Friday, April 30, 2010

On this day, 10 years ago Venerable Pope John Paul 2 canonized Maria Faustina Kowalska as Saint Faustina

Venerable Pope John Paul II, on this day in 2000, you canonized Maria Faustina Kowalska as a saint, you said Indeed the message, St. Faustina, brought is the appropriate and incisive answer that God wanted to offer to the questions and expectations of human beings in our time, marked by terrible tragedies. thank you for that wonderful gift 10 years ago today to canonized a great woman into the Roman Catholic church row of saints!
What Does the Pope Say:Pope John Paul II knew the visions and messages of Christ received by St. Faustina were private revelations. The Church's doctrine of Divine Mercy are based on Holy Scripture, the faith handed down by the apostles. St. Faustina's revelations add nothing new. The "Divine Mercy Sunday" was not established to commemorate St. Faustina's mystical experiences. No one is required on Mercy Sunday, to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or venerate the image of the Divine Mercy. However, Pope John Paul II, has strongly encouraged the whole, universal Church, on several occasions, to pay heed to the messages and revelations given to St. Faustina as a special call to our time to turn back to the God of merciful love, the Pope has also recommended both the image and the chaplet as helpful means to that end. "There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy--that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights of the holiness of God. "In this place we become particularly aware of this. From here, in fact, went out the message of Divine Mercy that Christ Himself chose to pass on to our generation through Blessed Faustina. "And it is a message that is clear and understandable for everyone. Anyone can come here, look at this image of the merciful Jesus, His Heart radiating grace, and hear in the depths of his own soul what Blessed Faustina heard: 'Fear nothing. I am with you always' (Diary, 586). "And if this person responds with a sincere heart, 'Jesus, I trust in you,' he will find comfort in all his anxieties and fears." From the Holy Father, Mercy Sunday, 2001 Homely: "It is a great joy for me to be able to join all of you, dear pilgrims and faithful who have come here from various nations to commemorate, after one year, the canonization of Sr Faustina Kowalska, witness and messenger of the Lord's merciful love. The elevation to the honors of the altar of this humble religious is not only a gift for Poland, but for all humanity. Indeed the message she brought is the appropriate and incisive answer that God wanted to offer to the questions and expectations of human beings in our time, marked by terrible tragedies. Jesus said to Sr. Faustina one day: 'Humanity will not have peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy' (Diary, 300). Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity at the dawn of the third millennium.... "Today the Lord also shows us His glorious wounds and His heart, an inexhaustible source of light and truth, of love and forgiveness.... St. Faustina saw coming from this Heart that was overflowing with generous love, two rays of light which illuminated the world. 'The two rays,' according to what Jesus Himself told her, 'represent the blood and the water' (Diary, 299). The blood recalls the sacrifice of Golgotha and the mystery of the Eucharist; the water, according to the rich symbolism of the Evangelist St. John, makes us think of Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 3:5; 4:14). "Through the mystery of this wounded heart, the restorative tide of God's merciful love continues to spread over the men and women of our time. Here alone can those who long true and lasting happiness its secret."

Here is Venerable Pope John Paul 2 praying at the tomb of Saint Faustina in Poland!

Saint Faustina and the Divine Mercy Image on which she painted herself

Venerable Pope John Paul 2 on Divine Mercy Sunday April 30, 2000

I really like this image of Saint Faustina cause it shows the simplest people can be truly a holy and respectful in the Catholic Faith!

Maria Faustina Kowalska or as Saint Faustina

Saint Faustina, born Helena Kowalska (August 25, 1905, Głogowiec, Poland then in the Russian Empire – Died October 5, 1938, Kraków, Poland) was a Polish nun, visionary, and mystic, now venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as a saint.

The process culminating in the canonization of Sister Faustina Kowalska, commenced twenty seven years after her death in Krakow Poland, in 1938.
As part of the process leading to her canonization, two cases of miraculous healings were presented for consideration. The first one was the healing of Maureen Digan of Massachusetts. The second miracle was the healing of a congenital heart condition of Fr. Pytel after prayers done by members of his parish during the anniversary of Sr. Faustina's death on October 5 1995.
On April 18, 1993 the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday (the first Sunday after Easter), Pope John Paul II elevated Sister Faustina to the status of Blessed during the Beatification of this Venerable Servant of God, a day when St. Peter's Square was packed with enthusiastic Divine Mercy devotees.
On March 10, 2000 at 11:30 a.m., during the celebration of sext, in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, an ordinary public consistory for several causes of canonization was held, in the presence of the Holy Father.
In 1997 Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Sister Faustina's tomb in Poland, he called her the "the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our day." The Pope said at her tomb, "The message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me..., in a sense it forms the image of my Pontificate."
Saint Faustina:
Sister Faustina was canonized on April 30, 2000 the first Sunday after Easter, on Divine Mercy Sunday.
She was honoured by becoming the first saint of this millenium, giving thus great emphasis to the Divine Mercy Devotion.
As one of the great events of the Jubilee 2000, the Holy Father John Paul II, conducted the ceremony of the canonization of St Faustina, before a crowd of around 200000 Divine Mercy Pilgrims.

Faustina's Canonization
A festive St. Peter's Square was bedecked with spring flowers and budding saplings as the Church celebrated the first canonization of the Jubilee year and Pope John Paul II's formal announcement that the Sunday after Easter would henceforth be known as "Divine Mercy Sunday."
"It is important," the Holy Father said in his homily, "that we accept in its entirety the message that comes to us from God's Word on this second Sunday of Easter. From now on, throughout the whole Church, this day will take the name of 'Divine Mercy Sunday.'"
The Holy Father's declaration of the global celebration of Mercy Sunday another reason for joy, said Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, vice-postulator for Faustina's cause for canonization. "This fulfills the Lord's request perfectly," he explained. "Mercy Sunday is the last day of the Octave of Easter, so it was already a part of the Feast of Easter. So, from now on, that day will take the name 'Divine Mercy Sunday' just as the Lord asked in His revelations to St. Faustina.
More than 200,000 people packed St. Peter's Square April 30 as His Holiness canonized the Great Apostle of Mercy, Saint Faustina Kowalska. Sister Faustina, who belonged to the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland, died of tuberculosis in 1938 on the verge of World War II at age 33. She left behind a diary in which she recorded her mystical experiences -- in particular Jesus Christ's desire that the world accept His abundant mercy.
The Vatican announced the canonization date March 10. St. Faustina's elevation to the honors of the altar follows the miraculous healing of an American priest. The Vatican announced Dec. 20 that the 1995 healing of Father Ron Pytel of Baltimore, Maryland, was a miracle. This set the stage for the Faustina's canonization.
Her canonization on Mercy Sunday (the second Sunday of the Easter season) took place on the same Sunday on which she was beatified in 1993. She is the first saint of the new millennium.
The healing of Fr. Pytel follows the 1981 miraculous healing of Lee, Massachusetts, resident Maureen Digan. The recognition of her healing as a miracle in December of 1992 led to St. Faustina's beatification.

Miraculous HealingIn 1995, a massive calcium build-up in Fr. Pytel's aortic valve due to a congenital heart condition left him with a permanently damaged left ventricle — a condition that is rarely known to heal and if it does, occurs only after a very long time. His doctor, Dr. Nicholas Fortuin, a world-renowned cardiologist from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, said that he expected Fr. Pytel's heart never to be normal and that the then 48-year-old pastor would likely never be able to return to the full exercise of his parish duties.
On Oct. 5, 1995, the anniversary of Saint Faustina's death, members of Fr. Pytel's parish and some friends gathered for a day of prayer to seek his healing through St. Faustina's intercession. Upon venerating a relic of the Saint, the priest collapsed to the floor, unable to move for about 15 minutes, although he remained conscious.
During Fr. Pytel's next regular check-up, about a month later, Dr. Fortuin discovered a sudden change in the condition of the priest's heart — it was now normal.
To the VaticanSoon after his healing, Fr. Pytel contacted Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC — a member of the Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception in Stockbridge, Massachusetts — who was the representative for North America in furthering St. Faustina's cause of canonization. Father Seraphim then began to work with church authorities in gathering the documentation for investigating Fr. Pytel's healing as the miracle needed for St. Faustina's canonization.
He played the same role in establishing the healing of Maureen Digan as the miracle leading to St. Faustina's beatification.
Professional Medical Opinion On November 16th and December 9th, 1999, respective teams of medical and theological experts at the Vatican concluded their definitive investigation of Fr. Pytel's healing. The medical professional representing the Postulators of St. Faustina's cause was Dr. Valentin Fuster, Director of Mt. Sinai's Cardiovascular Institute in New York City. He is regarded as the preeminent expert in the world in the field of cardiovascular disease.
The medical doctors evaluated the healing as scientifically unexplainable, and the theologians verified that it was definitely to be attributed to the intercession of Saint Faustina. The solemn promulgation of the decree establishing the fact of the healing as a miracle took place at the Vatican in the presence of Pope John Paul II on Dec. 20, 1999.
Apostle of MercyIn a spiritual diary, Saint Faustina recounts her mystical experiences, including Christ's requests, declaring her to be the Secretary and Apostle of His Mercy. His urgent message is that mankind shall not have peace until it turns with trust to His mercy.
Pope John Paul II, who made a pilgrimage to Saint Faustina's tomb in 1997, called her the "Great Apostle of Mercy in our day." Referring to his own connection with Saint Faustina's mission, the Pope said at her tomb, "The message of Divine Mercy has always been near and dear to me... [and it,] in a sense forms the image of this Pontificate."

Helena left for Warsaw, and applied to various convents in the capital, only to be turned down each time. She was finally accepted at the convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She was eventually initiated as a nun on April 30, 1926, with the name Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament.

Sister Faustina reported having seen Christ in Purgatory, having seen and spoken to Jesus and Mary several times. She wrote that Jesus revealed to her, her purpose: to spread the devotion of the Mercy of God.

