On-Line Family and Friends: Greetings To All Of
has come and gone so quickly, and now we are approaching
the 2nd week in September.
Wow, what a short summer it was! Don’t you
as I reflect and compose my thoughts on these 2 months;
not only am I thinking about how rapidly the days have
flown by, but how incredibly memorable they are.
Of course in my world August has been memorable
and historical due the celebrations of self-governance
and freedom [Independence] in Trinidad and Tobago, as
well as Jamaica. However,
my heart simply breaks all over again as I reflect on
what both August and September epitomizes; specifically
in the history of America.
Yes friends, I am referring to (in my opinion) 2 of the
most devastating and destructive incidents that occurred in American history during these
months. And...Oh, how I wish these awful memories
concerning these events would JUST GO AWAY!!!
as you may have guessed, indeed I am referring to (1)
America’s greatest natural disaster: The horrifying
and destructive 3rd category storm
“HURRICANE Katrina” that took place on August 29,
2005; and (2) the worst act of terrorism on American
soil [all related and occurred on the same day –
September 11, 2001] ~~~ The destruction of the World Trade
Center Towers in New York City by 2 hijacked United
Airlines planes that slammed into the buildings, the
Pentagon in Washington DC being crashed into by a
hijacked United Airlines plane, and the crashing of a 4th
hijacked United Airlines plane in a field near
Shanksville, PA. Unfortunately,
I find myself always tearing up when the anniversary of
these horrifying incidents come around.
Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast 5 years ago on
August 29th, and due to its storm surges
hours after it made landfall the levees around the city
of New Orleans, Louisiana were breached causing massive
flooding throughout the city of New Orleans
(approximately 80%) and many surrounding cities,
including many coastal cities in Mississippi.
This was the most destructive disaster in
U.S. History and many lives were lost; many families
were separated; and many homes were completed destroyed.
Actually, New Orleans lost 1/3 of its population
[approximately 1836+ deaths], plus more than 800,000
citizens were displaced; and due to the flooding the
city was completely destroyed and wrought approximately $110 billion in damages, making it the costliest
hurricane in US history.
[Seven states and more than 15 million people
The most upsetting, sickening, and disgraceful thing for me and for most
of America about this storm; was the slow response for
help from the US Government to the grief stricken and
frustrated victims and citizens of New Orleans and
I certainly will
never forget the images I saw on the news/media, which
was overwhelming and which I never thought I would see
happen on American soil. The hauling of people
into the Superdome as if they were not human beings, but
were cattle; the dead that was laying in the streets,
and the tears of grief stricken children, mothers, sons,
fathers, daughters and entire families begging for help.
Even though it has been
5 years, the struggle to rebuild the city has been extremely disheartening.
For years many have truly been suffering: they
have been homeless, and those who did received emergency
housing by the Government were living in formaldehyde
contaminated trailers; there were very little government
aid (major failure of Federal funding;) cities services
were low and not of good quality; high rate of mental health
problems; no jobs; and a lot more other disgusting
Now, 5 years later I see
things in New Orleans are slowly improving for the (Katrina)
have read that many areas in New Orleans are still in ruins, and many
are still living in trailers provided by the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
I also read a report where "Amnesty
International" stated that the U.S.
Government and the Gulf Coast States have violated the
human rights of hurricane victims. CLICK
[Courtesy of the
Associated Press-written by: Cain Burdeau, and
reported/printed by The
Grio.] On a more positive note, I read that U.S. Government officials
announced more than $25 million in aid for newly
approved Gulf Coast rebuilding projects, and President
Obama has “recommitted the nation” to the Gulf
region and to all those still working to rebuild lives
and communities. Additionally,
the Corps of Engineers has committed $14 billion to
provide 100-year flood protection to southern Louisiana
by: constructing higher and stronger floodwalls,
re-designed levees and new pump stations.
I understand the State of Louisiana is winding
down the largest housing program in U.S. history having
disbursed $10.4 billion to 127,000 homeowners and
thousands more to renters and small landlords.
FEMA has also confirmed that the city will
receive a $1.8 billion lump-sum settlement to rebuild
the schools destroyed by Katrina.
quite a bit of progress has been made by this 5th
Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and it is
pleasing. However though, there are lots more that
must be done before this city is " back in full
swing." To read more about the progresses that have
been made to rebuild this city and the lives of the
citizens of this city
CLICK HERE [Courtesy of Commondreams.org)! And
for More CLICK
(Courtesy of Catholic-sf.org]
One thing though, that “hits home” for us and
pleases us greatly regarding the rebuilding efforts of
New Orleans is the construction of a community called
“ Musicians’ Village.
