Tagged: memorial

Descanso honors BREAKING BAD’s Walter White

Descanso honors “Breaking Bad” character Walter Whitecourtesy of Michelle Valdez-Browning

“Breaking Bad” fans continue to honor Walter White.

North Valley resident Michelle Valdez-Browning and her brother, Marc Valdez, and son Aaron Browning made a descanso near the Nazi compound where White passed away in the show. (A descanso is a roadside memorial that commemorates a site where a person died. They are seen along roads in New Mexico.)

Valdez-Browning says her brother was part of the locations crew who helped scout the various areas…“He put his heart and soul into finding the right places,” she says.

Once the show aired, the trio decided to pay tribute to White and put the descanso in front of the area…The location is near Second and Los Ranchos Road NW.

In case you want to be among the hundreds who continue to visit Albuquerque to pay their respects.

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Italy memorial to Fascist commander Graziani is an ethical stain

Graziani – commanding Italian forces in Libya

A political row has erupted in Italy after a memorial was opened to fascist commander Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, a convicted war criminal.

Graziani was honoured with a mausoleum and memorial park, built at taxpayers’ expense, in a village south of Rome.

He was notorious as Benito Mussolini’s military commander in colonial wars in Ethiopia and Libya where he carried out massacres and used chemical weapons…

“Is it possible to allow, accept or simply tolerate that, in 2012, we dedicate a park and a museum to the fascist general and minister Rodolfo Graziani?” asked Esterino Montino, head of the Democratic Party in the Lazio region.

He pointed to the “crimes against humanity committed by Graziani in Ethiopia in the 1930s”, La Repubblica newspaper reports.

Graziani was sentenced to 19 years’ imprisonment for war crimes in 1948 but was released from jail after serving only two years, and died in 1955.

The BBC’s David Willey, in Rome, says that the cult of fascist heroes remains alive in certain parts of Italy despite the outlawing of the fascist party in the country’s postwar constitution.

He adds that it is curious, however, that there has been no formal protest that a crypto-fascist mayor of a small town near the capital can, in 2012, publicly honour a man who brought death to thousands of Africans and dishonour to his own country.

The mayor of the village of Affile attended the opening ceremony on Saturday

He was accompanied by a representative from the Vatican. That’s no surprise either.

Martin Luther King Jr memorial dedicated this coming weekend

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

The morning sun that came up over Washington’s Tidal Basin on Monday illuminated a new memorial opening to the public for the first time: a plaza and statue honoring the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to dedicate the site on Sunday, but the media and visitors were allowed to take part in a “soft” preview as construction crews complete their final touches.

“I feel like I’m standing on holy ground,” said Donnie Simons, nearly overcome with emotion at the sight of the granite portrayal of King.

The D.C. resident told CNN, “What Dr. King means to me and this world, and the things that he stood for, for us to give him this kind of commemoration, for my kids and my grandkids, they’re going to be able to stand here and see this as well.”

Another visitor, who drove up from Atlanta for the preview, told CNN the memorial is “breathtaking,” in how the 30-foot tall sculpture faces the Tidal Basin, overlooking the water in front of the Jefferson Memorial.

“It’s an emotional response,” said Erica Nicole Griffin, “but it’s also a sense of ‘wow, this is finally happening.'”

The early visitors represented a variety of ethnic backgrounds. “I would have expected that,” said Wayne Cunningham of California, on a family vacation to the nation’s capital, “because I think he’s a symbol of not just the blacks but all cultures and all races.”

Groundbreaking took place in November 2006, and the dedication on Sunday is timed with the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington, where King delivered his historic speech, “I Have a Dream.”

I was there for the original speech. Working security for some of the speakers I was off to the side of things – keeping an eye out for racist idiots. But, I could hear every word as clearly as anyone out front. A few years later I got to open for Dr. King a couple of times in Chicago – the man never let a crowd off with an “easy” speech.

It was a tough day of travel by train – in a group mostly organized by Black ministers from my home town. And all worth it.