In Płock on February 22, 1931, she said that Jesus appeared as the 'King of Divine Mercy', wearing a white garment. His right hand was raised in a sign of blessing and the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment emanated two large rays, one red, the other white. Acting upon orders she said she received from Christ, Faustina had a picture of this vision painted. With the help of Father Michał Sopoćko, she distributed the images at Kraków and Vilnius (Wilno), and people began to pray before them.
Faustina kept a diary, despite her limited literacy. The diary was later published under the title Divine Mercy in My Soul: The Diary of St. Faustina.
She wanted to found a "Congregation which would have proclaimed the Mercy of God to the world, and, by its prayers, obtain it for the world." She was repeatedly denied leave by her superiors.
In 1935, she had a vision which described what is now called the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

In 1936, Faustina became ill, since speculated to be tuberculosis. She was moved to the sanatorium in Pradnik.
She continued to spend much time in prayer, reciting the chaplet and praying for the conversion of sinners. The last two years of her life were spent praying and keeping her diary. By June 1938, she could no longer write. She died on October 5. When Faustina's superior was cleaning out her room she opened the drawer and found the paintings of the Divine Mercy.

Index of Forbidden Books
After the death of St. Faustina, the nuns at her convent sent her writings to the Vatican. Prior to 1966, any reported visions of Jesus and Mary required approval from the Holy See before they could be released to the public.
After a failed attempt to persuade Pope Pius XII to sign a condemnation, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani at the Holy Office included her works on a list he submitted to the newly elected Pope John XXIII in 1959.

The Pope signed the decree that placed her work on the Index of Forbidden Books and they remained on the Index for over 20 years. Father Sopoćko was harshly reprimanded, and all his work was suppressed. However, Eugeniusz Baziak, the archbishop of Kraków, permitted the nuns to leave the original picture hanging in their chapel so that those who wished to continue to pray before it could do so.
The current position of the Vatican is that misunderstandings were created by a faulty Italian translation of Kowalska's Diary in that the questionable material could not be correlated with the original Polish version because of difficulties in communication throughout World War II and the subsequent Communist era.
However, an article in the National Catholic Reporter suggests that the ban stemmed from more serious theological issues. For instance, her claim that Jesus had promised a complete remission of sin for certain devotional acts that only the sacraments can offer, and what Vatican evaluators felt to be an excessive focus on Faustina herself ran contrary to the views at the Holy Office.

Canonization and Institution of Divine Mercy Sunday
When Karol Wojtyła (the future Pope John Paul II) became Archbishop of Kraków, a new investigation into the life and diary of St. Faustina was launched, and the devotion to the Divine Mercy was once again permitted. Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, John Paul II's successor as archbishop of Krakow, said that Faustina "reminds us of the gospel we had forgotten."
Faustina was beatified on April 18, 1993 and canonized on April 30, 2000. Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated the Second Sunday of Easter (which is the first Sunday after Easter).

Indeed the message [St. Faustina] brought is the appropriate and incisive answer that God wanted to offer to the questions and expectations of human beings in our time, marked by terrible tragedies.—Pope John Paul II -Divine Mercy Sunday Homily,Sunday, 22 April 2001
The fact that her Vatican biography directly quotes some of her conversations with Jesus distinguishes her among the many reported visions of Jesus and Mary.

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Born: 25 August 1905, Głogowiec, Russian Empire

Died: October 5, 1938 (aged 33), Kraków, Poland

Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified: 18 April 1993
Canonized: 30 April 2000, Pope John Paul II

Major shrine:
Shrine of Divine Mercy in Łagiewniki, Kraków, Poland
5 October
Patronage: World Youth Day

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Remembering a Great Politican of Staten Island after One year ago

This is the Staten Island which is named after State Senator John Marchi
State Senator John J. Marchi captured the Republican mayoral nomination in an upset in 1969, but lost the general election.

John J. Marchi

May 20, 1921 – April 25, 2009

He will be remembered as the former New York State Senator who represented Staten Island for a record 50 years. Marchi a Republican, retired on December 31, 2006, from the seat that he had held since January 1, 1957.

Marchi was first elected on November 6, 1956, after having served as a Senate aide. An attorney, Marchi has been active in conservative issues, particularly of a fiscal nature, during his long Senate tenure. He has also been a strong advocate for Staten Island issues. Marchi wrote the state laws to help New York City recover from its fiscal crisis and near bankruptcy in the 1970s. Marchi has been a long advocate for the secession of Staten Island from the rest of New York City.

He wrote a law which backed a secession referendum in 1993. While the referendum passed, the legislature has not allowed Staten Island to become its own city. As a part of his Staten Island secession work, Marchi drafted a model city charter for a new City of Staten Island. Marchi also drafted the law to close the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island. Marchi ran twice for Mayor of New York City. He won a surprise upset over Mayor John V. Lindsay in the 1969 Republican primary.

He ran in the general election against Lindsay, who was still the Liberal Party nominee, and Democratic Comptroller Mario Procaccino. Marchi and Procaccino lost to Lindsay. Marchi was the Republican nominee again in 1973, but he lost to Comptroller Abraham D. Beame, the Democrat that Lindsay had defeated in 1965. In 1961 he lost a race for Borough President of Staten Island. Marchi was the only Republican member of the State Senate who opposed the death penalty.

Marchi was a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors of the Council of State Governments. He was appointed by U.S. President Richard M. Nixon to the National Advisory Committee on Drug Abuse Prevention.
A new Staten Island Ferry boat was named in Marchi's honor in 2006.
John Marchi Hall was named in his honor on campus of the College of Staten Island in 2006. The building is located in the "north" side of campus; building 2N.
On October 19, 2006, the 85-year-old Marchi passed out and fell from his chair at the annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. Marchi died on April 25, 2009, while vacationing in Lucca, Italy with his wife and other family members.

Senate leadership positions:
Chairman of the Joint Liquor Laws Committee
Chairman of the Senate Commerce and Navigation Committee
Chairman of the Joint New York City Docks Committee
Chairman of the Joint Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Committee
Chairman of the Senate Constitutional Affairs Subcommittee
Chairman of the Senate City of New York Committee
Chairman of the Joint Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
Chairman of the Senate Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee
Vice President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Chairman of the Temporary State Commission on New York City School Governance
Chairman of the New York State Charter Commission for Staten Island
Chairman of the Staten Island Charter Commission
Deputy Majority Leader for Intergovernmental Relations
Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee
Assistant Majority Whip
Assistant Majority Leader for Conference Operations
Chairman of the Senate Task Force on World Trade Center Recovery

John J. Marchi, Who Fought for Staten Island in Senate, Dies at 87

John J. Marchi, whose 50 years as a state senator from Staten Island made him the longest-serving lawmaker in New York and one of the longest-serving state legislators in the nation, died on Saturday while vacationing in Lucca, Italy, the home of his forebears. He was 87.
The cause was complications of pneumonia, said his wife, Maria Luisa Marchi, and other members of his family.
Mr. Marchi:a Republican who often ran with the endorsement of Democrats, retired in 2006 after 25 consecutive victories since he was first elected in 1956. He lost two New York mayoral races, to John V. Lindsay in 1969 and to Abraham D. Beame in 1973.
But Mr. Marchi was known as an effective advocate for New York, forceful in seeking federal loan guarantees and helping to craft the financial package that saved the city from bankruptcy in the mid-1970s. He was also a champion for Staten Island, the least-populated of the city’s boroughs, with about 500,000 people, but also its most bucolic, with open areas that once were farms.
Like a distant village across New York Harbor, Staten Island has long been called a forgotten borough, neglected by city government, according to its residents. Indeed, Mr. Marchi’s popularity was partly a result of his sustained but unsuccessful efforts to win Staten Island’s independence from the city, a campaign that earned him the sobriquet “the Father of Secession.” Among his many honors, a new Staten Island ferry was christened the Senator John J. Marchi in 2004.
“For five decades,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Sunday, “mayors of both political parties relied on John to represent the city’s interests in Albany — as the legislative architect of the state university system, as an advocate for equitable transportation and education funding and on so many other vital issues, John was a true and far-sighted statesman.”
Malcolm A. Smith, the Senate majority leader, said of Mr. Marchi, “He had an unwavering dedication to the people he served, and Staten Island is an even better place to live because of his work.”
Mr. Marchi held conservative positions on most issues. Consistent with the teachings of his Roman Catholic faith, he opposed abortion and the death penalty, though many of his constituents favored capital punishment. He supported American involvement in the Vietnam War, calling antiwar demonstrations “a strike against America.”
In the 1990s, alarmed by an increase in the welfare rolls, he sought to change New York’s law to read that the state “may provide” rather than “shall provide” benefits. “If we don’t stop this welfare trend,” he said, “New York will be able to afford nothing else but welfare.”
He was born Giovanni Marchi on May 20, 1921, on Staten Island, the son of Luigi and Alina Girardello Marchi, who had emigrated from Lucca, a city in Tuscany. His father had been a sculptor, but made a living making decorative waxed fruit.
Giovanni became John on the advice of a nun. He attended parochial schools on Staten Island, graduated with honors from Manhattan College in 1942 and earned a law degree from St. John’s University in 1950 and a doctorate from Brooklyn Law School in 1953. In World War II, he served with the Coast Guard on antisubmarine duty in the Atlantic and with the Navy in the Okinawa campaign in the Pacific.
After practicing law in Staten Island, he became counsel to the State Senate in Albany, then ran successfully for a seat, riding in on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s landslide. Mr. Marchi quickly rose to influential Senate committee positions.
In 1969, during a time of racial tensions and antiwar protests in New York, he challenged the moderate Mr. Lindsay for the Republican mayoral nomination. Mr. Marchi was hawkish, and his upset victory in the Republican primary stunned supporters of Mr. Lindsay, a debonair politician with a patrician manner, and briefly propelled Mr. Marchi to the forefront of city politics.
The senator, who often came across as thoughtful but not an artful phrasemaker, surprised supporters, remarking that Mr. Lindsay harbored “delusions of adequacy.” But Mr. Lindsay rallied to secure the Liberal Party nomination, and running as a Liberal-Fusion candidate, he overwhelmed Mr. Marchi in the general election. Four years later, Mr. Marchi was defeated again, this time by Mr. Beame, the Democrat.
As the city’s brush with bankruptcy loomed, Mr. Marchi, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, crafted the legislative underpinnings of the Emergency Financial Control Board and the Municipal Assistance Corporation, agencies that helped guide the city through the financial turbulence.
Mr. Marchi, who loved the classics and could converse about Marcus Aurelius, Ovid and Aristotle, adored the Tuscany of his ancestors. He married Maria Luisa Davini in 1948 in her hometown, Lucca. Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Aline Balbas of Rahway, N.J., and Joan Migliori of Staten Island; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
While he did not win independence for Staten Island, Mr. Marchi never gave up on the idea of the borough as a place apart.
“Sometimes,” he said, “I feel that the quality of life in this city is so disastrous that I just can’t wait to get away from it — back out to Staten Island.”

