|Published in the Southington Citizen|
One thing I’ve learned about people in eighteen years of writing is that everyone has a story. Although our stories are uniquely ours, they often become the stories of others. It is human nature to identify with experiences of others. Stories of others resonate, inspire, sometimes challenge us to imagine what might be for ourselves.
This post, originally published in print on May 22, 2015, in the Southington Citizen, gave me pause to consider that it was the 52nd consecutive weekly edition of Appleseed. So I think today of the countless stories of hundreds of people I’ve encountered in the circuitous byways of my community. Did I ever foresee that I might witness astonishing contributions by so many people in a single town? When I became involved in my church and town community I know my interest was piqued by a sense of discovery of a new place for me in my retired life, among those involved in the life of a community. Surely there had to be something significant for me following my decades in the professional world of corporate life.
What I did not anticipate was that full time service in my faith and local community would open me to the kind of down-to-earth compassion, generosity and decency that opened to me among the people of Southington. Nothing spectacular on any given day, (though there have been some extraordinary actions of this community), but mainly people engaged in simple day in and day out acts of human kindness, quietly and without fanfare.
Eventually I saw that I was telling these stories in my writing as the years went by. Frankly, it strengthened my faith in God and sense of purpose spiritually. The old aphorism that it is better to give than to receive became clear to me as I sensed a new and special personal kind of reward, an inner understanding of being part of God's love and charity. I had become part of a giving community. The greater reward was to have been present in a place where I might share that with others in my passion for story telling.
I don't doubt that there are other communities where, like Southington, people care for the hungry, the impoverished, ill-clothed, jobless, homeless, the sick, the aging and the lonely. But the fact that I had found my way to this particular community was my reality of it.
I have no definitive conclusion as to what makes this town such a special place. But, family and faith-driven values are a major part of the equation. And, there’s a strong sense of history, of the place of the past in the present, a drive for civic duty and town loyalty, all deeply grounded in Southington’s roots. Many Southington families have remained here for generations! This is their home. And, theirs is a sense of responsibility for everything about it, especially the nurturing love and education of our children.
One previously untold true tale ...
|An American symbol|
of those who made
the supreme sacrifice
for country and
way of life.
"The year was 2008." said John DiSantis, a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Vietnam Era, (1961 to 1967), a faithful member of the 4th degree of the Knights of Columbus and officer of the Legion's Kiltonic Post.
"As Post Commander, at the time, I wanted to do something special at our Memorial Day Service to commemorate the honored men and women of our Armed Forces killed in battle, never made it home, and were buried in cemeteries in foreign lands. I thought, a white cross like the many we see around the world might be a fitting tribute to incorporate in our Memorial Day Services. So, I asked my stepson, Sisto Salzillo, a cabinet maker, if he would make the cross for me. He did. At that year’s opening ceremony, the Knights’ Color Guard placed the new White Cross at the foot of the flagpole. The silence of the gathered crowd said it all. ” Thus was born the tradition in Southington of honoring our fallen heroes at a special moment as we display the now familiar military gravesite marker. “Since then, it has become a part of our celebratory tradition on Memorial Day and Veterans Day services.”, DiSantis said.
|John DiSantis remembers|
For those who may at times put our history too far behind them, remember that it has been the the men and women who have put their personal lives on hold in the service of the United States of America whose sacrifices have served to uphold the freedoms you enjoy in this country today.
|Roger Mathieu presents the symbolic|
white cross on May 25, 2015