The best chuckles were in the organizing: leafletting the central Catholic church in my neighborhood, inviting folks to come along and participate, the priest came out on the steps and ordered parishioners leaving mass not to read or accept that “commie propaganda”. Only topped by the chief of police exiting the same mass and presuming I was handing out leaflets because I knew he was there. Which I didn’t. But, I especially would have had I known. :)

CNN looks to be carrying the dedication, Sunday. Please watch and remember an important part of American history.

FDR Four Freedoms Memorial rises in N.Y.C. East River

New York’s East River swirls around a roofless room, an unfinished shrine built of massive stones. It’s the first visible part of what will be a five-acre memorial to Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the southern tip of the island renamed for him.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park was one of the final designs of architect Louis I. Kahn, who died in 1974, a year after beginning work on the project. For years, politics and economics conspired to halt work. Now it is finally being built almost exactly as Kahn designed it.

At the time it was conceived, the Vietnam War was ending, an oil embargo was pushing up gasoline prices, and Kahn had just designed or built his greatest buildings, such the vaulted travertine galleries of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the eerily monumental capital complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh…

We hiked along the edge of the island, dodging equipment and a high pile of soil. Bulldozers will smooth that pile into a 24-foot-high sloping wedge. When it’s complete, visitors will ascend to the top on a wide stair and then gradually descend through a tree-lined garden that narrows toward the island tip.

The garden culminates in a small stone plaza with a single pylon holding a 1933 bust of Roosevelt by Jo Davidson, selected by Kahn. It stands sentinel at the entrance of the roofless square room that is the focus of the composition. The four foundational freedoms that Roosevelt spelled out in 1941 (of speech and worship, from fear and want) will be cut into the back of the pylon. A low parapet will direct the viewer’s gaze southward to the curving lower reaches of the river.

Kahn makes a contemplative space in the middle of the city’s noise and bustle, as he did with his Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, California, letting the river replace the infinite sea as the element opening the imagination…

Kahn’s design hasn’t dated, and I find myself wistful for Roosevelt, who forcefully steered the nation through the Great Depression and World War II. I hope visitors give both men their due.

I share James Russell’s hope albeit with little confidence. Obama and his advisors lack both the gumption and commitment to working people that led Roosevelt to betray his class.

And the leaders of the class that owns this nation, that manipulates teabaggers and stock markets with as much ease and facility as their Madison Avenue flunkies orchestrate elections and beer campaigns may lack the class hatred that characterized Republicans in the first half of the 20th Century – but, having learned to mask their power in Federalist zeal and Christian devotion to Walt Disney cartoons of government, their power is no less. Their opposition to Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms is closer to success than anytime in our country’s history.

Vienna prepares to honor Austrians who deserted Hitler’s army

Hitler’s “defense” force marching into Austria, 12 March 1938

The Austrian capital Vienna has announced plans to erect a memorial in honour of soldiers who deserted from Adolf Hitler’s army, the Wehrmacht.

The city council has yet to decide the exact location, but campaigners want it to be put in Heldenplatz (Heroes Square) alongside war memorials. The square is also where Hitler, born in Austria, addressed crowds in 1938 when Austria was annexed to Germany…

Two years ago Austria’s parliament agreed to rehabilitate soldiers criminalised by the Nazis for deserting from the Wehrmacht.

The decision to erect a memorial was endorsed by the socialist and green parties which form Vienna’s municipal government coalition. Vienna Green Party leader David Ellensohn said the monument could be modelled on other memorials to Wehrmacht deserters in some German cities…

“In large parts of the Austrian population deserters are still considered cowards, traitors, even comrade-killers. A monument – and especially the public debate around the erection of the monument – could somehow change that.”

Mr Geldmacher said an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Austrians deserted from the Wehrmacht, especially in the final days of World War II.

And someday – someday – the United States may even honor those who deserted from our war on VietNam.

Not yet. The chickenhawks who run for public office still reinforce the patriotic agitprop that sends young men and women off to invade lands judged threatening to the United States – regardless of history and truth.

