Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Emotional Roller Coaster

Saturday, February 10
Man! What a weekend it was and what a week this is shaping up to be! Saturday morning rolled around a lot sooner than I'd wanted it to appear. Beautify CNMI! and her army of volunteers were out and about doing their wonderful deed to help make the CNMI a much better place to live. I hated to miss the cleanup since I wanted to personally welcome our new partners, CAMI-CNMI (http://cami-cnmi.blogspot.org), to the Beautify CNMI! family. But I couldn't be there because I had to be somewhere else.

Photo courtesy of Bree Reynolds

Photo courtesy of Bree Reynolds

I was also supposed to be at a relative's wedding in San Roque, but I couldn't go either because I had to be somewhere else at that same time also.

That somewhere else I had to be was at the Multi-Purpose Complex to present certificates to the winners of the Martin Luther King Day Essay and Elocution Contest. Don't get me wrong -- I was mighty happy to be there. I even picked up an Appreciation Certificate in the process. (Thank you to the African American Cultural Preservation Committee for this honor!)

Photo courtesy of Walt F.J. Goodridge

After a brief break for lunch and some rest, I rounded up the family around 2 p.m. and headed up to the airport to await the arrival of the airplane carrying the remains of Lance Corporal Adam Quitugua Emul, the 4th CNMI son to lose his life in Iraq. Such a sad day for our tiny community. Many came to show their support on this sad occasion. My family and I stood silently beside the road as the procession of cars eventually passed by. Through the windshield, I got a brief peek at Adam's mother crying and my heart shattered even more. How is that possible? My words pale in comparison to these images.

As I write this, we await the return of the remains of yet another CNMI son, Army Specialist Leeroy Camacho, returning home in a casket. How much more can we take of this? I pray, and pray, and pray for this nightmare to end!

Sunday, February 11, 2007--Beautify CNMI! Clean-up of Dandan Road

The day after witnessing the sad procession of cars following the hearse that carried Adam's body from the airport, I went out with my fellow Beautify CNMI team to pick up trash on the Dandan to San Vicente Road. While the volunteers paired off and walked alongside the road picking up trash, someone drove by and tossed what looked like a plastic yogurt container out of the car window. The nerve of some people! Here are some pictures.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007--Adam's Funeral

Adam's family asked my family to be the choir at his funeral. We don't really do this anymore but, then again, how could we say no? The church was packed. So many sad people. The devastated family sat a short distance from the choir. We had to be at church by 7 a.m. for the Responso (the short prayer service as the body is escorted inside the church). My family walked over to Adam's casket to pay our last respects before we approached the family. Sob! Adam's mother Angie clung to me and fought to suppress her sobs. :( My heart hurt. I felt so darn...helpless! What could I say? I'm sorry just doesn't seem to be enough.

The funeral service itself was scheduled for 11 a.m. Prior to the service, the Governor spoke and then we, the members of the 15th Legislature, were called up to present a resolution to Adam's family. Wished I could've taken some of the family's pain away, but how does one do that? We honor you, Adam, and thank you for paying the ultimate sacrifice so I could sit here in the comfort and safety of my home with loved ones.

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