Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ten Years Ago: Looking Back

I am not one for real patriotism, no matter how hard I try. Yes, I am grateful to live in America. I am glad for my liberties and civil rights and I am happy with where I live in the world. But pride in my country is something I never quite got. My country, just like every other country in the world is an amalgamation of good people and bad. People who murder and steal as well as those who teach Sunday school and cook dinner for their neighbors.

And a country is a huge land mass. It is 3000 miles from one coast to the other. That is a lot of space and a lot of people cover that space. There are parts of my country I love, and parts I could do without, just like every other country in the world. Thankfully, the parts I am grateful for far outweigh those I dislike.

So this is not a post about patriotism and what it means to stand for your country. Frankly, I am not the person to talk about those things. Instead, this is a post of thank yous and the parts of this country I am grateful for.

Thank you to the men and women who put their lives on the line every day (or have done so in the past) to secure the freedoms we enjoy without even thinking about it. Whether or not I agree with a war does not mean that you are not courageous and heroic. Thank you for all you do.

Thank you to the men and women who are firefighters, who are on the police force, who are willing to put themselves in peril to save another human life. Thank you for being caring and selfless and often showing us the best of humanity while you deal with the worst.

Thank you particularly to those on the United 93 flight that crashed in the field in Pennsylvania rather than its intended target. I may not like our government all the time or agree with every decision, but if you plane had hit its target, our country would most like have been much worse off. Thank you for your bravery and sacrifice and know that we will always remember the valor you have shown and be grateful for it.

To the family and loved ones of everyone in the Towers and on the planes that were part of that horrible day, my heart still breaks for all you lost because of the selfishness and evil in the souls of a few. I know it is not something you will ever fully heal from but I pray you find peace.

To those who fear one race or religion because one day, I ask that you remember this was the act of a few, not a majority. These are the views of one extremist group and they are wrong. But that does not mean that every person who shares a characteristic with them should be punished for it. They are just people.

To the people who oppose the war, yours is a valid point (and those who do not oppose it also have valid points). This does not mean you have the right to tear down the soldiers who put their lives on the line. They did not choose this war. They chose to serve their country in what they believed to be the best way, just as some serve by running for office and others work in various positions to keep the country running. The first step towards peace is accepting that your side is not the only one to consider.

To the adults who were mere children that day, do not forget. Remember as much as you can, because one day your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, are going to ask you what that day was all about. Don't let it be another fact in the history book that gathers dust while the newest generation forgets why it matters. Remember, in honor of all those whose lives were irrevocably changed.

And to everyone, from sea to shining sea, whether you consider yourself a patriot or not, remember that hate and fear are not the most powerful forces in our world, though often they seem the most pervasive. Hope, though rare, is far more powerful. For while fear and hate can wreak destruction and chaos, hope forges though and rebuilds. Destruction takes no real effort, no true power.

But to believe you can try again? To look for a brighter tomorrow? That takes a strength of spirit and soul that those who sow terror can neither understand nor harness. Hope is what brings dreams to life. Hope is what crushes the darkness threatening to close in. For if you lose hope, you lose what makes all things possible. Hope molds lives to better and brighter things.

So remember the sacrifices of those who fight for hope. And carry on the legacy they leave. Let hope shine and never forget.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Reading Harry Potter With My Mom: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Second book is now complete. And Hagrid's accent is still wonky as every. Mom now bursts into laughter every time Hagrid speaks and she's like "Well I know exactly who that is." Yes, Hagrid doesn't need his giant footsteps lumbering along for Mom to know he's coming. She just need the screwed up tones of an accent that has an identity crisis.

When we got to the Polyjuice Potion chapter, Harry and Ron's voices deepen into Crabbe and Goyle's. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but for some reason, in my head, Crabbe and Goyle have looked and sounded fifteen since they started at Hogwarts. Which means they have very deep voices. So when Harry and Ron become them, they have these deep man voices and when I would say something as them, both Mom and I would burst into giggles because it was quite hilarious to say things as Goyle and then have Harry be the one saying it.

"You realize we're only twelve right?"

Hagrid is still having a wonky time with his accent. For a little while, he managed to be Australian. And then I tried to just keep him Cockney, because that is an accent I can manage, but he doesn't sound right because my Cockney accent is high pitched than the Scottish brogue. I feel like Hagrid's voice is Flynn Rider's nose.

"She just can't do my accent"

Speaking of odd voices, let's talk about Dobby for a moment. Now, I have a naturally high pitched voice but after speaking like Dobby, my voice sounds alto rather than soprano. It's bizarre for my voice to sound almost low. And of course Dobby's squeak made us laugh. A lot.

I had to stop a couple of times when reading this book because I kept welling up, thinking about Dobby and Colin. And I know that it's just going to get worse as the series goes on. Because I know what happens to everyone.

In watching the movie, Mom was surprised at some of the things they changed. I however, was shocked to find that Harry apparently now has classes with every house. Harry, Ron, and Hermione had Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts with not only Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, but also with Justin Finch-Fletchey from Hufflepuff and Susan Bones from Ravenclaw.

Why the hell are we all in the same class?

So that's book two. We're actually in the middle of PoA right now because I've been slow in posting this. We should hit Goblet of Fire in October. Marvelous.