In Poland, a memorial becomes a religious battleground – UPDATED

Young people “sick of living in a medieval society

Every day, a small group of protesters gathers across the street from Poland’s presidential palace. Some kneel, others weep before pictures of those who died last April when the plane carrying President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and 94 other Polish politicians and civil servants crashed in western Russia.

The demonstrators’ main focus is a simple, wooden cross of 4 meters that was erected outside the presidential palace soon after the crash in Smolensk. They say they have no intention of giving up their vigil or of taking down the cross until a monument to Mr. Kaczynski and the other victims of the Smolensk crash is placed in front of the presidential palace…Since then, there has been a standoff between the demonstrators who call themselves the Defenders of the Cross and the authorities…

The cross has become a religious, patriotic and political symbol that makes the demonstrators almost untouchable,” said Jacek Kucharczyk, director of the Institute of Public Affairs, an independent research organization in Warsaw. “This is a test of the church’s influence and those political parties who hide behind the cross…”

During the presidential campaign last June, priests urged worshipers to vote for Mr. Kaczynski, some even saying it would be a sin if worshipers voted for Bronislaw Komorowski, a supporter of the center-right Civic Platform government who was eventually elected president…

Over the past decade, the number of candidates for priesthood has declined 30 percent, according to the Conference of the Polish Episcopate. Admissions to the church’s 84 seminaries have plummeted 30 percent in the past three years. Admissions to female religious orders have halved, falling 15 percent last year alone. And even though nine-tenths of Poland’s 38 million inhabitants still call themselves Roman Catholics, the majority follow their own interpretation of the church’s pronouncements on moral issues, according to opinion polls.

Because of these problems, Mr. Cichocki says the church has shown little courage in trying to end the dispute over the cross. But neither has Donald Tusk, the prime minister and leader of Civic Platform. Without informing the demonstrators or the public, Mr. Tusk recently and almost secretly unveiled a commemorative plaque to the Smolensk victims on the wall of the Presidential Palace. He said he hoped it would end the dispute, but that clearly has not happened.

Don’t think fundamentalists in the United States have the market cornered on nutball manifestations. We all know what flavor of Christian someone is talking about when they refer to the American Taliban; but, descendant churches in many other lands cling to a sectarian fringe in their attempt to hang onto political power.

UPDATE: Removed, today.

Drillers feel the eyes of the world, the loss of friends

The news? They can’t watch it anymore. Outsiders criticizing their progress, saying they’re not working fast enough or smart enough — it’s too much to bear.

They understand how awful the situation is. They are, after all, working on the waters where friends and relatives died. Those losses, and the stories they hear from workers who survived the Deepwater Horizon explosion, are with them every day. It’s a weight they carry as the world watches.

These men and women are working to drill a relief well — 16,000 to 18,000 feet below the seafloor, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says. It is the only surefire way to stop the oil that’s spewing into the Gulf of Mexico…

There are fewer than 200 workers on board at any one time. They are marine biologists, scientists, construction and tool experts. They must understand the physics of what they’re doing. Simple hired hands? Not even close…

A woman working at a desk thanks the CNN crew for finally telling the workers’ story. Nearby, on a table, are copies of a special magazine memorializing the Deepwater Horizon workers who died…

On deck, it’s a loud and constant operation. Voices call back and forth, giving directions amid massive equipment that towers above. People operating the drill and two cranes maneuver across the rig in a carefully orchestrated ballet. The incessant drilling brings an endless vibration. There is no idle chit-chat for these Transocean employees, who are working 12-hour shifts, around the clock. It’s intense, serious, focused.

My favorite kind of journalism. “…as seen and told by our correspondant.”

Kyra Phillips offers some of the best reporting from CNN in a long while. Much of the original talent has disappeared to other venues over the decade of “entertainment news” managed by Time-Warner.

She has life on a drilling rig wired. Sounds and looks cleaner and safer than back in my days on the Gulf.

RTFA. Learn something about the reality of those folks busting a gut to stop the spill, save the environment and – oh yeah, save their way of life and working. This is the real memorial to their fallen comrades.