After 50 Years, Staten Island Senator Announces His Retirement

State Senator John J. Marchi, a Staten Island lawmaker whose 50 years in the Legislature made him a symbol of the power of incumbency in Albany, said yesterday that he would not seek a 26th term. The decision ends a career that began when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president and that included a major upset when he captured the Republican mayoral nomination from John V. Lindsay in 1969.
The announcement by Mr. Marchi, who turns 85 next month, ends one of the longest careers of a state lawmaker in the country. It also sent ripples through state politics, as Mr. Marchi had until recently talked about running for another term despite being hospitalized for a week last month because of bleeding of the esophagus.
His retirement is another blow to Senate Republicans, who are seeking to hold on to their narrowing majority as the state increasingly turns Democratic.
"It was a difficult decision for me," Mr. Marchi said in an interview yesterday. "But after 50 years without a break, I thought it was time to move on."
He explained: "I'm turning 85 on May 20, and I've had a health episode recently, even though I feel quite fine right now. I'm still getting better. But the person who represents Staten Island in the Senate should be someone who is in top shape physically."
On Staten Island, Mr. Marchi has long been a highly popular legislator as well as a political institution. Indeed, politicians throughout the state, irrespective of their party, speak warmly of him. In many election years, he has run not only on the Republican and Conservative lines that have been his mainstay, but also with the Democratic Party's imprimatur and, at times, the Liberal Party's endorsement.
So popular is the senator that Mr. Marchi has an aquarium in the Staten Island Zoo named after him and one of the Staten Island ferry boats. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mr. Marchi is tied with Wisconsin State Senator Fred Risser, a Democrat, as the longest-serving member of a state legislature.
Mr. Marchi first announced his plans to his fellow Republican senators yesterday. He said that the decision not to run again this year was an especially difficult one. But he added that he had concluded that his health demanded that he slow down. Also, he said that his wife of 58 years, Maria Luisa, had urged him to leave the Legislature. She frequently accompanied him to Albany.
Last month, Mr. Marchi became ill one day after a $500-a-plate fundraiser in Albany. At the time, Mr. Marchi said that he was likely to run again.
Mr. Marchi stunned the city in 1969 by beating the incumbent mayor, Mr. Lindsay, in the Republican primary. But Mr. Lindsay, running as a Liberal-Fusion candidate, ultimately prevailed in a race that also included Mario A. Procaccino, a conservative Democrat.
As word of Mr. Marchi's decision spread across the state yesterday, officials in both parties were huddling to determine how to approach the post-Marchi era. The district, which includes most of Staten Island, has a large Democratic edge in registration over Republicans.
Several prominent Democrats were mentioned in the island's political circles yesterday as possible contenders, including City Councilman Michael E. McMahon, Assemblyman Michael J. Cusick and former Councilman Jerome X. O'Donovan.
Party affiliations aside, however, the district tends to be moderate to conservative and it is the home of four Republican officials who are mentioned as possible candidates: Councilmen James S. Oddo, who is the Republican leader in the Council, and Andrew J. Lanza as well two Assemblymen, Vincent Ignizio and Matthew Mirones.
But yesterday was a day of tributes to Mr. Marchi. In a statement, Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader, said Mr. Marchi "has devoted his life to public service and has built a record of accomplishment that is truly second to none."
While he is a conservative Republican in the city's most conservative and Republican borough, he is sometimes at odds with other party officials. He has long opposed the death penalty, and, despite his opposition to abortion, he has failed to win the endorsement of the Right to Life Party on Staten Island because of his support of budgets that have included funds for abortions for poor women.

State Senator John Marchi: Sir, its been a privelege to met you in person at the Staten Island's own July 4th parade and also its a honor to know who you were in Staten Island's own history. Thank you for all what you did for Staten Island and you will be missed! Remembering you on this day after the one year anniversary of your passing, may you rest in peace!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy 400th Birthday to Pope Alexander VIII

Pope Alexander VIII:

Pope Alexander VIII:May you have a peaceful birthday in heaven on this day of your birth, your holiness, happy 400th birthday!
Apr. 22, 1610
Feb. 1, 1691
Roman Catholic Pope. Born Pietro Vitto Otto Boni in Venice, Italy in 1610, he was elected pope on October 6, 1689 and crowned at the Vatican on the 16th. As pope he governed the Papal State mildly, reducing taxes and making several concessions to farmers. Alexander VIII practiced nepotism, but was, on the other hand, generous with the Church making it a gift of the library of the late Queen Christina of Sweden which he had bought at his own expense. Alexander VIII died in Rome in 1691 and is interred at Saint Peters Basilica.

born Pietro Vito Ottoboni, was Pope from 1689 to 1691.

Early life
Pietro Ottoboni was born of a noble Venetian family, and was the son of Marco Ottoboni, chancellor of the Republic of Venice. His early studies were made with marked brilliancy at the University of Padua, where, in 1627, he earned a doctorate in canon and civil law.

Governor of Terni, Rieti and Spoleto
He went to Rome during the pontificate of Pope Urban VIII (1623–44), and was made governor of Terni, Rieti, and Spoleto. For fourteen years he served as auditor of the Rota. At the request of the Venetian Republic, Ottoboni was made Cardinal-Priest of San Salvatore in Lauro by Pope Innocent X (1644–55) in 1652, and was later given the bishopric of Brescia, in Venetian territory, where he quietly spent the best years of middle life.

The ambassador of Louis XIV of France (1643–1715) succeeded in procuring his election on 6 October 1689, as successor to Pope Innocent XI (1676–89); nevertheless, after months of negotiation Alexander VIII finally condemned the declaration made in 1682 by the French clergy concerning the liberties of the Gallican church.

Alexander VIII was almost an octogenarian when elected to the papacy, and lived but sixteen months, during which time little of importance was done. Louis XIV, whose political situation was now critical, profited by the peaceful dispositions of the new pope, restored Avignon to him, and renounced the long-abused right of asylum for the French Embassy.

Financial controversies
Charities on a large scale and unbounded nepotism exhausted the papal treasury, reversing the policies of his predecessor. Among the various nominations, his 22-year-old nephew Pietro was made cardinal, nephew Marco was made Duc of Fiano, and nephew Antonio Church was made general. Out of compassion for the poor of the impoverished Papal States, he sought to help them by reducing taxes. But this same generous nature led him to bestow on his relations the riches they were eager to accumulate; on their behalf, and to the discredit of his pontificate, he revived sinecure offices which had been suppressed by Innocent XI. He bought the books and manuscripts of Queen Christina of Sweden for the Vatican Library. Alexander VIII assisted his native Venice by generous subsidies in the war against the Turks, as well as sending seven galleys and 2,000 infantry for the campaign in Albania.

Tomb of Alexander VIII, St. Peter's Basilica
In 1690 he condemned the doctrines of the so-called philosophical sin, taught in the Jesuit schools. That year he also canonized St. John of God.
Alexander VIII died on 1 February 1691. His tomb in St. Peter's was designed by Count Arrigo di San Martino and sculpted (1691-1725) by Angelo de' Rossi and Giuseppe Bertosi.

Happy 40th anniversary of Earth Day!

"As we continue to tackle our environmental challenges, it’s clear that change won’t come from Washington alone. It will come from Americans across the country who take steps in their own homes and their own communities to make that change happen."-President Barack Obama
Senator, thank you so much for creating this day on which embarks environmentalists to voice their opinions about the true environment, thanks, happy Earth day!

Happy 40th anniversary of Earth Day!

Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is celebrated in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Earth Day Network, a group that wishes to become the coordinator of Earth Day globally, asserts that Earth Day is now observed on April 22 on virtually every country on Earth. World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 in a different nation every year, is the principal United Nations environmental observance. Many communities also celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of environment-related activities, the first of which occurred in Philadelphia in 1970 (starting April 16 and culminating on Earth Day, April 22).

The first Earth Day:
U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin announced his idea for a nationwide teach-in day on the environment in a speech to a fledgling conservation group in Seattle on 20 September 1969, and then again six days later in Atlantic City to a meeting of the United Auto Workers. Senator Nelson hoped that a grassroots outcry about environmental issues might prove to Washington, D.C. just how distressed Americans were in every constituency. Senator Nelson invited Republican Representative Paul N “Pete” McCloskey to serve as his co-chair and they incorporated a new non-profit organization, environmental Teach-In, Inc., to stimulate participation across the country. Both continued to give speeches plugging the event.
On September 29, 1969, in a front-page New York Times article, Gladwin Hill wrote:
"Rising concern about the "environmental crisis" is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems, analogous to the mass demonstrations on Vietnam, is being planned for next spring, when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...”Denis Hayes, a Harvard graduate student, read the NYT article and traveled to Washington to get involved. He had been student body president and a campus activist at Stanford University in McCloskey’s district and where Teach-In board member Paul Ehrlich was a professor. He thought he might be asked to organize Boston. Instead, Nelson eventually asked Hayes to drop out of Harvard, assemble a staff, and direct the effort to organize the United States. Hayes would go on to become a widely recognized environmental advocate.

Official Earth Week logo that was used as the backdrop for the prime time CBS News Special Report with Walter Cronkite about Earth Day 1970.
Nelson's suggestion was difficult to implement, as the Earth Day movement proved to be autonomous with no central governing body. As Senator Nelson attests, it simply grew on its own:
Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.
On April 22 1970, Earth Day marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Approximately 20 million Americans participated. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, Freeway and expressway revolts, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Media coverage of the first Earth Day included a One-Hour Prime-time CBS News Special Report called "Earth Day: A Question of Survival," with correspondents reporting from a dozen major cities across the country, and narrated by Walter Cronkite (whose backdrop was the Earth Week Committee of Philadelphia's logo). The largest segment of the special report (20 minutes of the 60-minute program) focused on Earth Day in Philadelphia.

How the First Earth Day Came About
By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start? These are the questions I am most frequently asked. Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day. I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not. After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment? I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try. At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office. Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events: "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...." It was obvious that we were headed for a spectacular success on Earth Day. It was also obvious that grassroots activities had ballooned beyond the capacity of my U.S. Senate office staff to keep up with the telephone calls, paper work, inquiries, etc. In mid-January, three months before Earth Day, John Gardner, Founder of Common Cause, provided temporary space for a Washington, D.C. headquarters. I staffed the office with college students and selected Denis Hayes as coordinator of activities. Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mark Twain reaches its 100th anniversary

Mark Twain or Samuel Langhorne Clemens

Samuel Langhorne "Mark Twain" Clemens: to one of the greatest writers in Literature and humorist in American history, thanks for all of the great books that you wrote,remembering you after 100 years, may you rest in peace!

He will be remembered as an American author and humorist. Twain is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), which has been called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). He is extensively quoted. Twain was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

Twain was very popular, and his keen wit and incisive satire earned praise from critics and peers. Upon his death he was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature."

Later life

Twain passed through a period of deep depression, which began in 1896 when his daughter Susy died of meningitis. Olivia's death in 1904 and Jean's on December 24, 1909, deepened his gloom.On May 20, 1909, his close friend Henry Rogers died suddenly.

In 1906, Twain began his autobiography in the North American Review. In April, Twain heard that his friend Ina Coolbrith had lost nearly all she owned in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and he volunteered a few autographed portrait photographs to be sold for her benefit. To further aid Coolbrith, George Wharton James visited Twain in New York and arranged for a new portrait session. Twain said four of the resulting images were the finest ones ever taken of him.

Twain formed a club in 1906 for girls he viewed as surrogate granddaughters, the Angel Fish and Aquarium Club. The dozen or so members ranged in age from 10 to 16. Twain exchanged letters with his "Angel Fish" girls and invited them to concerts and the theatre and to play games. Twain wrote in 1908 that the club was his "life's chief delight." Oxford University awarded Twain an honorary doctorate in letters (D.Litt.) in 1907.

In 1909, Twain is quoted as saying:
I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'

His prediction was accurate – Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, in Redding, Connecticut, one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.
Upon hearing of Twain's death, President William Howard Taft said: "Mark Twain gave pleasure – real intellectual enjoyment – to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come... His humor was American, but he was nearly as much appreciated by Englishmen and people of other countries as by his own countrymen. He has made an enduring part of American literature."

Mark Twain headstone in Woodlawn Cemetery.
Twain's funeral was at the "Old Brick" Presbyterian Church in New York. He is buried in his wife's family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York. His grave is marked by a 12-foot (i.e., two fathoms, or "mark twain") monument, placed there by his surviving daughter, Clara.There is also a smaller headstone.

Later writing:
After his great work, Twain began turning to his business endeavors to keep them afloat and to stave off the increasing difficulties he had been having from his writing projects. Twain focused on President Ulysses S. Grant's Memoirs for his fledgling publishing company, finding time in between to write "The Private History of a Campaign That Failed" for The Century Magazine. This piece detailed his two-week stint in a Confederate militia during the Civil War. The name of his publishing company was Charles L. Webster & Company, which he owned with Charles L. Webster, his nephew by marriage.

Twain in his old age:
Twain next focused on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, which featured him making his first big pronouncement of disappointment with politics. Written with the same "historical fiction" style of The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee showed the absurdities of political and social norms by setting them in the court of King Arthur. The book was started in December 1885, then shelved a few months later until the summer of 1887, and eventually finished in the spring of 1889.

Twain had begun to furiously write articles and commentary with diminishing returns to pay the bills and keep his business projects afloat, but it was not enough. He filed for bankruptcy in 1894.
His next large-scale work, Pudd'nhead Wilson, was written rapidly, as Twain was desperately trying to stave off the bankruptcy. From November 12 to December 14, 1893, Twain wrote 60,000 words for the novel. Critics have pointed to this rushed completion as the cause of the novel's rough organization and constant disruption of continuous plot. There were parallels between this work and Twain's financial failings, notably his desire to escape his current constraints and become a different person.

Like The Prince and the Pauper, this novel also contains the tale of two boys born on the same day who switch positions in life. Considering the circumstances of Twain's birth and Halley's Comet, and his strong belief in the paranormal, it is not surprising that these "mystic" connections recur throughout his writing.

The actual title is not clearly established. It was first published serially in Century Magazine, and when it was finally published in book form, Pudd'nhead Wilson appeared as the main title; however, the disputed "subtitles" make the entire title read: The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson and the Comedy of The Extraordinary Twins.

Twain's next venture was a work of straight fiction that he called Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc and dedicated to his wife. Twain had long said that this was the work of which he was most proud, despite the criticism he received for it. The book had been a dream of his since childhood; he claimed that he had found a manuscript detailing the life of Joan of Arc when he was an adolescent. This was another piece which Twain was convinced would save his publishing company. His financial adviser, Henry Huttleston Rogers, squashed that idea and got

Twain out of that business altogether, but the book was published nonetheless.
During this time of dire financial straits, Twain published several literary reviews in newspapers to help make ends meet. He famously derided James Fenimore Cooper in his article detailing Cooper's "Literary Offenses". He became an extremely outspoken critic not only of other authors, but also of other critics, suggesting that before praising Cooper's work, Professors Loundsbury, Brander Matthes, and Wilkie Collins "ought to have read some of it."
Other authors to fall under Twain's attack during this time period (beginning around 1890 until his death) were George Eliot, Jane Austen, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

In addition to providing a source for the "tooth and claw" style of literary criticism, Twain outlines in several letters and essays what he considers to be "quality writing". He places emphasis on concision, utility of word choice, and realism (he complains that Cooper's Deerslayer purports to be realistic but has several shortcomings). Ironically, several of his works were later criticized for lack of continuity (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) and organization (Pudd'nhead Wilson).

Twain's wife died in 1904 while the couple were staying at the Villa di Quarto in Florence, and after an appropriate time Twain allowed himself to publish some works that his wife, a de facto editor and censor throughout his life, had looked down upon. Of these works, The Mysterious Stranger, depicting various visits of the Devil to the Earth, is perhaps the best known. This particular work was not published in Twain's lifetime. There were three versions found in his manuscripts made between 1897 and 1905: the Hannibal, Eseldorf, and Print Shop versions. Confusion between the versions led to an extensive publication of a jumbled version, and only recently have the original versions as Twain wrote them become available.
Twain's last work was his autobiography, which he dictated and thought would be most entertaining if he went off on whims and tangents in non-sequential order. Some archivists and compilers had a problem with this and rearranged the biography into a more conventional form, thereby eliminating some of Twain's humor and the flow of the book.

Columbia Missourian
Death of Mark Twain reaches its 100th anniversary
Mark Twain died in 1910, and for the 100th anniversary of his death, his life is being remembered and honored by a number of organizations in Columbia. ¦ The Associated Press
COLUMBIA—In November 1835, Mark Twain was born under the glow of Halley’s Comet.
As it would turn out, the comet's appearance would serve as a bookend to his life. When Twain died 74 years later in 1910, it was again shooting through the sky.
Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the man from Missouri who adopted the name Mark Twain and become a humorist, global lecturer and author of widely celebrated novels.
He once wrote to his wife, "Manifestly, dying is nothing to a really great and brave man," and most centennial events, almost in response to this quote, have focused instead on his remarkable life.
MU invited scholars to speak at a series of lectures in March, and the State Historical Society is planning an exhibition of artist Thomas Hart Benton's illustrations for Twain's books this year.
On Tuesday, the Columbia Public Library will hold a discussion of his short stories, and the library will show the documentary, "Mark Twain Tonight," on April 28.
Twain became famous as a literary master who wrote two especially enduring books, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
During his lifetime, he achieved celebrity status. He dined with Theodore Roosevelt, met Mahatma Ghandi, Sigmund Freud and the Prince of Wales, and knew the corporate titans of his era.
He also worked with abolitionists, suffragists and scientific geniuses. All this was accomplished with a fourth-grade education, apprenticeships and evenings spent alone in a public library. (MU gave him an honorary degree in 1902.)
Born in Florida, Mo., he moved with his family at age 4 to Hannibal where his father opened a general store.
After the death of his father at age 11,Twain dropped out of school. His first jobs were as a printer in Hannibal and several East Coast cities.
Tom Quirk, an English professor at MU and a Mark Twain scholar, said he was fascinated with fiction from the beginning. The writer's first piece of published work, when he was 16, was a magazine piece titled "The Dandy Frightening the Squatter."
Twain was also attracted to the life of adventure, such as riverboat piloting on the Mississippi River.
He and his brother, Henry, both worked on steamboats. Once, they plotted the course of action they would follow if there was an explosion — they would help the passengers rather than escape themselves.
An explosion on a steamboat eventually did kill Henry, and Twain blamed himself, saying he had foreseen the death in a dream.
After the Civil War ended Twain's days on the river, he followed his brother, Orion, to Nevada. He tried his luck at prospecting, then began a journalistic career in California, traveled to Europe and the Middle East and wrote "The Innocents Abroad."The novel later became a bestseller.
He left a body of work that includes not only influential American novels, but also essays, articles, short stories and speeches. He wrote about travel, civil rights, women's rights, pacifism, anti-imperialism, the existence of God and science fiction.
Twain could have been talking about himself when he wrote,"There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things.
"The first group is less crowded."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dorothy Height, 'Queen' of Civil Rights Movement, Dies

I enjoy this picture the most because its depicates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Coretta Scott King and herself, 3 of the most important people during the Civil Rights Movement!
Here is she is in 2 pictures: the 1st one as a young lady and the 2nd one as a old lady!

