"Arsenic and Old Lace" is a play by American playwright Joseph Kesselring. It was performed this past weekend by Nashoba Drama. The play is a comedy, and certainly has its funny moments, but it was written in 1939 and certainly has that sense about it as you watch. Nick Sestito certainly stole the show as the eccentric Teddy Brewster, who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt. Mike Sestito (as Jonathan Brewster) and Jackie Murtha (as Abby Brewster) performed fabulously as always. Image: Mike Sestito and Taylor Leaming perform as Jonathan Brewster and Elaine Harper.
In a wonderful and moving tribute, the students at Center School in Stow make stars in honor of local service men and women and hang them on the windows.
Veterans Day is quite special to me. Pretty much every day I take a moment to celebrate that the freedoms we enjoy–of speech, assembly, voting–are made possible and protected by brave men and women who fight and have fought for us. They make incredible sacrifices, from disrupting their family lives to giving up their lives. They have done so for centuries, and continue to do so today.
I shudder to know, but readily admit I am not surprised, that there are those among us who consider serving in the military to be "about politics". At Milton High School in Massachusetts, the principal is arguing that if military recruiters are allowed to come to a career fair, the school must also have present anti-military protesters in order to give "equal time". Does the school require anti-[fill in your career here] protesters for other careers? Of course not. When the military comes to a career fair, this is just like any other career. But Milton High is going to demand that an organization called "Milton for Peace" should be there to provide alternative views. Does "Milton for Peace" stand for a certain career path? No. So why should they be allowed at a career fair? This is not too difficult an issue folks. It's quite silly that administrators are making these decisions because they feel a sense of duty to protect our kids from politics, yet are actually making it all about politics! A career in the military is certainly not about politics, it's about serving and protecting your country. Is "Milton for Peace" about politics? Just go check out their website where they say nothing about career paths, but rather post position statements of opinion concerning our current wars. School Committee member Mary Kelly made a wonderful argument saying basically this point. To which Principal John Drottar made the nonsensical statement, "the other side is to go back and ban both" and then continued to make further completely nonsensical statements. Others went on to say that graduating high school students are "impressionable" so they have to provide "alternative views" and "equal time", presumably to stop these stupid students from making an obviously wrong decision.
Even more shameful is Steve Almond who wrote an op-ed piece in The Boston Globe mid September where he bashed the military and its supporters. Now I can see where he's coming from. But he's simply misguided and I feel badly for him. He feels it's "tragic" that we, as a progressive society I assume, need to even have an army. That we pay soldiers to, first and foremost, kill people. We look to "heroic violence as a means of spiritual regeneration." And his next sentence is most hurtful of all: "Our most powerful nation myth is the notion that anyone fighting on our behalf is a hero."
I will tell you why I think these are stupid and dangerous words and fundamentally flawed. First and foremost, he has the freedom to write these words because others fought to obtain and protect those freedoms. Yet he conveniently overlooks that glaring fact. Is it "sad" that we had to defeat Hitler and Japanese Imperialism? Or were those great victories for democracy and freedom? It is a reality that people live and die. We live in an earthly realm. Conflict goes back to the Book of Genesis and wars are at the heart of The Old Testament. There is definitely a place where there is no war and no armies. Most call it heaven, but others call this place "Universe" or "The Enlightened Place" or "Collective Human Consciousness". It is vast and it is very real. I can attest to this, as I have been there. But this place, by whatever words we choose to call it, transcends our Earth-bound existence. As humans we are inexorably bound to our genetics which lead us into conflict. Conflict helps us to progress and provides context for our existence. There will always be those out there who will want to harm us. We cannot all live on Earth and be in The Enlightened Place. I don't expect that of humanity and neither should you.
So, I say to each and every veteran I meet: "Thank you for your service!" And I say it with as much pride as anything else I have or will ever say.
The Nashoba Chieftains aren't exactly having a stellar year (they are 4-5 overall and 2-2 in Central Mass Division 1), but they did put on an offensive show for what was my first photo shoot of the team this year. They demolished St. Peter Marian of Worcester by a score of 50-16. Some of you may remember last year's near fight that broke out as rowdy parents got a little testy, forcing Stow's police chief to take charge who was there watching his son. This year there were no such theatrics. From a photographer's perspective these aren't the best games to shoot as there are so few passes. Nashoba made a total of 7 passes all game. Today was the Travis Patterson show as he rushed for 176 yards and four touchdowns, even though he didn't start his show until almost the end of the first half. Top image: Offensive lineman Dan Trefry (#56) of Stow keeps defenders from getting inside for the point after. Bottom image: Nashoba's Travis Patterson (#32) rushes in for another score as Stow's Matt Murray (#44) ensures his side of the defense is cleared.