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November 9, 2012

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 9, 2012 L'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore The Many Faces of November 11 'h by Ally Di Censo Sitting on my couch the day after Halloween, I idly flipped through the channels of morning television, when the sound of a jangling jingle bell caught my attention. It came from a Sears commer- cial advertising some pre- holiday sale and I couldn't help but shiver in excite- ment as my mind drifted to the pleasures of the winter festive season: snowflakes, baking cookies, Christmas carols, potato latkes for Hanukkah, decorating the tree. Rapidly, however, I brought myself back to earth. I looked outside at the golden leaves swirling around my backyard, at the bare tree branches outlined against a cloudy sky, at the pumpkins and cornstalks lining the doorsteps down my street. I still had the whole month of November to enjoy[ I realize that it is tempting to dive right into the holiday hullabaloo early on, but the rhythms of feast days and festivities are meant to be -experienced slowly, granting each season and month the attention it deserves. No- vember, rather than a mere segue for the busy month of December, brims with holi- days and traditions of its own. Two of them are packed into one special day, Novem- ber 11 th. Most commonly, November 11 th is known as Veterans Day, a time set apart to honor the men and women who fought -- and died -- on behalf of the United States. This date was chosen as a commemoration of the armi- stice which ended the First World War, signed on the eleventh hour of the elev- enth day of the eleventh month  1918. While always grateful, I nver appreciated the true sacrifice veterans made for our country until I wrote my undergraduate thesis on World War I. As I examined the way American popular culture absorbed images of death after this war, I was exposed to the voices of veterans who had experienced some of the worst horrors humanity can imagine. Their bravery, hon- esty, and honorable sense of duty both impressed and humbled me, and ever since then, I have paid special at- tention to the stories and the memories of veterans from all wars. In ancient times, tribes across Europe classified November as a month to revere the dead, and considering that Novem- ber is the month where veg- etation withers and dry leaves dot the ground, it is easy to see why it was set apart for such ceremonies. Veterans' Day venerates the deceased who died during wartime, along with the sur- vivors of war both on the battlefield and the home front. On the cusp of the holi- day season, we should re- member these selfless-men and women as we enjoy the privileges of food, family, friends, and freedom -- and we should keep on thanking them for their sacrifices all year long. November 1 1 th also houses an older holiday called (Continued on Page 14) 2012 Hire Veterans Month Career Events Across the State Employment activities are taking place throughout the Commonwealth's One-Stop Career Centers with many partners participat- ing to support our Veterans. November 14, 2012 North Shore Career Center of Lynn Hire Heroes Reverse Job Fair 11:00 am-h00 pm 181 Union Street, Lynn, MA Contact: Laurie Glynn, Greg Bunn, Registration Required November 27, 2012 Career Source Career Centers Veterans Job Fair 11:00 am-2:00 pm 11:00 am- 11:30 am Veterans Only Holiday Inn 30 Washington Street, Somerville, MA Contact: Sibylle DeCarlo, SDeCarlo@detma. org November 29, 2012 Quincy Career Center Veterans Job Fair i0:00 am -1:00 pm 10:00 am-l 1:00 am Veterans Only 152 Parkingham Way, Quincy, MA Contact: Fred Myerson, Mike Carco, Laura Hoitt, For a complete listing visit/follow EOLWD: MassLWD http: //jobs. blog. state, ma. us / http: / / www. / lwd/ by Sal Giarratani --- McGOVERN'S PASSING AND A MURAL IN QUINCY I was attending the Quincy Democratic City Committee breakfast recently at the Elks on Quarry Street when I heard that former U.S. Senator George McGovern (D-South Dakota), had just passed away. My attendance at this breakfast probably confuses many people who just assume I am a Republi- can. Not sol I never really agreed with McGovern's poli- tics nor the effect he had on the Democrats over the past 40 years. He passed away 40 years after being mostly remembered as a man of principle who only carried one state, ours, and D.C. in his ill-fated 1972 bid for president. Prior to 1972, Democrats had always run as a centrist party. However, McGovern's nomination pushed the Demo- crats way over to the left forc- ing me many times to vote Republican. A good friend of mine, the late Brian Leahy, grew up a Dorchester Demo- crat and a big shot in the Kevin White political ma- chine. I grew up in Roxbury as a Democrat. Twice during the 50s my father voted for Adlai Stevenson over his Republican opponent be- cause he never really liked Ike the politician. My father was a Democrat. A few years back, I still remember talk- ing politics with Leahy and we both agreed that we didn't leave the Democrats as much as the Democrats left us. Personally, I have stayed a registered Demo- crat in hopes that, someday, it can be nudged back to a more centrist outlook. Recently, a lawyer friend of mine, Chester Darling said of McGovern, "Most people in politics are dysfunctional invertebrates as far as I'm concerned but that wasn't George McGovern." My favor- ite last Democrat that I re- ally thought would have made a great president was Hubert H. Humphrey. He served his country well, start- ing out as a young mayor in Minneapolis, a long distin- guished career in the U.S. Senate and as Vice Presi- dent during the late '60s which was a historic period in the history of this nation. The year 1968 was not a great year for America. Two great leaders were assassi- nated, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy two months apart. Personally, I thought George McGovern was a great American and a real life war hero during World War II. Back in 2001, he said something that made me think, "I am a liberal and always have been. Just not the wild-eyed character the Republicans made me out to be." Maybe he was, but I am still not so sure. Back in 1972 I considered myself a much more conservative Democrat than I had been only four years earlier. Per- haps it was the violence of the '60s that changed my out- look. I have to admit that as I aged my views on war changed. I was a hawk back in the 60s, opposed to the McGovern-wing of the Demo- crat Party. However, in re- cent years as I grew older, my position on both Iraq and Afghanistan seem to mirror more the views of McGovern on Vietnam. I do believe that McGovern never stopped car- ing about his country. If I had a chance to repeat my 1972 vote again, I prob- ably would still not vote for the guy from South Dakota but I probably would have understood his position bet- ter. I still regret I ever voted for President Richard Nixon, especially after Watergate. So, deep down inside, my heart still beats as a Demo- crat I guess. ... AS FAR AS THAT QUINCY MURAL GOES There's a mural in Quincy Center on the side of a popu- lar eating and drinking place that has caused much up- roar among some folks, es- pecially Republicans who think it is very pro-Obama. This story started out as a local story but has since gone viral between oppo- nents and supporters of this art work. As a political con- servative, I think it is just a mural painted by someone who likes Obama. Not a big deal to me. Is it worth get- ting all upset about? Not to me. As a writer and photogra- pher, I believe in art as an expression. I think all art isn't good but all art is art and calls to whitewash this mural are silly. The more opponents bad mouth the mural, the more popularity the mural gets by folks near and far. As a conservative and more so as a writer, I believe artists have a right to express themselves in a story. A mural like an opin- ion piece or a photo has no power without observers get- ting involved. If the owner of the building doesn't mind the mural and wants it to stay, there are far worse things to get nerved up over. I do not believe in censor- ship. This particular mural is not glorifying evil as that mural down on the Boston Greenway seemed to do sev- eral months ago. It is just a mural? America is strong enough to survive it. Be happy you're an American where we can have these debates. I don't think either John Adams or John Quincy Adams is rolling over in their crypts over this artsy furor. WWW.BOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.COM