Here is Dorothy Height with First Lady Michelle Obama!

Dorothy Height, ‘Queen’ of Civil Rights Movement, Dies

Ms. Height, you will always be remembered in my heart due to you are considered to be the "Queen" and one of the most influential women in the civil rights movement, thank you for your bravery during those rough years, and used your own bravery and struggle to see the day when an African American can become the nation's 44th president! May the Almighty God welcome you into the eternal kingdom of heaven, may you rest in peace!

(April 20) — Dorothy Height, one of the
most influential women in the civil rights
movement, died today at age 98. Her name
does not often appear in the history books,
but Height spent a lifetime on the front
lines of the fight for racial equality and
women’s rights.
“At every major effort for social progressive
change, Dorothy Height has been
there,” Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said in
Height was best known as the former
president of the National Council of Negro
Women, an organization that has agitated
for equal rights since 1935. But she was at
the center of some of the most pivotal moments
in civil rights history — and indeed,
American history — in the past century.
David Kohl, AP
Dorothy Height, here in 2008, was a
longtime president of the National Council
of Negro Women and the leading female
voice of the 1960s civil rights movement.
She died Tuesday at age 98.
Height was the only woman on stage
when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his
“I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. She
wanted to speak, but women were not allowed
that day. “He spoke longer than he
was supposed to speak,” Height later said
of King.
In 2003, she told NPR that the women in
the civil rights movement met the day after
the speech to strategize about how to
achieve equality within the movement.
“All of it was toward saying how can we
bring all the people who need to understand
the role that women have played, but
also the predicament women face, and especially
we who are women of color, where
we’ve had both sex and racial discrimination
as a characteristic of our lives,” Height
She stood beside president John F.
Kennedy as he signed the Equal Pay Act
mandating equal wages for women in the
workplace. And she was on stage when the
first black president was sworn in. “I never
thought I would live to see this,” she told
The New York Times last year.
Height was more than a witness to history,
She was a civil rights activist from the beginning.
She protested the lynchings that
were sweeping the country during her
youth in the 1920s. She helped integrate
the YWCA in 1947. She appealed to Eleanor
Roosevelt and President Dwight D. Eisenhower
to integrate the armed forces.
Despite her low profile, Height was
among the senior members of the civil
rights leadership, and she outlasted them,
as well. In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr.
sent Height to Montgomery, Ala., to help
console the families of the four girls who
were murdered in the 16th Street Baptist
Church bombing, according to The Washington
She also worked on programs that addressed
poverty, drug abuse and poor nutrition
in black communities during her 40-
year tenure as president of the National
Council for Negro Women. In 1994, President
Bill Clinton awarded Height the Presidential
Medal of Freedom.
Civil rights activist C. DeLores Tucker
once said Height was an icon for women
and blacks alike.
“I call Rosa Parks the mother of the civil
rights movement,” Tucker told The Associated
Press in 1997. “Dorothy Height is the
Height was born in Richmond, Va., in
1912. She never married and had no children.
She was not a civil rights celebrity,
but she worked tirelessly for the movement.
“So long as God let’s me live, I will be on
the firing line,” she once said.

Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010) was an African American administrator, educator, and social activist. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

Early life
Height was born in Richmond, Virginia. At an early age, she moved with her family to Rankin, Pennsylvania. Height was admitted to Barnard College in 1929, but upon arrival, she was denied entrance because the school had an unwritten policy of admitting only two black students.She pursued studies instead at New York University, earning a degree in 1932, and a master's degree in educational psychology the following year.

Height started working as a caseworker with the New York City Welfare Department and, at the age of twenty-five, she began a career as a civil rights activist when she joined the National Council of Negro Women. She fought for equal rights for both African Americans and women, and in 1944 she joined the national staff of the YWCA. She also served as National President of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Incorporated from 1946-1957. She remained active with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority thoughtout her life. While there she developed leadership training programs and interracial and ecumenical education programs.

Dorothy Height
In 1957, Height was named president of the National Council of Negro Women, a position she held until 1997. During the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Height organized "Wednesdays in Mississippi", which brought together black and white women from the North and South to create a dialogue of understanding.

American leaders regularly took her counsel, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Height also encouraged President Dwight D. Eisenhower to desegregate schools and President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint African American women to positions in government. In the mid 1960s, Height wrote a column entitled "A Woman's Word" for the weekly African-American newspaper, the New York Amsterdam News. Her first column appeared in the March 20th, 1965 issue.

Height served on a number of committees, including as a consultant on African affairs to the Secretary of State, the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped, and the President's Committee on the Status of Women. In 1974, Height was named to the National Council for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which published The Belmont Report, a response to the infamous "Tuskegee Syphillis Study" and an international ethical touchstone for researchers to this day.

Later life
In 2004, Height was recognized by Barnard for her achievements as an honorary alumna during its commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The musical stageplay 'If This Hat Could Talk', based on her memoirs Open Wide The Freedom Gates, debuted in the middle of 2005. It showcases her unique perspective on the civil rights movement and details many of the behind-the-scenes figures/mentors who shaped her life, including Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Height was the chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the largest civil rights organization in the USA. She was an honored guest and seated among the dignitaries at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009.

She attended the National Black Family Reunion, celebrated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., every year until her death in 2010. On March 25, 2010 Height was admitted to Howard University Hospital in Washington DC for unspecified reasons. Her spokeswoman issued a statement stating that at that time she was in a "very serious, but stable" condition but that they were remaining optimistic about her recovery. On April 20, 2010, Height died at the age of 98.

Awards and honors
Presidential Citizens Medal (1989)
Spingarn Medal from the NAACP (1993)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom From Want Award (1993)
inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame (1993)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (1994)

7th Annual Heinz Award Chairman's Medal (2001)
listed on Molefi Kete Asante's list of 100 Greatest African Americans (2002)
Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush on behalf of the United States Congress (Approved, 2003) (Awarded, 2004

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI marks 5th anniversary of his election

Monday that he doesn't feel alone while at the helm of a "wounded and sinner" church, the Vatican newspaper reported.Benedict made the comment while the cardinals were celebrating the fifth anniversary of his election to the papacy, the L'Osservatore Romano said.The afternoon paper's account of Benedict's remarks at the luncheon marking his April 19, 2005, election to succeed John Paul II did not directly mention the current clergy sex abuse scandal, which is threatening to engulf Benedict's papacy with the church's most serious crisis in recent times."In this moment, the pope, very strongly, doesn't feel alone.

He feels he has all the cardinals near him sharing tribulations and consolation," L'Osservatore Romano said Benedict told those who sat down to the meal with him.The pope spoke of the "sins of the church, reminding them that it, wounded and sinner, is experiencing, ever more, the consolation of God," the Vatican's official daily said.Benedict hosted the lunch attended by 46 cardinals, who cheered and applauded him.Sitting next to the pontiff in the ornate Apostolic Palace were two of his closest aides, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals and one of the pope's most ardent defenders in the face of the scandal.The pope leads the church "with great generosity" in the face of "the challenges that the modern world poses to each disciple of Christ," Sodano said in an address to the pontiff, according to Vatican Radio.Benedict has just returned from a two-day pilgrimage to Malta, where he met privately with abuse victims.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, the Italian bishops' conference has invited faithful in churches across Italy to pray for Benedict. The conference also invited the faithful to remember in their prayers both "the victims of sex abuse and those who have stained themselves with such heinous crimes."Reports of abuse of minors by priests have piled up across Europe, including in the pope's native Germany. Benedict's own actions as an archbishop in Munich and later as a cardinal at the helm of the Vatican morals office have come under question.

Victims of clerical abuse have demanded that Benedict take more personal responsibility for clerical abuse, charging that the Vatican orchestrated a culture of cover-up and secrecy that allowed priests to rape and molest children unchecked for decades.The Vatican maintains that Benedict, who just turned 83, has cracked down on sex abuse both as pontiff and in his tenure as a top Vatican cardinal.In his meeting with the Maltese men who said they were abused by priests, a tearful Benedict promised the church will do everything possible to protect children and bring abusive priests to justice, according to the Vatican.

Pope: I Lead 'Wounded, Sinner' Church

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI told cardinals on Monday that he doesn't feel alone while at the helm of a ''wounded and sinner'' church, the Vatican newspaper reported.
Benedict made the comment while the cardinals were celebrating the fifth anniversary of his election to the papacy, the L'Osservatore Romano said.

The afternoon paper's account of Benedict's remarks at the luncheon marking his April 19, 2005, election to succeed John Paul II did not directly mention the current clergy sex abuse scandal, which is threatening to engulf Benedict's papacy with the church's most serious crisis in recent times. ''In this moment, the pope, very strongly, doesn't feel alone. He feels he has all the cardinals near him sharing tribulations and consolation,'' L'Osservatore Romano said Benedict told those who sat down to the meal with him. The pope spoke of the ''sins of the church, reminding them that it, wounded and sinner, is experiencing, ever more, the consolation of God,'' the Vatican's official daily said.

Benedict hosted the lunch attended by 46 cardinals, who cheered and applauded him.
Sitting next to the pontiff in the ornate Apostolic Palace were two of his closest aides, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals and one of the pope's most ardent defenders in the face of the scandal.
The pope leads the church ''with great generosity'' in the face of ''the challenges that the modern world poses to each disciple of Christ,'' Sodano said in an address to the pontiff, according to Vatican Radio.

