Posts Tagged ‘memorial day’

Photo: U.S. Army.
An Afghan interpreter assists U.S. military personnel trying to locate Taliban weapons.

On Memorial Day, as we honor the men and women of our military, I am thinking in particular of those whose lives have been lost fighting in Afghanistan. Today, many who are leaving that troubled country have a justifiable concern about what will happen to their interpreters and friends when the Taliban reassert control.

I am not one to say we should stay there, but I have learned from Shagufa just how bad things are likely to get, and I wanted to know what our soldiers thought.

Ken Olson writes at Legion.org, “Gerald Keen’s Afghan interpreter is running out of time. One relative was assassinated by the Taliban a month ago. Another was killed by an IED last Sunday. Both also worked as translators for U.S and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

“ ‘It’s like he has a bounty on his head,’ Keen says of the Afghan national he worked closely with during his 2016 deployment. ‘The Taliban has no remorse.’ …

“There are more than 17,000 interpreters and their families mired in the same bureaucratic quagmire of the U.S. Special Immigration Visa application process. Their peril is exponentially greater now that the United States has announced it will withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan. …  

“It’s a haunting reminder of the situation faced by the Montagnards who risked their lives and their families’ lives to support U.S. operations in the Vietnam War. The American Legion has asked the president and Congress through a 2018 National Security Commission resolution to recognize the crucial contribution Afghan and Iraqi interpreters have made and ensure they are able to come to the United States. ‘Our wartime allies saved countless American lives and directly contributed to every level of tactical, operational and strategic success during the mission is Iraq and Afghanistan,’ according to Resolution No. 16, passed by Legion’s National Executive Committee in October 2018.

“The International Refugee Assistance Project also called for the mass evacuation of Afghans at risk to Guam or another location while they slog through the lengthy visa process, much like what was done for Iraqi Kurds as part of Operation Pacific Haven in 1996. …

“The Special Immigrant Visa program most Afghan nationals are using was established in 2009 when Congress created the Afghan Allies Protection Act, says Julie Kornfeld, an attorney with the International Refugee Assistance Project who represents several Afghan interpreters. The statute calls for visa applications to be processed in nine months. The reality is far worse. Kornfeld has clients who have been waiting as long as 10 years.

“ ‘The U.S. mission in Afghanistan recruited Afghan nationals with a promise of safety, but we’ve made it bureaucratically impossible for them to access safety,’ she says. ‘It sends a message to them that we aren’t fulfilling our promise to protect them.’ …

“ ‘It’s very frustrating,’ Keen adds. ‘We couldn’t have made it through this without these interpreters.’ ”   

So today, as we honor military personnel who have died serving in wars at the behest of a series of presidents, let’s spare a thought for those who are in danger because they helped us, and let’s support any elected representatives who may be trying to rescue those people.

More here.

Read Full Post »


No one gets to avoid death, but whether death occurs in war or in peace, some happen too soon and too cruelly for the survivors. Let’s do what we can to prevent untimely loss.

This poem is by Wilfred Owen, who died young in World War I.

Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds—
Woke once the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

Read Full Post »

Move him into the sun —
Gently its touch awoke him once
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know …

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)


Read Full Post »

An Imperial Elegy
by Wilfred Owen

Not one corner of a foreign field
But a span as wide as Europe;
An appearance of a titan’s grave,
And the length thereof a thousand miles,
It crossed all Europe like a mystic road,
Or as the Spirits’ Pathway lieth on the night.
And I heard a voice crying
This is the Path of Glory.

@-> @-> @->
Born in Shropshire, England, poet Wilfred Owen is best known for telling the truth of what he saw in World War I, a war joined too lightheartedly by many of his countrymen 100 years ago. He  died at the Sambre-Oise Canal a week before the Armistice was signed.

Read more about Owen here.

Photo: Suzanne’s Mom
Azalea moving to the next phase


Read Full Post »

On the Tuesday after Memorial Day I ran into a woman I know who works in another department. She grew up in New York City, where her father worked at the United Nations. Her family is from Pakistan. After inquiring about her weekend, I learned that she had cooked for 80 by herself, serving everyone in her backyard! The meal sounded amazing, so I asked her to e-mail the menu to me.

hi, here was my menu, enjoy!

mixed vegetable pilaf, BBQ chicken with various spices, beef kabobs, fenugreek and potatoes, samosas filled with ground chicken, corn, cow’s feet, naan, yogurt, Pakistani bread pudding

Cow’s feet/trotters are considered a delicacy in Pakistan.  Mine took 7 hours to make of which 6 hours were cooked on the regular stove and one hour was in the pressure cooker.  Ideally, you should be able to cook them for about 75 minutes in the pressure cooker.  However, since I was making such a large quantity I decided to cook them on the stove.  After six hours, I gave up and cooked a few batches separately in the pressure cooker 🙂

So I got to thinking, I wonder how many different kinds of banquets prepared by people from different countries of origin are being cooked for backyard parties on Memorial Day. Or July 4. What a recipe book that would make!

Do you publish cookbooks? You may take the idea and run with it. This book will surely be too heavy to carry, given all the different groups that make up America. You may have to make it an online e-book.


Reader Asakiyune writes, “The woman who cooked for 80 TOTALLY INTIMIDATES ME. Cooking for 10 is about all I want to ever try managing! … maybe 15 or 20. 80? 80?? Yowza. And I liked your earlier entry, on the group doing mild ecumenicism for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. I hope you can interest your religious ed director in hosting a lecture by the organizing woman.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: