Monday, June 5, 2017

In Spite of Everything...

When Rick and I went to Europe several years ago, it rained. It rained almost every day. Not all day, always. But pretty much every day. But we went about our lives visiting all the places you always go on your first or second trip -- the monuments, the public parks and gardens, the churches, the things you see in books and movies. The things that are now considered terror targets. It just kept raining and we just kept going, frizzy hair and all.

The first time I visited London, with my mom in 1973, the IRA was in full explosive force. It seemed as though every time we were at a site, the next day a mailbox or trash can in that area exploded. We were a little nervous but was it going to stop us? No.

In Paris, we ate at cafes, in London, a pub. When Rick and I visited London in 2012, we walked all over (in the more-or-less rain). We walked over Westminster Bridge, taking photos of the houses of Parliament, eyeing the London Eye and looking down the Thames.

Little did we know that had we been in that same spot several years later, we might have been killed or injured by someone driving a car with an intent to kill. Terror. Terror done by one person.

We walked through London's beautiful parks, lush and brilliant green with all the rain.

They were filled with birds, wildlife, flowers all starting new life in the early spring. A peaceable kingdom.

We watched the Changing of the Guard -- a lucky accident, really, to end up by Buckingham Palace at just the right time.

The police on guard were nice, friendly. They appeared to carry no guns. They answered questions and gently pushed the crowd back when things got a bit dense.

We never thought that someone might consider driving through a crowd, jump from a van and stab tourists and residents alike.

It never dawned on us while we were in London that the police might ask us to evacuate our hotel as fast as possible.

My heart is aching for England this week and for those who have faced terror in other parts of Europe and the world. I have blog friends who live in the UK and my heart has been with you during the attacks in London and Manchester. I admire your strength and resolve, your courage and your determination.

I admire your police force who took down the three terrorists this past weekend in eight minutes.

I wonder, what would Queen Victoria think?

She would be proud of its police force, that is for certain.

The U.S. is not without its terror concerns. A week ago, a domestic terrorist with White Nationalist and racist overtones, murdered two in Portland, Oregon. This is far from the first such event. In 1927, only miles away from my home, the Bath, Michigan, school board treasurer, angered by his defeat in a recent election and increased taxes, was a suicide bomber. He first blew up the school killing 39 children, six adults and injuring another 58 people, then blowing himself up in his truck. It remains the deadliest mass murder at a school in the United States history. My dad took this photo in the aftermath.

I don't believe curbing immigration or profiling is the answer. It wouldn't have changed Bath. It wouldn't have changed Oklahoma City or Portland and it wouldn't have changed Manchester. It is probably far more likely that the terrorist next door has been born and bred in the country in which he or she inflicts terror. Hate is available 24/7 on the Internet, in many leaders, even in the radical interpretation of some religions.

I don't have answers. But I do believe there are some.

As for me, I like to remember the words of one young girl who saw terror that was unspeakable, terror that destroyed lives and brought the world into a war. Her story is a cautionary tale for all the countries who are looking at one religion, at one group of people as being evil, building walls to keep them out. The actions of today are all too similar of those of the 1930s. Hate-filled rhetoric, legislatures that will not stand up to power. But Anne Frank never lost hope.

"It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart."

So do I.


  1. Love the pictures, especially the clock. I didn't know about that incident in 1927, and I live in Michigan. I guess because it was so long ago, but still terrible. I always feel so bad for Anne Frank. It seems we humans will remain in a vicious circle unless we solve our problems.

  2. Beautiful post, Jeanie. You never cease to amaze me with you artistic talent as well as your wise words.

  3. Its so sad. Poor innocent people injured or killed because they happened to be in the wrong place or they were being good people. What makes some people so violent?

    And thanks for fixing those Maine Coon cat painting photo. It looks so much better now! What a fabulous painting.

    Hope you are feeling better and have a wonderful Tuesday and Wednesday. I hope the world has a few good days too without any senseless violence.


  4. The news from London yesterday was staggering and heartbreaking -- your ability to hold an open heart and find a creative response is real treasure. Thank you.

  5. Jeanie, I so much appreciate this very thoughtful, caring post. Tears have been close to the surface as I feel the sadness of our world. So much anger and hatred, it just hurts our hearts. It is inconceivable for your tender hearts to comprehend. Thank you!

  6. Very thoughtful post, Jeanie. I did not know about the bombing of the school. Shocking that it was in the 1920's. -Jenn

  7. Lovely post! Thanks for sharing the photos of my home town. It is awful what has happened, but I am sure it will pass. And I have always loved that quote from Anne Frank, such a wonderful girl. Let's stay hopeful! Hugs, Valerie

  8. Jeanie, you have a beautiful gift of expressing yourself. We have visited so many places that terrorists have struck. My heart breaks!

  9. That's a wonderful post, Jeanie. I also appreciate your kind words about my country. And I agree with you - these people will not win; nor will they divide our communities. I believe the human race as a whole has come a long way - respect for the individual and life is more widespread than ever. Many of those who promote other ideologies are medieval in their outlook. Of course, it's not that simple - nothing is; but people of good hearts, of all faiths and none, will prevail in the end.

    Loved your photos, by the way!