Benedict has just returned from a two-day pilgrimage to Malta, where he met privately with abuse victims. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the Italian bishops' conference has invited faithful in churches across Italy to pray for Benedict. The conference also invited the faithful to remember in their prayers both ''the victims of sex abuse and those who have stained themselves with such heinous crimes.''

Reports of abuse of minors by priests have piled up across Europe, including in the pope's native Germany. Benedict's own actions as an archbishop in Munich and later as a cardinal at the helm of the Vatican morals office have come under question. Victims of clerical abuse have demanded that Benedict take more personal responsibility for clerical abuse, charging that the Vatican orchestrated a culture of cover-up and secrecy that allowed priests to rape and molest children unchecked for decades.

The Vatican maintains that Benedict, who just turned 83, has cracked down on sex abuse both as pontiff and in his tenure as a top Vatican cardinal. In his meeting with the Maltese men who said they were abused by priests, a tearful Benedict promised the church will do everything possible to protect children and bring abusive priests to justice, according to the Vatican.

Papal conclave, 2005

The Papal conclave of 2005 was convened as a result of the death of Pope John Paul II on 2 April 2005. After his death, the cardinals who were in Rome met and set a date for the beginning of the conclave to elect John Paul's successor. The conclave began on 18 April 2005 and ended on the following day after four ballots. Eligible members of the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church (those who were younger than 80 years of age at the time of the death of Pope John Paul II) met and elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new Pope. After accepting his election, he took the regnal name Benedict XVI.

Proceedings on 18 April began with a morning Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff (Latin: Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice). In the afternoon the Cardinal electors assembled in the Hall of Blessings in St Peter's Basilica and from there went in solemn procession to the Sistine Chapel, where, after the singing of the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, each cardinal took the prescribed oath. After these and other formalities for the start of the Conclave had been observed, Archbishop Piero Marini, Papal Master of Ceremonies, gave the traditional command extra omnes (everybody out). The doors were then locked, and the actual Conclave began. In accordance with the law, one round of balloting was held on that evening. Thereafter balloting was to continue until a new Pope was elected, on a schedule of two ballots each morning and two each afternoon.

The ballot slips were to be burned at noon and 7 p.m. Rome time (10:00 and 17:00 UTC) each day. The traditional procedure is that smoke from this, in times past reinforced by adding handfuls of dry or damp straw, emerged from a temporary chimney on the chapel roof as for a conclusive vote (white smoke) or an as yet undecided one (black smoke). Nowadays the straw is replaced by chemically-produced smoke.
The first ballot, on the evening of 18 April, produced black smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, meaning no pope had been elected. More black smoke followed the two morning ballots of 19 April. White smoke emerged in the afternoon but the fact that initially the bells of St. Peter's Basilica did not ring left some uncertainty as to what this meant. Shortly after 6 p.m. Rome time, they did begin pealing, thus confirming that a new pope had been elected.

Papal election process for 2005:
Presiding over the conclave was the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Ratzinger. Given that Ratzinger himself was chosen as Pope, the duty of asking if he would accept the election and what name would he take fell, in accordance with the law, to the vice-dean, Angelo Sodano.
It fell to the Cardinal Protodeacon, Jorge Medina Estévez, to make the solemn announcement of the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI.

This was the first Papal election governed under provisions made by John Paul II in his Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, promulgated on 22 February, 1996. According to tradition and declaration of the Camerlengo, Eduardo Martínez Somalo, Benedict XVI is the 265th Bishop of Rome, head of both the Latin Catholic Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches.
In a break with recent tradition, Universi Dominici Gregis provided that the cardinals were not to be locked under key in the Sistine Chapel precincts throughout the conclave. Instead they were to be lodged within the confines of the Vatican City State at the Domus Sanctae Marthae when not in session, where they did not have access to newspapers, television, radio, the Internet, or telephones for the duration of the election process.

On 24 April, 5 days after Benedict XVI's election, he was ceremonially installed. Since Pope John Paul I, the historical Papal Coronation has been replaced by a simple investiture with the pallium and Papal Inauguration Mass. Many dignitaries of various countries, some of whom had attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II, also attended this function. One of them was the then German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Papal Conclave of 2005
117 total
2(Jaime Sin, Adolfo Suárez Rivera)
Asia & Middle East
John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła)
Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger)
Although there were 183 cardinals in all, cardinals age 80 years or more at the time the papacy fell vacant were ineligible to vote in the conclave according to rules enacted by Pope Paul VI in 1971 and modified slightly in 1996 by John Paul II. Pope Paul also limited the number of cardinal electors to a maximum of 120, though John Paul sometimes disregarded this limit when elevating cardinals. At the time of John Paul's death, there were 117 cardinals under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in the conclave.

The late pope appointed another cardinal secretly (in pectore) in 2003, but his identity was never made public; since John Paul did not reveal the name of this cardinal before he died, the in pectore cardinalate expired on 2 April.
All the electors except Jaime Sin, William Wakefield Baum and Joseph Ratzinger were appointed by Pope John Paul II. The result of this (with Cardinal Sin unable to attend) was that Cardinals Baum and Ratzinger were the only cardinals in the conclave with practical experience in the papal election process, having participated in the conclaves electing John Paul I and John Paul II.

This state of affairs is not unparalleled in modern conclaves: the 1903 conclave had only one elector with previous experience in electing a pope, and the 1823 conclave only two. This was due to the long pontificates which immediately preceded such conclaves.
The cardinal electors came from slightly over fifty nations (up slightly from the 49 represented in 1978) around the world, about 30 of which have only a single representative. The Italian electors were the most numerous at 20, followed by the contingent from the United States of America with 11.

It was officially announced on April 9 that two of the 117 cardinal electors, Jaime Sin of the Philippines and Adolfo Antonio Suárez Rivera of Mexico, would not be attending the conclave due to poor health, though some reports had said Cardinal Sin had hoped for medical clearance to travel. Sin was to die in June. Even two short of the full number, with 115 cardinals attending, this conclave saw the largest number of cardinals ever to elect a pope; both conclaves in 1978 had 111 electors present. The supporting votes of two-thirds of the cardinals attending a conclave are needed to elect a new pope in the initial phases of the process: in this case, 77 votes.

On Saturday, 9 April, in Rome, 130 cardinals meeting in the "General Congregation" (including some non-voting cardinals) voted not to talk to the press until after the conclave.
The cardinal electors listened to two exhortations to the conclave cardinals before passing on to the first election on the afternoon of 18 April. The first of these exhortations on the state of the Church was delivered on the morning of Thursday, 14 April, in one of the daily general congregations.

The preacher was Raniero Cantalamessa, a Capuchin friar and scholar in Church history, who has for several years preached the lenten sermons to the pope and his curial staff. The text of Cantalamessa's lecture was apparently leaked to the Italian press, who quoted him as having told the cardinals they "must guard against transforming Pentecost into a Babel, as happens when one looks for personal affirmation ... They ought to only search for the glory of God and the realisation of his reign." The second exhortation was delivered by Tomáš Špidlík in the Sistine Chapel after the extra omnes on the afternoon of Monday, April 18, and the closing off of the conclave area to outsiders.

First day:
On 18 April, after concelebrated Mass in St. Peters, the cardinals proceeded to the Sistine Chapel while the Litany of Saints was chanted. After taking their places the "Veni Creator Spiritus" ("Come, Creator Spirit") was sung. At the first conclave since their restoration, Michelangelo's Last Judgement and ceiling appeared in their full glory. The occasion was very solemn.

The Cardinal Dean of the Sacred College, Joseph Ratzinger, then read the oath:
We, the cardinal electors present in this election of the Supreme Pontiff promise, vow and swear, as individuals and as a group, to observe faithfully and scrupulously the prescriptions contained in the Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Universi Dominici Gregis, published on 22 February 1996. We likewise promise, pledge and swear that whichever of us by divine disposition is elected Roman Pontiff will commit himself faithfully to carrying out the munus Petrinum of Pastor of the Universal Church and will not fail to affirm and defend strenuously the spiritual and temporal rights and the liberty of the Holy See.

In a particular way, we promise and swear to observe with the greatest fidelity and with all persons, clerical or lay, secrecy regarding everything that in any way relates to the election of the Roman Pontiff and regarding what occurs in the place of the election, directly or indirectly related to the results of the voting; we promise and swear not to break this secret in any way, either during or after the election of the new Pontiff, unless explicit authorization is granted by the same Pontiff; and never to lend support or favor to any interference, opposition or any other form of intervention, whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree or any group of people or individuals might wish to intervene in the election of the Roman Pontiff.
Each cardinal elector affirmed the oath by placing his hands on the book of the Gospels saying aloud: And I, (name), do so promise, pledge and swear. So help me God and these Holy Gospels which I touch with my hand.

Cardinal Ratzinger, as Dean of the Sacred College, was first to go forward. He was followed by the Vice Dean, Angelo Sodano, and all the other cardinals in order of seniority.
Two cardinals were striking by their different attire in the sea of red and white: Cardinals Ignace I Daoud of the Syrian Catholic Church and Lubomyr Husar of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. After Archbishop Piero Marini (the Papal Master of Ceremonies) intoned the words extra omnes (Latin, "everybody out!"), the members of the choir, security guards, and others left the chapel and the doors of the Sistine Chapel were closed, leaving the cardinals in conclave.

Results of the first ballot:
On the first ballot, according to the Italian daily Il Messaggero, Carlo Maria Martini obtained 40 votes, Joseph Ratzinger obtained 38 votes, and Camillo Ruini a substantial number of votes, the rest of the votes being dispersed. Alternatively, an anonymous cardinal's diary suggested Cardinal Martini only received 9 votes during the first ballot and Ratzinger in fact received as many as 47. Nonetheless, both totals fell short of the required threshold and Black Smoke (fumata nera) emerged from the top of the Sistine Chapel at around 20:00 Rome time. This signaled that the first ballot had been held and that no new pope had been elected.

