Recent Posts for the 'Essays (Ellen Sue Says)' Category

Afterthoughts on Las Vegas

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

The killings in Las Vegas hit close to home for me, since my son and daughter-in-law own a condo there. They live in Reno, but my son goes often to Vegas for business, often accompanied by his wife. When I heard about the one-man rampage, I immediately got in touch with my son, who told me he was in Reno. Sigh of relief amidst the sadness.

When tragedy hits close  to home, our reactions are stronger. In addition, we are planning to go to Las Vegas as part of my birthday celebration in December and I keep thinking, “There but for you go I.”

Is life merely a crap shoot? Do we have to live in fear every day, wondering if we are next? My reaction is the same as after 9/11. NO, we keep living, if only to show the world we cannot live in fear. But when the event strikes close to home, the fear is greater. I keep hearing the song in my mind by the BeeGees: Stayin’ Alive!

I remember someone asking me if I believe in the death penalty? I answered, “In theory, no. But, if it was my child or other family member who was injured or murdered, I might think differently.”

I believe that this incident is a kind of “home terrorism,” not one generated by a group that planned this from afar on the Internet, or maybe in the US with the perpetrators aligning themselves to a cause not aligned with democracy and freedom. Still scary!

I have no answers, but this latest incident so close to home has struck a chord in my heart and I pray that new gun laws reflect the need to remove automatic weapons from everyday consumers.

My thoughts are with the wounded and killed. Their families are suffering, as are all of us who are filled with empathy and compassion.


Note: Here is what I originally planned to post and now the quote seems even more pertinent! Thanks to my friend Jackie for sending it, except “break the rules” does not include hurting other sentient beings.


Tomorrow is the 100th Anniversary of JFK’s Birth

Monday, May 29th, 2017

 President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, May 29th, 2017-November 22, 1963


President John F. Kennedy was born 100 years ago today. More people will remember where they were on the day he was assassinated than the day he was born, but I am using this day to acknowledge the man who is the most prominent president I can remember.

The people in my parents’ generation all know where they were when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. Likewise, people of my children’s generation all know where they were on 9/11/2001, when The World Trade Center was destroyed. And while I remember that day as well, I believe the death of President Kennedy is the defining event in my generation and especially for me.

The poignancy of that day never ceases to affect me. I had just given birth to my first child, a son, and was waiting for the nurses to bring our children to our rooms to feed them. I could not understand the delay and then the news came. I think I was in a state of shock the whole time I was in the hospital. JFK’s death became real to me when I was home with my newborn, watching the funeral procession on our tiny TV, my tears falling down on my son in my lap.

JFK held so much promise for our generation. Perhaps he is best remembered for The Peace Corps. On the negative side we have The Bay of Pigs and his dalliance with other women, to the humiliation of his gentle wife, Jackie. But in the special edition of TIME magazine from which I scanned the cover, he is still one of the most popular presidents in history.

Watching the funeral, with Caroline and John-John next to their mother is a scene that I will never forget, especially when John John, three days shy of his third birthday, saluted as his father’s body was carried to the cemetery. The years that followed his death were even more saddened by the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other prominent men in the Civil Rights Movement. The death of John, Jr. with his wife and sister-in-law on July 16, 1999 is another tragic story in itself. (I am grateful that his mother, Jackie, died before John John, because I think his untimely death would have been unbearable for her.)

The Kennedy Family seems to have been blessed and cursed, but for me, the birth of my son so close to the death of JFK will always be my strongest memory of “The Kennedy Era. “