THE SHINE JOURNAL

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A  SOLDIER'S DAUGHTER

by

Teresita Alicea

 

These are the thoughts of a soldier's daughter on a very frigid morning.
 
It is a frigid morning. We are comfortably beyond the winter solstice and each day brings perhaps more hope for warmer days. The world continues its wars, failures of diplomacy, soldiers die and children bleed. The earth is a suspended eggshell and we as a species wait for the next crack.
 
To where will our soldiers rush next? What new lesson in geography will we as Americans learn?
 
Unlike  Samuel Beckett, that great Irish and cosmic playwright, I do not believe we eternally wait for Godot. Instead I believe, as a great mass of humanity, we eternally hope for Godot. Hope is what distinguishes our carbon-based forms from others in the universe. Whoever said hope is a muscle is entirely right.
 
My personal antidotes to the bleakness and sadness of the world have always been the arts, all manner of them. I am listening now to my favorite Narada artist, Bernardo Rubaja. The name of the tune is "Americana" which is most appropriate as I think about our men and women in the armed forces who are deployed in wars around the world.
 
I am always reading and re-reading Jane Austen. She brings to life a 19th century world, in many ways as flawed as ours, but the pockets of family life in country houses which only she can describe so well somehow salve my restless spirit. I am prone to the "fat sighs" while reading her which she describes so well in her novel Persuasion.
 
It is so curious to me if not downright bizarre that a species which can power a spacecraft such as the Cassini-Huygens a billion miles away ( yes, this is right) and aim it, faultlessly   between two of the rings of Saturn and land the Huygens probe on its moon, Titan, can also seek to destroy itself through continuous wars and pestilence.
 
No one had ever seen the surface of Titan. One of the most mysterious objects in space , its atmosphere is covered with a gelatinous soup of chemicals and gases. Although Titan is one of Saturn's plethora of moons, it is said by some scientists to be remarkably like the earth and its study could serve to enlighten us as to the origins of carbon-based life forms on earth.
 
Alas, why not enjoy the bounty and knowledge of our fascinating explorations? Why discover new worlds and yet seek to destroy this one? It is the human conundrum. Is it arrogance? Is it just pure evil? Why did the same hand which created valves in the baroque trumpet to release its clarion sound, also seek to create wars? Why does the same hand who painted the Sistine Chapel also seek to destroy the earth?
 
I am a soldier's daughter and as a child my family was deployed to Germany. It was a decade or so after World War II. I was nine or ten. I still remember to this day when my father was put "on alert". There was a flurry in the household. My mother started packing. My father did not come home. I wasn't quite sure what it meant. I heard the names of strange places such as "Lebanon". It was very scary to a young child  and I cannot even imagine what children in Iraq and Pakistan are going through.
 
I am concerned about all the lives lost in Iraq. I will not narrow it down to race, gender or ethnicity. I celebrated  Christmas Eve in my neighbor's living room. There were people there born in China,  Iaq,  France,  Puerto Rico, Russia and the United States. We sang, danced and had a good time. Someone remarked how our nations sometimes did not get along very well and yet we were all having a good time.
 
These are the thoughts of a soldier's daughter on a very frigid morning.
 
And I am after all, a soldier's daughter. 
 

Teresita Alicea shares...

TERESITA ALICEA graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with an undergraduate degree in English and a degree in law and is a practicing attorney in Springfield,MA. She was the first Puerto Rican to be appointed to the Massachusetts Parole Board and the the first woman appointed to the License Commission of the City of Springfield. She has been appointed to many other commissions and has done community work for which she received the prestigious Betances Award given by the Puerto Rican Parade of New York.
 
A highly awarded community volunteer, she has also served on several public bank boards. A columnist for ELITE MAGAZINE for several years, she has been the President of the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts for several years
 
As  is true with most  works of non fiction, TERESITA'S  motivation for this piece seems very clear indeed.