Second day:

The new pope Benedict XVI.
The morning session of the second day ended with the Sistine Chapel chimney emitting black smoke once again (even this time it was much lighter in the first few seconds; experts say this was because the stove was new and too clean), meaning that no new pope had been elected.
According to the Italian newspapers Pope Benedict XVI indeed reached or even exceeded the required 77 votes during the third ballot, but he asked for a vote of confirmation in the afternoon. If he had, it would have been consistent with the actions of John Paul I, who is said to have made the same request. However, according to some interpretations this would not be in conformity with the laws governing the conclave. The cardinals left for lunch before returning for the afternoon session of balloting. Tens of thousands of people, waiting in St Peter's Square for the result, were quiet at the result and the reaction was very different from the first day.

At 15:50 UTC, white smoke rose above the Sistine Chapel followed by the pealing of bells ten minutes later. Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) had been elected after four ballots. Indications given by the Italian press suggest that he obtained between 95 and 107 votes for this fourth and last ballot. Things were not glitch free as the voting slips and notes were lit after that ballot. "All of a sudden, the whole Sistine Chapel was filled with smoke," Adrianus Johannes Simonis was quoted as saying by La Stampa and La Repubblica. "Fortunately, there were no art historians present," joked Christoph Schönborn, in a reference to the priceless paintings and other treasures in the building.

The Apostolic Constitution promulgated by John Paul II, which governed the rules of the conclave, had mandated that the bells of St. Peter's were to ring following the election of a new pope. This was intended to avoid the confusion that ensued at the conclusion of the 1978 conclave when the color of the smoke was ambiguous following the successful election of Cardinal Wojtyła on the eighth ballot. However, the bells confirming the election of Benedict XVI began to ring only after a fourteen minute delay. Archbishop Renato Boccardo, the Vatican City Secretary-General, stated that there was a lack of coordination in the minutes following the election of the new pope. In the confusion, the Vatican official inside the conclave responsible for activating the bells failed to transfer the keys to the ringing mechanism to the appropriate person at St. Peter's Basilica in a timely fashion.

Vote counts from a "leaked" diary
On 23 September, 2005 a text purporting to be the unauthorized diary of a cardinal was published by the Italian magazine Limes. The diary gave the impression that Ratzinger more or less scraped in, and that his chief rival in the election was not Martini, but rather Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. The story was covered by several agencies.
In reality the document little resembles a real diary and its credibility runs into other problems, not the least of which is that any notes taken in the voting sessions had to be handed over and burned after each ballot.

Furthermore, the diary's detailing of Bergoglio's support was nothing new; prominent Catholic journalist John Allen discovered and reported on Bergoglio's candidacy -- several months before the release in the alleged diary -- in his book The Rise of Benedict XVI. Also, in the same book, Allen explained that, according to his interviews, Ratzinger's electoral victory was met with a large margin that had steadily gained momentum.
Many believe that the alleged diary was merely a re-hashing of already-known information, then sensationalistically trumpeted by the media as a breach in the Cardinals' oath of confidentiality.

Oklahoma City marks 15 years since bombing

Bill Clinton's speech following the Oklahoma City Bombing, 1995:

Remarks during "A Time of Healing" Prayer Service at the Oklahoma State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Thank you very much. Governor Keating and Mrs. Keating, Reverend Graham, to the families of those who have been lost and wounded, to the people of Oklahoma City, who have endured so much, and the people of this wonderful state, to all of you who are here as our fellow Americans.
I am honored to be here today to represent the American people. But I have to tell you that Hillary and I also come as parents, as husband and wife, as people who were your neighbors for some of the best years of our lives.
Today our nation joins with you in grief. We mourn with you. We share your hope against hope that some may still survive. We thank all those who have worked so heroically to save lives and to solve this crime -- those here in Oklahoma and those who are all across this great land, and many who left their own lives to come here to work hand in hand with you.
We pledge to do all we can to help you heal the injured, to rebuild this city, and to bring to justice those who did this evil.
This terrible sin took the lives of our American family, innocent children in that building, only because their parents were trying to be good parents as well as good workers; citizens in the building going about their daily business; and many there who served the rest of us -- who worked to help the elderly and the disabled, who worked to support our farmers and our veterans, who worked to enforce our laws and to protect us. Let us say clearly, they served us well, and we are grateful.
But for so many of you they were also neighbors and friends. You saw them at church or the PTA meetings, at the civic clubs, at the ball park. You know them in ways that all the rest of America could not.
And to all the members of the families here present who have suffered loss, though we share your grief, your pain is unimaginable, and we know that. We cannot undo it. That is God's work.
Our words seem small beside the loss you have endured. But I found a few I wanted to share today. I've received a lot of letters in these last terrible days. One stood out because it came from a young widow and a mother of three whose own husband was murdered with over 200 other Americans when Pan Am 103 was shot down. Here is what that woman said I should say to you today:
The anger you feel is valid, but you must not allow yourselves to be consumed by it. The hurt you feel must not be allowed to turn into hate, but instead into the search for justice. The loss you feel must not paralyze your own lives. Instead, you must try to pay tribute to your loved ones by continuing to do all the things they left undone, thus ensuring they did not die in vain.
Wise words from one who also knows.
You have lost too much, but you have not lost everything. And you have certainly not lost America, for we will stand with you for as many tomorrows as it takes.
If ever we needed evidence of that, I could only recall the words of Governor and Mrs. Keating. If anybody thinks that Americans are mostly mean and selfish, they ought to come to Oklahoma. If anybody thinks Americans have lost the capacity for love and caring and courage, they ought to come to Oklahoma.
To all my fellow Americans beyond this hall, I say, one thing we owe those who have sacrificed is the duty to purge ourselves of the dark forces which gave rise to this evil. They are forces that threaten our common peace, our freedom, our way of life.
Let us teach our children that the God of comfort is also the God of righteousness. Those who trouble their own house will inherit the wind. Justice will prevail.
Let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear. When there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it. In the face of death, let us honor life. As St. Paul admonished us, let us not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Yesterday Hillary and I had the privilege of speaking with some children of other federal employees --children like those who were lost here. And one little girl said something we will never forget. She said, we should all plant a tree in memory of the children. So this morning before we got on the plane to come here, at the White House, we planted tree in honor of the children of Oklahoma.
It was a dogwood with its wonderful spring flower and its deep, enduring roots. It embodies the lesson of the Psalms -- that the life of a good person is like a tree whose leaf does not wither.
My fellow Americans, a tree takes a long time to grow, and wounds take a long time to heal. But we must begin. Those who are lost now belong to God. Some day we will be with them. But until that happens, their legacy must be our lives.
Thank you all, and God bless you.
Retrieved from "

Oklahoma City marks 15 years since bombing
OKLAHOMA CITY -U.S. Homeland Security
Secretary Janet Napolitano told survivors
and victims’ relatives gathered Monday
for a somber ceremony to mark the
15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City
bombing that the city’s spirit in the wake of
the tragedy served as an example to the nation.
Napolitano also warned of the need for
continued vigilance against terrorists when
she spoke during the 90-minute memorial
to the 168 lives lost in the destruction of the
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April
19, 1995. More than 600 others were injured
in the blast, which at the time was the
deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Across Oklahoma City, people observed
168 seconds of silence to honor the dead.
Some dabbed away tears as the ceremony
closed with family members reading a roll
call of those who died.
“What defines us as a nation, as a people
and as communities is not what we have
suffered, but how we have risen above it,
how we’ve overcome,” Napolitano said.
“We can resolve that the Oklahoma Standard
becomes the national standard,” she
said of the willingness of Oklahomans to
help those in need without compensation.
The ceremony followed a time-honored
script. Shortly before 9:02 a.m. — when the
bombing occurred — bells tolled in downtown
Oklahoma City. Some family members
visited the site of the federal building
razed in the attack and left ribbons,
wreaths and other objects on chairs that
stand on the site to honor the dead.
Vickie Lykins and her sister, Angela
Richerson, placed a rose, an American flag
and a purple ribbon on the chair honoring
their mother, Norma “Jean” Johnson, who
had been a Defense Security Service worker.
“This is our mother’s favorite color,”
Lykins said as she secured the ribbon.
“Time heals nothing,” said Debi Burkett
Moore, who placed a floral display on the
seat and back of the chair honoring her
brother, David Burkett, a U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development. She
said the ceremony “makes it a little more
bearable, but it heals nothing.”
Kathryn Burkett, David Burkett’s mother,
said she is saddened more by her son’s
death with each passing year.
“Why it is sadder, I don’t know why,”
Burkett said. “You just live with it.”
After the ceremony, family members and
survivors gathered again at the building’s
footprint. Nearby an American Elm, known
as the “Survivor Tree” because it survived
the blast, bloomed a brilliant shade of
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said
the city remembered the day of the bombing
with reverence, “not because we can’t
forget but because we choose to remember.
“We have chosen strength, we have chosen
optimism, we have chosen freedom, we
have chosen to move forward together with
a level of unity that is unmatched in any
American city,” Cornett said at the ceremony,
held on a cool, overcast morning.
Gov. Brad Henry said legislation he
signed earlier this month would ensure that
students learn about the bombing and its
aftermath in history classes.
“We have a duty to assure that future
generations remember those lost and injured
here, that they understand the
lessons of this vital part of our shared history,”
he said.
Charlie Hangar — the Oklahoma Highway
Patrol trooper who stopped bomber
Timothy McVeigh on Interstate 35 the day
of the blast because his 1977 Mercury Marquis
did not have a license plate — read the
memorial’s mission statement at the start
of the service. Hangar is now the Noble
County sheriff.
Napolitano said the bombing anniversary
was a reminder of “the continued need
for vigilance against the violent ideologies
that led to this attack, so that we can recognize
their signs in our communities and
stand together to defeat them.”
“We cannot put a glass dome over our
country. We cannot guarantee there will
not be another attack. No one can,” Napolitano
said. “But we are a strong and resilient
country. And we can resolve that even a
successful attack will not defeat our way of
In a documentary, “The McVeigh Tapes:
Confessions of an American Terrorist,” to
be aired Monday on MSNBC, recordings of
interviews with the convicted bomber indicate
he had no remorse for those whose
lives he had destroyed.
“Throughout the history of mankind,
people have killed for what they believed
was the greater good and ... and it’s accepted.
Sometimes killing is accepted,”
McVeigh told journalists Lou Michel and
Dan Herbeck in comments posted on the
MSNBC Web site.
Prosecutors had said McVeigh’s plot was
an attempt to avenge the deaths of about 80
people in the government siege at the
Branch Davidian compound in Waco,
Texas, exactly two years earlier.
McVeigh was convicted on federal murder
charges and executed in 2001.
McVeigh’s Army buddy, Terry Nichols, was
convicted on federal and state bombing-related
charges and is serving multiple life
sentences at a federal prison in Colorado.