The construction of this community by New
Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) is the “brainchild” of New Orleans natives
and famous Jazz musicians Harry Connick
Jr. and Branford Marsalis. Musicians' Village are
homes provided/built for musicians and several generations of
musicians, as well as other families. As I learned
more about Musicians' Village, it seems Harry Connick Jr.
and Branford Marsalis are very pleased with the progress
of this project and is extremely proud. [Currently,
all 72 homes and 5 elder-friendly duplexes have been
completed, and construction has begun on the Ellis
Marsalis Center for Music, which will be the heart of the
musicians are still asking for your help with donations,
so if you can please support their "Musicians'
Village" by CLICKING HERE! To learn more about this exciting project
log on to their site: http://www.nolamusiciansvillage.org.
is providing local musicians and other qualifying
partner families the opportunity to own a home in a
thriving community of committed individuals and
families. Conceived by Harry Connick, Jr.
and Branford Marsalis, the Musicians' Village
consists of 72 single-family, Habitat-constructed
homes and 10 rental units for the older "music
masters" of New Orleans. Its
centerpiece will be the Ellis Marsalis Center for
Music, dedicated to the music education and
development of homeowners and others who will live
Center will be the heart of the Village. This 17,000
square foot community facility will provide
residents and their neighbors with a place to gather
and to study, to perform and to record music. It
will include classrooms and practice rooms for the
after-school music program and a 150-seat
performance space with state-of-the-art lighting and
sound. It will house a library of music and music
related materials. Additionally, the Center will
provide career development resources for established
musicians and facilities for the Mardi Gras Indians.
addition to the homes in the Musicians' Village core
site, NOAHH has built and is building on over 90
lots in the surrounding Upper 9th Ward neighborhood."]
HERE to Support Musicians' Village and Donate Today!]
As I close out my
thoughts on New Orleans, I must say CONGRATULATIONS to
the New Orleans Saints - the 2009 (reigning) Super
Bowl champions on their win [14-9]
Thursday, September 9th, 2010 (The first game of the
season) against the Minnesota
Vikings ~~~ Hooray Saints!!!
September 11th [9-11], marks the 9th Anniversary of the
devastating terrorist attacks on the United States of
American. Therefore, it is time to
memorialize, pay tribute and nationally mourn the
thousands who died, as well as the thousands who were
severely injured and is still suffering from the September
11, 2001, attacks. On This terrifying and sorrowful
day America was paralyzed due to the destruction of the
World Trade Center buildings in New York (The Twin
Towers); parts of the Pentagon in Washington DC, and a
plane full of passengers plunging into the ground in
Pennsylvania (a rural area near
Shanksville in Somerset County).
be quite honest I believe these attacks were the worst in
the nation’s history!!!! On that painful day many
lives were lost (approximately 3,000), but by the grace of
God many survived. Many
of these survivors were badly injured and/or burned
severely (40% of the survivors were burned).
after 9 years, you can't help but wonder how are things
going for the victim’s families, and the survivors?
Evidently, the survivors (even though they have suffered
and may still be suffering physically and mentally) are
thankful to be alive.
However, there is no doubt the thought of that
horrendous September morning (the 11th) will
forever be lodged in their minds, as well as the
victim’s families minds, and even yours and mine.
could anyone ever forget the sight of the hijacked planes
as the hijackers plunged them into the World Trade center
buildings…the 1st in the North Tower and some minutes
later the 2nd in the South Tower?
Moreover, the sight of the 3rd hijacked
plane as it was driven into the Pentagon, and the 4th
that crashed in a field in PA.
These attacks were horrifying for all of us, and
the devastation in New York at the World Trade Center site
"Ground Zero" made all of us sick and terrified.
One of the most heart-wrenching things I observed
which will forever stay in my mind, was seeing the bird
like figures falling from the windows of the World Trade
Center and knowing in my heart that they were people –
human beings. I
was in disbelief as I watched those towers in flames
tumbled down, while praying and hoping that many were able
to make it to safety before they collapsed.
That was very difficult to deal with, as well as
the panicked and distressed faces I saw full of sorrow and
eyes full of tears as they ran to safety. The aftermath was just as humbling and completely
overwhelming - the fire fighters, police, military
officials, families, and just about everyone diligently
and tirelessly searching for survivors.
Those images will forever stay in my mind.
remember some years ago some monetary compensations were
made to the victim's families and survivors.. The
Federal Government distributed about $7 billion through
The 9/11 Compensation fund - $6 billion went to the
families of those killed at the World Trade center, the
Pentagon and PA; and $1 billion has been distributed to
the injured. Keep in mind there were several other
funds; however, the figures I listed here are
specifically what the Federal Government distributed [which was an Act created and passed by Congress, and
which was signed and made into a law by President Bush a
few days after the attacks.]
