Today would have been my father’s birthday. The last time I saw him was in 1993 when I was 12 years old. I remember waiting for him to come see me and I waited up the whole night looking out of my bedroom window. He never showed up. For years I struggled with feeling unloved, unwanted and abandoned. It affected my relationships, my job and daily life. It wasn’t until last year that I learned my father died in 2002, just a few months before my son was born. Just last month I talked to my father’s mother, my grandmother, for the first time in my life. She told me after he died, she found a picture in his wallet of a baby boy who looked like he did as a baby, but they never knew who it was. I was kept a secret from his family. I am not a secret anymore.  Today, I honor my father’s spirit and forgive him for abandoning me. I have made peace with him and have released all the pain. Here’s to you dad, on what would have been your birthday. Although you were not here for me while you were alive, I know that you are with me now in spirit.

White Outrage vs Black Outrage

White People would understand outrage when someone burns the American flag.

But White People would never understand black outrage when a white person gets away with murdering our sons and daughters.

White People would understand outrage when someones rioting over their favorite sports team that lost the playoffs.

But White People would never understand Black outrage when rioting over police brutality against Blacks.

White People would understand outrage when two NYPD officers get ambushed and shot to death.

But White People will NEVER understand the anger…

the frustration…

the rage…

the fury…

Of Black People when Mike Brown memorial gets sabotaged not once…

Not twice…

THREE FUCKING TIMES!

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Maybe you’ve seen them: white bicycles chained to signposts and fences, perhaps even in your neighborhood. They’re known as ghost bikes, and serve as somber memorials of tragedy. Each one symbolizes a life lost while on a bicycle. 

The memorials are built with one simple goal: to remind everyone to slow down, be safe and treat others with respect.

Learn more about ghost bikes here.

In honor of Nick Vito Santangelo, a good photographer and even better friend, 1962-2014.  Almost a decade ago - in 2005 - my buddy Nick, known to the photo community as NickSan, photographed this graffiti in the Women’s Ward Pavilions at Seaview Sanatorium (now Sea View Hospital) on Staten Island.  Normally, graffiti in an abandoned building annoys me, but there was something that drew me to this - and to his other photos of the 4 pavilions, all seemingly completely undisturbed for 4+ decades, besides this bit of paint and a few footprint trails.  I made a trip the very next week, in early winter, walking right behind an ambulance staffed by paramedics on their lunch break, jumped the fence, and spent all day inside.  Here’s to you, Nick - you were an inspiration to us all.

Why not take a few minutes to browse through over 1,000 photographs in NickSan’s Photobucket?

Print available here.

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The Memorial Challenge

I challenge you my loyal followers and friends, as well as each patriot, and fitness enthusiast to join me by doing pushup for every fallen US service member in the OIF/OEF conflict over the course of this next 365 days(April 23, 2016). That is 6,661 pushups to honor the fallen.

I will be taking things a step farther doing 1 pushup for every fallen US service member to have ever fallen over the course of this next 365 days(April 23, 2016). 1,171,177 pushups because I owe each of them a debt of gratitude and brotherhood.

I will be making weekly updates to any and all interested under the tag “veteranblr memorial”

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The Ft. Hood, Tx “Boots on the Ground” memorial sums up the Memorial Challenge nicely. With 1 boot for each casualty in OIF/ OEF this powerful visual shows you just how significant a number our 6,661 fallen really is.

19 pushups a day (for 365 days) to honor those who have given their lives protecting our freedoms seems like the least we can do.

JERUSALEM : Israelis stop walking and stand in silence in the center of
Jerusalem on April 16, 2015, as sirens wailed across Israel for two
minutes marking Holocaust memorial day and 70 years since the liberation
of the Nazi death camps. Commemorations began at sunset yesterday and
were to continue today with Israeli leaders attending official
ceremonies at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, parliament and
elsewhere.   AFP PHOTO /MENAHEM KAHANA