Learning the Lessons of the Oklahoma City
Bombing 15 Years Later
Andrew Cohen
Fifteen years after the Oklahoma City
bombing that claimed 168 lives, the
memory seemed so distant even in the
state where it happened that Oklahoma
officials earlier this month passed a law
requiring the state’s board of education to
develop and teach courses about the
death and destruction that occurred at the
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at
precisely 9:02 a.m. on Wednesday, April
19, 1995.
Discussing the new measure at the
Oklahoma City National Memorial, Gov.
Brad Henry found it difficult to explain why
the state had to mandate the teaching of
a topic of such obvious local and national
“Although the events of April 19, 1995,
are indelibly etched in the minds of so
many Oklahomans, most of today’s
school children were not even born when
that day dramatically changed our
history,” Henry said. “It is essential for
them and the generations of students that
follow to learn the significance of this
horrific event..”
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The new law — House Bill 2750 — says
as much about the bombing’s
disappearance from our national narrative
as it does about the impoverished state of
public education in the Sooner state. Not
only has the emotion and attention
surrounding bomber Timothy McVeigh’s
cowardly assault on “the government”
receded with time, as all historic events
naturally do, it’s been overshadowed by
the much larger and much more complex
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. McVeigh was
once on the cover of Time magazine as
the face of terror. Now and forever more
to hundreds of millions of Americans that
face belongs to Osama bin Laden and his
fellow travelers.
At the time, however, the Oklahoma City
bombing was the largest and deadliest
crime in American history. Former
soldiers McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and
maybe (or maybe not) others unknown,
murdered 168 men, women and children
and wounded hundreds more. The
colossal flash of homemade explosives
ended that generation’s burgeoning antigovernment
movement — a movement
reflected in such incidents as the standoff
in remote Ruby Ridge, Idaho, with a
separatist family and the FBI’s siege of
the Branch Davidian compound in Waco,
Texas. To this day, the explosion that
ripped the heart out of a “heartland” city
remains the worst domestic crime ever
committed by Americans and is otherwise
surpassed in scope only by 9/11.
About 17 times as many people were
murdered on 9/11 as were murdered on
April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City. There
were more people (255) who died on 9/11
whose last names began with the letter
“S” than who died at the Murrah Building.
But, as I wrote about on the first
anniversary of 9/11, it isn’t just the orders
of magnitude involved between the two
dreadful days that explains why the latter
has superseded the former for most
Americans. It isn’t just that one was
broadcast live on national television while
the other one came to us in the 24/7 news
world of the Internet age. It isn’t just that
one occurred at the cores of power and
population while the other occurred in that
vast expanse of country between both
Compared with the rippling (and in many
ways crippling) effects wrought by 9/11,
the Oklahoma City bombing was a tidy
affair from start to finish. It was the sort of
storyline with which most Americans are
familiar. There’s the evil plot, the warped
reality of the planners, the attack upon
innocents, the heroic work by rescue
workers and law enforcement officials, the
lucky break and, ultimately, justice.
Although many of the same elements
exist, there has been no such straight
narrative in the wake of the terror attacks
on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
It’s still clearly an “ongoing event,” as
intelligence officials like to say, both in
terms of future terror attacks and the fate
of the terrorists we have in hand.
The legal and political and financial twists
and turns stemming from the 9/11 attacks
continue nearly a decade later. Debates
even persisted on what should be built at
Ground Zero. But less than three years
after McVeigh lit the fuse and walked
away from his rented Ryder truck, both he
and Nichols had been captured, charged,
tried and convicted. McVeigh’s life story
lasted just a few years more. On June 11,
2001, exactly three months before the
Twin Towers fell to dust, McVeigh was
executed on a hot, muggy morning in
Terre Haute, Indiana. Nichols, meanwhile,
has spent the past 12 years since his
conviction mostly in silence and solitary
confinement at the “Supermax” federal
penitentiary near Florence, Colorado.
Their awful story had a startling
beginning, an instructive middle, and a
comfortable end — just like all those
made-for-television movies.
No such script yet exists for the 9/11
crime. The hijackers all died instantly —
they never received their due justice in
this realm. Nearly nine years after the
attacks, Bin Laden is still free. Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed, who already has
confessed to the crime, remains un-tried,
un-convicted and un-sentenced. So does
Ramzi Binalshibh, another key 9/11
plotter. The only person convicted of a
serious 9/11-related crime was the
buffoon Zacarias Moussaoui (who
pleaded guilty and tried to convince his
jury to have him executed). The 9/11
story sure had its gut-busting, heartbreaking
beginning but a decade later
there is no end in sight. We’re just stuck
in the middle, fighting still over tribunal
They probably don’t teach irony in
Oklahoma’s public schools. But the great
irony of the timing of Oklahoma’s new
education initiative is that while the import
of April 19, 1995, has faded for many, the
stark political and economic and racial
and cultural dynamics that fueled its
tragedy are ascendant again. Indeed, the
enduring strain of American anger toward
government, which led McVeigh to his
deadly act of violence, April 19, 1995,
persists. We saw it in last summer’s
rhetoric over health care, in the language
used to describe the president of the
United States, and in the signs painted for
and proudly produced at “Tea Party”
We see it all over cable news and hear it
on the radio. Go back to the language
and tone of 1993 and 1994 and listen to
the echoes we hear today. It’s very real.
And it’s really scary. Which means that,
despite the new legislation, there are only
two vital questions that Oklahoma’s
teachers must help answer for their
students in the years to come: What
lessons did America truly learn from the
tragedy that befell it on April 19, 1995?
And what lessons has it forgotten or
merely chosen to ignore?

The Oklahoma City bombing was a bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Timothy McVeigh detonated an explosive-filled truck that he had parked in front of the Federal Building. McVeigh's co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, had assisted in the bomb preparation. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the most destructive act of domestic terrorism in American history.

The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6, and more than 680 people were injured. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered building glass in a three mile square area. The bomb was estimated to have caused at least $652 million worth of property damage.

Extensive rescue efforts were undertaken by local, state, federal, and worldwide agencies in the wake of the bombing, and substantial donations were received from across the country. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activated eleven of its Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces, consisting of 665 rescue workers who assisted in rescue and recovery operations.

Motivated by his hatred of the federal government and angered by what he perceived as its mishandling of the Waco Siege (1993) and the Ruby Ridge incident (1992), McVeigh timed his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deaths at Waco. Within 90 minutes of the explosion, McVeigh was stopped by Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger for driving without a license plate and was arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon.

Forensic evidence quickly linked McVeigh and Nichols to the attack; Nichols was arrested, and within days both were charged. Michael and Lori Fortier were later identified as accomplices. The official investigation, known as "OKBOMB", was the largest criminal investigation case in American history; FBI agents conducted 28,000 interviews, amassing 3.5 short tons (3.2 t) of evidence, and collected nearly one billion pieces of information.

The bombers were tried and convicted in 1997. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. Michael and Lori Fortier testified against McVeigh and Nichols; Michael was sentenced to twelve years in prison for failing to warn the U.S. government, and Lori received immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony. As with other large-scale terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories dispute the official claims and allege the involvement of additional perpetrators.

As a result of the bombing, the U.S. government passed legislation designed to increase the protection around federal buildings to deter future terrorist attacks. From 1995 to 2005, over 60 domestic terrorism plots were foiled due to preventive measures taken in response to the bombing. On April 19, 2000, the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated on the site of the Murrah Federal Building, commemorating the victims of the bombing. Annual remembrance services are held at the same time of day as the original explosion occurred.

President Bill Clinton in 1995:

At 9:45 a.m. CST, Governor Frank Keating declared a state of emergency and ordered all non-essential workers in the Oklahoma City area to be released from their duties for their safety. President Bill Clinton learned about the bombing around 9:30 a.m. CST while he was meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Çiller at the White House.

Prior to addressing the nation, President Clinton wanted to ground all planes in the Oklahoma City area to prevent the bombers from escaping by air, but decided against it.

At 4:00 p.m. CST, President Clinton declared a federal emergency in Oklahoma City and spoke to the nation:
The bombing in Oklahoma City was an attack on innocent children and defenseless citizens. It was an act of cowardice and it was evil. The United States will not tolerate it, and I will not allow the people of this country to be intimidated by evil cowards.
He ordered that flags for all federal buildings be flown at half-staff for 30 days in remembrance of the victims. Four days later, on April 23, 1995, Clinton spoke from Oklahoma City.

No major federal financial assistance was made available to the survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing, but the Murrah Fund set up in the wake of the bombing succeeded in attracting over $300,000 in federal grants. Over $40 million was donated to the city to aid disaster relief and to compensate the victims. Funds were initially distributed to families who needed it to get back on their feet, and the rest was held in trust for longer-term medical and psychological needs. As of 2005, $18 million of the donations remained, some of which was earmarked to provide a college education for each of the 219 children who lost one or both parents in the bombing. A committee chaired by Daniel Kurtenbach of Goodwill Industries provided financial assistance to the survivors.