Basically to persuade victims and
their families to abstain from filling lawsuits
against the airlines, the World Trade Center’s owners
and other potential defendants.
the reconstruction project is still not complete, and has
been mired and delayed for many years by political
in-fighting; crazy passions; as well as never-ending negotiations. But I understand from a
recently held conference that agreements have been reached
and progress will continue. I am not certain about the
actual progress of the Museum building that was supposed
to be constructed at the World Trade Center’s site; I do
however know it is being worked on and will open 1 year
later than expected (2012). Actually, Tower
One is now under construction, with thirty-six floors
completed out of 106; and Tower Four is also starting to
rise, and the transit hub [designed by Spanish
architect Santiago Calatrava is finally underway.]
the 2 surviving giant steel "tridents" from the
North Tower (90 feet high - seven-story) were lowered down
to the site of the 9/11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero on
September 7th and currently symbolizes progress in
rebuilding the World Trade Center site. These
tridents will be incorporated in the Atrium of this Museum
presence of these tridents is to bring strength fortitude,
resilience, survival and hope. The Memorial is set
to open on the tenth anniversary of the attacks, September
the reconstruction plans that was revealed some years
ago, it was stated a pavilion will be build and will serve
as the entrance to the subterranean exhibition
galleries of the National September 11th
Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center, which
is set to be opened a year after the building is
completed in 2012.
This pavilion will range in height from 57 to
72 feet (about a 6 story office building) and it will
contain 47,499 square feet of floor area; 34,834
square feet donated to public programs and Museum
functions. Per the New York Times “...The
ground floor will have ticket windows, a large
security area in which visitors will undergo
airport-style screening and a staircase, escalators
and elevators down which they will begin a trip that
will lead them nearly 70 feet below street level,
ending near an exposed part of the slurry wall.
The 2nd floor will be a 180 seat
auditorium, a private room in which relatives of 9/11
victims may gather, an overlook from which visitors
can take in a sweeping view of the memorial and a
small café. The 4th Floor will be given over
entirely to equipment and ventilation...”
is certain though, is that the survivors and the families
of the victims have received some substantial monetary
compensation. On the other hand, progress has been
very slow with the rebuilding of “Ground Zero”, which
has been acknowledged by the following recent statement
from Governor David Paterson: "although we have
had delays and unfortunately, we've had conflicts of
opinion, we are now -- we believe-- on the road to a very
Further, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed out that "while
nothing happens in democracy as quickly as we would like,
the truth of the matter is democracy does get you to the
On this 9th
year I ask you to remember the victims and the survivors
of his tragic day – September 11th, 2001, I
ask that you keep the survivors and the many families and
friends of all the victims in your thoughts and prayers,
they will forever mourn the lost of their loved ones. We must always keep this tragic incident in our minds and in
our hearts, because this was a day most of us in America
felt powerless, and the incident itself was unfathomable
and left us grief stricken.
America! God Bless all the men and women who lost
their lives on September 11, 2001, and Bless their
families and friends as they struggle to move on after
enduring such pain, and suffering.
God Bless the survivors who will forever be suffering
physically and mentally, their healing will indeed
take a lifetime and their memories will be vivid for years
will find below that author, poet, extraordinaire
"Hollis 'Flash' Lashley" continues
remembering 9-11 through his FlashPoint. Scroll
below to read his tribute.
On-line family, it was very interesting to get quite a
few responses regarding my commentary from some weeks
the Prime Minister "PM" of Trinidad and Tobago
Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar's hiring of
new Commissioner of Police "CoP" - Mr. Dwayne
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr. Jack
from Canada;) and paying them 3 times the amount of
wages [compared to the wage of the CoP that held the
position previously.] First
off, thanks to the many of you that took the time to respond,
clearly you are very concerned about this important
issue; but a lot of you also stated that these newly
hired officers should be given a chance. Alright...then
we will patiently wait to see how they do, and how they
treat the people of T & T.
a few of you also talked about the Prime Minister's
recent visit to New York and was disgusted that she snubbed
the local Caribbean Media. In my opinion, that was
not a good thing to do!!!
Obviously, in a Prime Minister's position, [and a newly
elected Prime Minister at that] "one must always
reach out, address, greet, and talk [etc.] to the people
of their country;" be it that they reside abroad or
live in the country. In Prime Minister
Persad-Bissessar's case, I feel it was truly important
for her to do so, especially since she is new on the
job, and is seeking to gain the love, trust, respect and
support from all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.
The local Caribbean media is one important vehicle for
use in reaching the people, and I don't understand why
she did it, and honestly I am baffled!
