Let’s take a moment today, to reflect on the following numbers:
American Soldiers Killed In War
American Civil War 1861-1865: 755,000 lives lost
World War II 1941-1945: 405,399 lives lost
World War I 1917-1918: 116, 516 lives lost
Vietnam War 1961-1975: 58,209 lives lost
Korean War 1950-1953: 36, 574 lives lost
American Revolutionary War 1775-1783: 25,000 lives lost
War of 1812 1812-1815: 15,000 lives lost
Mexican American War 1846-1848: 13, 283 lives lost
Iraq War 2003-2011: 4, 576 lives lost
Phillipine American War 1899-1902: 4, 196 lives lost
Spanish American War 1898: 2, 246 lives lost
War in Afghanistan 2001- Present: 2, 216 lives lost
The Gulf War 1990-1991: 294 lives lost
Together, let us pray for the 1, 438, 509 men and women who died serving and protecting our country.
Today, Memorial Day – they live on in our hearts and their service is not forgotten,
“All Powerful God, We honor today those men and women— Our sons and daughters, Husbands and wives, Fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers— Who have laid down their life for their country. Whether weary or emboldened, quiet or defiant, Vulnerable or ready when You called them home, Their sacrifice is too humbling for words except these uttered in prayer. Loving Lord, bless them forever in Your eternal peace… Cherish their spirit, honor their commitment, send them our love, and will never forget the service that they gave.”
I knew this video was coming; when it arrived in my inbox on Friday afternoon, I was ready for it. I had some tissues next to me and Abby curled up against my side. As soon as those baby faces flashed across the screen, I had tears on my cheeks. No, I was not watching old family movies- I was watching a video, designed by Nicole Borrero class of 2020 and the Saint Dominic Academy Yearbook Staff. It showcased our beloved seniors from 9th grade until now. Their 9th grade year was my first as Head of School and I can look back and reflect how much growing and maturing has taken place, both on their part and my own.
Four years ago, I was sending a child off to kindergarten, and their mothers and fathers were sending these graduating seniors off to their first day of high school. Four years ago, I was nervous and unsure as I sat behind my desk with that title of Head of School on my door. Four years ago, they were perhaps just as nervous as they sat in ELAN with Link Crew members, getting ready for the start of their freshmen year. We made it through- they and I and after four years have grown, become more confident, and have had many life changing experiences- some that made us cry and some that made us stronger.
I’ve said it often over the past almost 70 days- these young ladies in the class of 2020 are the strongest young women I have known and these obstacles that were hurled into their paths this past March would have made many people just break down and weep. I know I’ve done just that, late at night, on more than one occasion from March until now. Perhaps many of them have as well- but you’d never know it from their dedication to their classes, their spirited Instagram posts, their energetic emails to teachers and administrators, and most of all their continued love for each other and for the sisterhood of Saint Dominic Academy.
As I heard the end of the slide show, one thought hit me so hard I was almost knocked off my stool. As photos of Disney came on the screen, I realized- these are the last photos of the class that will appear in the show- at least photos of them together in large groups. And if I had not already been crying, that would have done it. What I have to believe, and what the class of 2020 has to believe- with all of our hearts is that those won’t be the last…not really. We will find a way to gather again- although we’re unsure when it will be. In the meantime, the memories captured here in this video will, I hope, make you smile, make you laugh, and I’m sure make you cry. And if the group photos contained within it end in the most magical place on earth, then that’s not a bad place to hit “pause” until we are all together again.
My love and congratulations to the class of 2020 on finishing all of your classes at Saint Dominic Academy…consider this blog a virtual hug from me to you.
Over the past two months, if you haven’t looked at, posted, recieved a text featuring, or laughed over a coronavirs themed meme, then I’m going to assume you either have no internet access or you are a more focused person than I am. They’ve been making the rounds pretty much since the stay at home orders began and there’s no sign of them stopping anytime soon.
Have you seen the one that jokes about the summer and shows Godzilla walking across the ocean?
How about the one, that came out early on, saying we’re three weeks away from knowing everyone’s real hair color? ( I personally have passed that point..I am in need of some dye, ASAP).
How about the ones showing Tom Hanks from Cast Away and giving us a countdown to when a volleyball will become our new best friend?
Or the ones with the home layouts, renaming every room so it seems as if you’re going somewhere other than your house?
Then there’s the memes that joke about cruise prices going down, about people going to Zoom meetings from their beds, about dogs loving their humans being home and cats hating it.
For Disney fans, there’s the one that changes the lyrics to the Gaston song, and just try to read it without singing it in your head! Or Elsa has the school nurse, freezing kids coming near her because they might be carrying the virus. Or the Monsters Inc spoof…instead of a 2319, we have a COVID- 19.
The fake diary entries detailing how people are eating their stockpiled snacks, the ones that tease about the panic over toilet paper and hand sanitizer… the ones where women list the things that are driving them crazy about their husbands….chewing, snoring, basically existing.
And then of course there are the myriad of “Home Schooling” ones. You know, the things such as “ don’t worry if my kids are in the same pjs every day, my home school has a uniform.” ” Don’t worry if you see me talking to myself, I’m having a parent teacher conference.” ” If you see my kids locked outside, don’t panic, we’re having a fire drill.” “Alexa…homeschool my children.” ” How do I get my child transferred out of my class?” The list is endless…there’s a new one every single day.
My personal favorite was one that I sent to the SDA faculty and staff a week or so ago. I’ll share it…
I’ll admit it; I’ve texted the memes, I’ve laughed at the memes, I’ve posted the memes, I’ve shared the memes. Why? Because we all need to laugh a little bit and because some of them truly do capture the reality of this almost unreal situation. We need to smile, we need to find a reason to laugh, we need to not focus on the internal frustration, stress and anxiety that each one of us must be feeling on a daily basis.
However, there’s perhaps one more thing we need to do. There’s a time, every day when, at least in my house, I get very serious. It’s every day, when our Governor announces the death toll for NJ. 8, 952 people in New Jersey have died from COVID-19 since March. That’s a high number, a serious number, and a number that will hit 10,000 before this week ends.
And so, perhaps in the midst of our frustration, in the midst of our smiles, there should also be the following:
Moments of prayer– for our essential workers, for those suffering with the virus, and for the families of those who have lost someone.
Moments of silence– for the over 8,000 people in our state alone who have lost their lives and for the lives lost all across America and the world.
Moments of mourning– for all the things, big and small that have been taken from our daily lives- lunches with friends, hugs from grandparents, First Communions, Graduations, Weddings, and even the ability to go lay flowers on a family member’s grave as they are laid to rest.
The Bible tells us:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace…
At any given moment over the past two months, it has been each of those times for each of us at some point or another.
Let us all, remember, each and every day to pray…prayers of thanksgiving that we are still healthy and safe, prayers of sorrow for all those we have lost, and prayers of petition, that the days and months ahead get brighter for us all.
This past Friday our seniors were surprised with a beautiful “gift” from their alumnae sisters. The work that went into this, the words of encouragement, praise and positivity, and the thoughtfulness behind the 15 minute video truly exemplify the SISTERHOOD that is Saint Dominic Academy. Is this time of year ideal for our class of 2020? Of course not, but they have over 140 years of sisterhood holding them up, bracing them against this current crisis, and embracing them virtually, with love, with good wishes, and with prayers from heaven.
My thanks to Gigi Correa Diaz for putting together this gift for the seniors…I hope all of you enjoy it as much as the young ladies did.