Crow said...

My friend, you've been in my thoughts, since you posted last. Please take care of yourself, at this hard time in your life! I'm truly so sorry for your loss!
A very interesting and informative post! I always love your blog posts!
I know your husband would want you to have a good Thanksgiving! I also know, there will be tears and laughter. Big Hugs to your entire family!! Much Love!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

We always stop for the Remembrance Day ceremonies locally and from Ottawa. And I carry a feeling of guilt as both my Austin Czech grandpa and my father were the enemy. I cannot bear to think horrible leaders forced my family into such ugliness and now I cannot stand that Trump fooling many into a negative way of thinking. .
Your post is so detailed and a pleasure to read. Thank you for that and enjoy your Thanksgiving with daughter and grandkids.

Joared said...

I planned to attend that service at our nearby synagogue I had been to a few years ago on a special occasion, but unfortunately this time I was ill. My father and his older brother both served during WWI.. From his family members accounts they came home quite changed, but can’t imagine anyone in war that wouldn’t be in some way.

I can appreciate your experience with your husband’s clothes. My daughter was with me for a short time, so when she offered to help me go through them I welcomed her doing so. My high school age granddaughter was present and wanted to be included, so thought that was a meaningful experience for her, too.

I’m so glad you voted. The length of time some had to stand in line to vote is absolutely criminal.. Hope the legal system examines that election process as last I read the results are being questioned.

I, too, hope our friendship with France continues forever and will with our citizens, despite what this current President says or does.

Thinking of you and do hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving with loved ones.

Vicki Lane said...

I hope that your Thanksgiving was all it should be. And how wonderful that you attended a Shabbat service!

Such a job, going through and editing all those memories -- I know that it's physically and emotionally draining. Take care of yourself, dear Vagabonde!

claude said...

Hello Vagabonde !
J'espère que tu vas pour le mieux.
Belle publication ! Vraiment !
Depuis le 11 novembre il s'en passe des choses en France. Peut-être un nouveau Mai 68.
Je ne ferai pas de politique ici. Je blâme les attaques contre les Juifs d'autant que mon Mari en a des origines. Son grand-Père maternel était juif d'origine roumaine. Je ne comprends pas cette haine.
Prend soin de toi. Je t'embrasse.

Nadezda said...

Dear Vagabonde,
I think you had a nice Thanksgiving day with your family. Soon it's time of Christmas and you will probably spend it with your daughter's family too, right? I sympathize you because every thing that was used by Jim reminds you that he passed away.
I hope after the New year the renovation of the house in Georgia will end and you will completely move to Tennessee.
As always, you tell interesting about the history of the World War I and about the leaders of the countries who came to France to honor the memory of the victims of this war.
Take care, dear
Saint Petersburg

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