I understand the Trinidad and Tobago Independence
celebrations were fantastic. However, many of you
shared your thoughts on the problems regarding T and T's
[disgruntle] police officers salary increase, which is
still a major issue. The T&T Police Officers had threatened
to strike days prior to Independence day, but the Police
Officers [who were represented by the President of
Police Service Social Welfare Association (TTPSSWA) Sergeant
Anand Ramesar] had talks with the PM and requested
that they receive a 40% salary increase, "or
else". PM Persad-Bissessar
she would get back with TTPSSWA with her decision and/or
a counter offer/proposal. A figure was announced a
few days ago at the presentation of the T&T $49
billion budget, and it was stated the Police Officers
would only receive "a TT $1,000.00 increase in
their take-home pay (via tax-free duty allowance)."
Hum, NO WHERE CLOSE TO a 40%
thoughts are if the Police Officers do not accept, then
outside forces would be brought in to the country to
police the country; which in turn would be the beginning
of the public takeover. Who knows...maybe it's the
plan!!!! Or maybe the Police will accept the offer, and
problem solved! It will certainly be interesting
to see how this problem "plays itself
final piece of information many of you shared with me;
which to be quite honest, I was already aware of: is the
fact that the Minister of Works and Transport Mr. Jack
Warner stated that the death penalty by hanging should
be resumed, and should be resumed in a public
setting. It was later reported (actually some days
ago) that PM Persad-Bissessar stated: "It is the
law of the land...We will act according to the rule of
law" She further stated "Should
we resume hangings? Should we not resume hangings?
It is the law of the land. For the time being,
that is the law of the land, as far as we can we will
abide by the rule of law and implement the law of
Trinidad and Tobago." Personally to
me, this is extremely primitive and inhumane.
thank you all for your bits and pieces of
information. It is remarkable that you are so
concerned about this/your country affairs. Feel
free to always send me information, I appreciate it very
much; and most importantly I appreciate your comments!!
you can't miss the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars as
they perform in Washington DC. CLICK THE PICTURE
TO THE LEFT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT. Click
the Flyer on the right for additional details.
this Sunday, September 12, 2010, it's all about "Andy's Sunday
Lime" celebrating Andy's Day." Andy
cordially invite you to celebrate his day with him at Crossroads
Entertainment Complex Outdoor Patio, as they present their "Cool out Sundays"
Series. This event begins at 4:00pm, and will feature exciting performances by
the popular "Oasis Band;" and most importantly
it is Free ~~~ Free ~~~ Free! Please note there
will be 2 for 1 drink specials until 8:00 pm. Andy
is looking forward to seeing all of you in the place,
and so are we. CLICK
HERE FOR ALL THE DETAILS or scroll down to the
"Featured Events" section to learn all about
check out the important events below!!!
Family, here is my tribute to 9-11. I think it's
appropriate, though not mine.
ME IN THE STAIRWELL'
You say you will never forget where you were when
you heard the news On September 11, 2001.
Neither will I.
I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room
with a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I
held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the
peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it
is OK..I am ready to go.'
I was with his wife when he called as she fed
breakfast to their children. I held her up as she
tried to understand his words and as she realized
he wasn't coming home that night.
I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a
woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been
knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I
'Of course I will show you the way home - only
believe in Me now.'
I was at the base of the building with the Priest
ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He
heard my voice and answered.
I was on all four of those planes, in every seat,
with every prayer. I was with the crew as they
were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the
believers there, comforting and assuring them that their
faith has saved them.
I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan ,
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible
Did you sense Me?
I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew
every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me
for the first time on the 86th floor.
Some sought Me with their last breath.
Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the
smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... this way... take
my hand.' Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.
But, I was there.
I did not place you in the Tower that day. You
may not know why, but I do.. However, if you were
there in that explosive moment in time, would you have
reached for Me?
Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey
for you . But someday your journey will end. And I
will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may
be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are
'ready to go.'
I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.
Kindly check out the events we have
spotlighted below under our
"Featured Events" section . Actually, check out all the events including all the upcoming events by logging on to
"Events" Page HERE!
an enjoyable and fantastic weekend, and we will certainly vibe some more
with you next week.
We welcome your input, so
if you have any comment or feedback on the
commentary or events - please feel free to send
an e-mail to me Susan Mangatal at my e-mail
or you can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
all our events, please visit our "Events" Page.
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September 12, 2010
the Cool island sounds of:
the fun and exciting celebration of "Andy's
Day" at his "Special Sunday Lime"
Place at Crossroads Entertainment Complex
Outdoor Patio from 4pm
Baltimore Avenue, Bladensburg, Maryland
2 for 1 drink specials from 4-8pm
* For Additional Details
call Andy @ 240-441-2600
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are a lot more exciting events that you must
check out. Therefore we invite you to visit our
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