  10. Beautiful post. You say what we all feel with such great words. I totally agree.

  11. "...that people are truly good at heart." I believe so too. That most people are, I believe it, and want to keep believing it. Sitting here in tears reading your beautiful post, Jeanie. Sitting here in tears reading the news of our beloved London. We have visited the places that have been targets lately, and it hurts th heart. TJ & I were going to take a long weekend trip there next month. Not sure if we will now. It is so hard to fathom all of this...all the hatred, anger, intolerance. That men can turn on their fellow human beings... It breaks my heart. But love, surely love will prevail. When all make love the first thought, the first action... then maybe we'll raise above all this as a collective people. All in this together. :) Thank you so much for always sharing the love, Jeanie! ((HUGS))

  12. In spite of everything . . .
    Anne Franks words . . . her heart and hope . . . speak best . . .

    "It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart."

    Absolutely one of the best posts I have seen/read since I started blogging . . .

    Loved hearing of your places, trails, travels . . . the rain . . .
    smiles . . . more rain . . . still more smiles.
    Thank you for this Jeanie . . . you helped my heart.

  13. My heart aches for the innocent people who lost their lives in such a hateful senseless way. Like you, I've been there walking across the bridge and not once did it occur to me that someone could do this! I have a relative that was on the bridge two hours before this insident. She says she will not let this stop her from traveling. Loved your pics, the first one with those two happy faces and is that a peek of the Eifle Tower in the back ground? I can hardly wait for my next travel adventure..........

  14. Jeanie, I had not heard of that incident in Michigan in 1927! I must ask my husband if he's ever heard of it. Awful things have been happening for a very long time, but now they are happening so frequently that many people have that "constantly under attack" feeling. I don't blame those who are choosing to curtail their travels. Your photos are outstanding!

  15. I have tears in my eyes as I read this and think of my amazing trip to Paris a few years ago. I've been to many places in the US that are now terrorist targets. The world is a target. It is up to all of us to stand strong and believe in the good of mankind. I pray for peace and understanding.

  16. This is a touching and beautiful post.

    I'm sickened and saddened by recent - and not so recent - events like this. I always wonder what must have happened to fill the hearts of these people with so much anger and hate that it would drive them to do something like this.

  17. It is scary what is taking place all over the world. 9/11 was an eye opener in the states for sure. People are crazy. My heart goes out to Europe and the people there. I have nieces, and a brother that have traveled there in the past and to think that they might have been there just a few days before. My sis in law was in Paris when just down the street a cafe was blown up.

  18. This is a beautiful post, Jeanie. Your words are a blessing. I have been thinking of those suffering attacks of terror and hate and wondering where will it end. I don't suppose it will ever end as long as there are people, but it's a good reminder that hate will never win. Love will always over come.

  19. With a huge lump in my throat may I say thank you for writing this post,
    Maggie Xx

  20. Beautiful post. I think it's only after we travel and realize how rare guns are everywhere BUT the U.S., that we can see our own country without blinkers. I also think travel is an essential reminder that we are a global community.

    We are London, this week, and next week we'll likely express solidarity with someone else, and when we do we'll have beautiful blogs like yours to help us through.

  21. Dear friend, last night as we watched the news, I got a bit sad, and I'm typically a happy person. I'm so disappointed in the human race. I can't understand what is happening, why, why, why is the madness abounding?????

    I want to get back to my beloved France. I want to go to England, I want to walk everywhere, but fear does grip me.

    What are we to do...

  22. I hope England realizes that, in spite of tweets, the majority of Americans support them a hundred percent.

  23. So poignant. Both England and France have been the targets of attacks lately. Too many for them to be a coincidence. I fear we are headed in that direction, ourselves. Not from a disgruntled election loser, but from terrorists who have been wooed by promises borne out of hatred and fear.

    I recently read the last speech by JFK that he never got to give in Dallas the day he died. It is poignant and illustrates that he knew more about 21st century politics than Trump:

    “Ignorance and misinformation can handicap the progress of a city or a company, but they can, if allowed to prevail in foreign policy, handicap this country’s security. In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason – or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.”

  24. Beautiful post, Jeanie. You said it so well. I love the Anne Frank quote you included. She was wise beyond her years. We need to echo her sentiment. I am so saddened by the awful things that continue to happen - and the lack of a response by the president to the Portland attack. But I'm trying to hold onto hope. And I will continue to do the things I want to do, because if we stop traveling or going to public places that might be attacked, the evil wins.

  25. Oh yes.
    Jeanie this bouquet of beauty and sanity brought me to grateful tears.
    Thanks so sharing the perspective so many of us hold in such dramatic
    contrast to the rhetoric floating around like poisonous vapor.

    And thanks for sharing Anne:)

    You are pure gift,

  26. Wonderful post and so well written. There is so much anger and hatred and violence and it has escalated so quickly-- its awful

  27. I love that first photo of you and Rick.

  28. Jeanie, this post is definitely written from the heart and very well expressed. It saddens all of us to see so much destruction of life and for what purpose? I congratulate you for your openness and well thought out exposé.

  29. Lovely stories and those photos are wonderful. Warm greetings to you and yours!

  30. Beautiful post and wise words. Thank you!

  31. Beautiful and poignant post. You are a terrific writer. Are you writing a book by chance? I know you have the ability to illustrate it too. You are very creative :-)


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