TODAY IS MEMORIAL DAY - the first since the terrorist attacks on September
11 and the start of the war in Afghanistan. Today is a day of
remembrance heightened by continuing violence in the Middle
East and warnings of inevitable further attacks on our citizens.
A day that is always bittersweet is, for many this year, more
bitter than sweet.
Memorial Day is observed now on the last Monday of May rather
than on May 30, as it was in my childhood, giving a lot of us
a three-day weekend at the height of spring. Many retail stores
are open today, traditionally a day of giant sales. The employees
of those businesses must share attention to their jobs with
their thoughts of those lost in battle.
In the life I was living before September 11, I might have
imagined myself above shopping for bargains on a holiday dedicated
to fallen soldiers and innocents. And after a short memorial
service, I would be focused primarily on having a great time
at a barbecue or picnic.
At the Save Our Sunol annual picnic today, I will read a thoughtful
poem by my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, about the cycle of life
and death, love and loss. We will honor the fallen, place flowers
at the base of the Memorial Tree, and sing together of our sorrow
and our hopes for peace.
Then we will enjoy a wonderful day of picnic foods, catching
up with friends and neighbors, meeting some new folks, flying
kites, and treasuring the simple pleasures of watching our children
and our canine pals romping on the Sunol Glen grounds.
Yet, so much is different that I know today will feel like
no other Memorial Day in my personal history. I am choosing
my poem with the world situation alive in my mind. The fallen
will encompass those lost on September 11 and in the conflicts
since, and I know the heartbreaking, shocking images seen again
and again in the media will flood our minds. Our flowers will
be placed more reverently and our song will be punctuated by
fought-back - and not so successfully fought-back - tears.
These are fitting feelings in such times. But so are the other
feelings available to us today. We are a strong people because
of our communities, our connections with each other and our
shared activities. In the natural beauty of Sunol, with our
kids and pups cavorting nearby, we will eat and talk together,
sway to Debra Knox's music and sometimes sing along to favorite
tunes. We need our joy and hope to make peace possible, and
as I remember those whose lives were so tragically cut short,
I will also remember how grateful I am to live here with all
GOLFING FOR OUR HEROES: How appropriate today to tell you about
Sunol Valley Golf Club's 5th Annual Frank O. Ivaldi Memorial
Golf Tournament on June 3. The day will be filled with so much
more than a great round on the course, including Raider legends
such as attention to their jobs, performances by the Raiderettes,
good food and drink including lunch provided by the Outback
Steakhouse and dinner prepared by Sunol Valley's esteemed chef,
Sedgie Davis. And best of all, the proceeds benefit humanitarian
Frank Ivaldi's two favorite charities.
The C. Koffman One Hundred Club supports families who have
lost a loved one in the line of duty as a member of the Alameda
County Police or Fire Departments. The California Highway Patrol
11-99 Foundation offers similar services to families of fallen
CHP personnel. In other words, this tournament supports the
families of our local emergency services providers, the brave
men and women we all count on in everyday emergencies and catastrophic
The all-inclusive fee per person for golf, prizes, lunch, dinner,
beverages and snacks on the course, silent and live auctions
and more is $150. Those who aren't able to make the tournament
are welcome to attend the dinner at $50 per person. You can
register on line at www.sunolvalley.com, or call Lisa Granzella
at (925) 862-2404 ext. 309 to register, advertise or volunteer
to help with this worthwhile event.