Memorial Remembrance

By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

Memorial Day Remembrance -
Memorial Day Remembrance –


Today is a time of remembrance of those who served our country.  Each Memorial Day, a flag is placed at my father’s monument to honor his service to our country.  Having already served in the Italian army, my father was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II, after he had become a U.S. citizen.  He was proud to serve his new country; he never regretted having been obliged to serve in the Italian Army and then in the U.S. Army.  It was an honor, he told my brother and me.  He genuinely believed it was what one did as a citizen.

Today we will visit my parents’ monument and place hanging baskets of pink and red New Guinea Impatiens on the side of the pale pink marble.  Mama and Daddy both loved vibrant colored flowers.  Unwavering in their loyalty to family, we decorated our deceased members’ monuments on what used to be called Decoration Day, but now is referred to as Memorial Day.  As we offer up prayers to my beloved parents and grandparents at the old Catholic cemetery, I shall also be sending up prayers for the University of California – Santa Barbara students who were brutally and ruthlessly cut down by a delusional madman.  I picture these victims with heartfelt sadness, for I have been teaching college students for many years.  Their youth, vigor, and commitment to envisioning a better future spur me on to constantly strive to be a better educator.

In this morning’s New York Times, I viewed a photo gallery of the Santa Barbara and Isla Vista communities in pain and shock.  What struck me too in these images of raw emotion were the flowers laid at the sites of those fallen students.  Memorials created to honor those lives cut short.  The same thoughts drifted to those Veterans of Service in our Armed Forces.  True, not all died in warfare, but they served and served well, like those student victims served their studies, their families, their friends, and their communities.  Unnatural deaths defy our understanding and tug at our moral core, whether it is at the hand of “the other” in warfare, or at the hand of an amoral lunatic wielding weapons. No matter how or when lives were lost, the fallen all deserve memorials of flowers, flags, and prayers on this and all other Memorial Days.

Ciao for now.

A Mother’s Day

A Happy Mother's Day! -
A Happy Mother’s Day! –

By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

Salve! Salve! Today is Mother’s Day, the meaning of which still perplexes me.  Should we not honor our mother 365 days of the year, instead of on only one day?  The common custom has become to take dear Mummy out for brunch, or lunch, or dinner on Mother’s Day.  This in itself requires a bit of quick-footed planning in the art of making the reservation itself weeks ahead of the Day of Dear Old Mum.  Flowers abound, children in their Sunday best, delays in seating at said restaurant, and we will not discuss the perils of parking the motorized chariot in which Mother rode with family members.

Whilst me thinks it a lovely gesture to set aside one day in May for we of Club Mother, I would like to give pause to contemplate these grandiose overtures on one Sunday each year.  If we honor our Mothers on this day with a lovely meal at home not prepared by our Mamas, and we lavish glorious flowers upon her, for our forbearers told us never to plant anything prior to Mother’s Day, and we surround our dear Mamas with love and affection, then I would like to ask, What are we doing for her the rest of the year?  If she has taught us well, then we should demonstrate acts of kindness to her throughout the year. Random acts of kindness to she who bore us that remind her of our devotion.  As Mother myself, I can attest that there is nothing more I cherish than spontaneous hugs from my daughter, her sweet kisses when she walks through the door, and her thoughtfulness at even making my bed or doing the laundry [tasks I loathe, yet are necessary evils, at least the laundry is].

My idea of a perfect Mother’s Day on the government designated day in May is simply to have nothing planned, beyond setting out and arranging the porch and patio furniture, and later sitting down that night to watch a movie with my daughter after enjoying a meal that she herself has prepared for us.  If Mother’s Day also includes celebrating the day with my out-of-town brother and his family, then that is always joyful too. I miss my Mother every day these past 12 Mother’s Days.  We should keep our Mothers in our hearts, and if flowers are included for her, all the better. I take solace in the fact that I did for my own Mama, flowers were always included.

Ciao for now.