Many of you are probably, like me, still down in the mouth from last month’s election results. Since November 6th, I’ve been trying to pick up inspiration anywhere I can get it. My family and I braved the crowds at the movie theater on the night of Christmas Day, and took in the latest adaptation of Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”. The tale of Jean Valjean’s redemption, and ultimate salvation, as well as the struggle of the ill-fated “republican” — small ‘r’ — students at the barricade has always been a favorite of mine, even when set to music. Despite some less than operatic singing by some of the leads in this latest incarnation of the musical, the message was still powerful, and as the credits rolled in the packed theater, the audience stood and cheered, wiping away tears in between the claps of their hands. I was one of them, and while applauding, I couldn’t help but think of some of our own marches and rallies in the last 4 years — the joy of the small victories, the sting of the losses, and the commraderie and fellowship we all shared in the struggle. If you’ve not read the book, I’ll loan you my copy. If you can see the movie, do so. Better yet, see the musical when the touring company comes to Miami in February. Here’s the stage show’s finale, courtesy of YouTube.
Hopefully, the words give you some strength. I’ve cut and pasted them below. Healthy, safe, and prosperous New Year’s wishes to all.
Can you hear the people sing, singing the songs of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again.
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums
It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes.
Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth there is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord.
They will walk behind the plough-share, they will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward.
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing? Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes…
Happy Holidays, everyone! This year, we almost certainly had a *record* year of donations for our 11th annual toy & gift drive for Palms West Children’s Hospital in Palm Beach County. Well done!! No child went without a gift – and young brothers and sisters VISITING their siblings in the hospital were ALSO able to choose a gift, because you were so generous – that was remarkable. Smiles were everywhere. We saw a wide array of young people – infants… toddlers… children… teenagers, right up to a young man in 9th grade in high school.
A few stories and children always personally affect me every year. I will share a few, briefly… – “Joey the IV”, a 4 month old boy in a small crib, whom had to be flown in from Okeechobee County by rescue helicopter (their local hospital didn’t have sufficient facilities). We don’t know his illness. But his young parents said they knew nobody here in West Palm – and they were deeply touched by a couple wagons full of gifts from strangers during this time of the year. We also gave the mom and dad a gift card that was generously donated to best buy to pick a movie or something to watch while at the hospital they were so touched.
Samuel, age 4. This young boy just got out of ICU (intensive care) a few hours before we arrived – his mother just sobbed, and asked us to pray that her “little man” might make it home in time for Christmas. He looked up at us, listening intently – and tugged on a tube under his gown, and said loudly, “I CAN’T go, Mom: I’M STUCK TO A WIRE!”
Jernanda, age 8. She was a young girl from Delray Beach… shy, but stared so deep at us. She said she was sad, because her mother hasn’t been able to visit her in a few days. Jernanda chose a baby doll in a pink stroller and my son and daughter helped her take it out of the box and put it together, and she LOVED having company…
Brianna, age 12. This young lady was completely surrounded by her mother, grandmother, an auntie, and her siblings… her mother explained Brianna had just had BACK SURGERY last Thursday, “from her head to her her bottom”. And today, she had taken her FIRST FOOTSTEP since her surgery. What a supportive family. Brianna chose a stuffed doggy, with big floppy ears to keep her company when she sleeps…
Hannah, age 9, 3rd grade. She chose a “MyMoxie” game and makeup. She was in school Friday, and suddenly had trouble breathing – Dad got the call that she felt like she was “drowning”. She was responding well to steroids, and just hoping to make it home for Christmas.
In ICU, we saw a 4-year boy named “PJ”. The minute PJ’s mother stepped into the hall out of her son’s room, she just lost it – and started crying so hard… whew. The sight of neighbors with bags and wagons of toys overwhelmed her and we were able to pray with her and give lot of hugs. She said this has been the hardest holiday of her life. She asked me to personally thank everyone who helped out both my work and the 912 project. because her son has a bacterial infection that he is losing a fight to, and he “will be here for a long, long time…”
As we celebrate the spirit of the holidays this December, just know that you personally *DID* make a difference this year – in the lives of a few local children and their families. Your generosity is powerful – and we really can touch people’s lives.
Happy holidays, to you and yours… Douglas Armstrong
Save the date – Tuesday, January 8! Florida’s Chief Financial Officer – Jeff Atwater will be our key-note speaker. The CFO doesn’t get to many local events during the week – as he works in Tallahassee – so this is an excellent opportunity to meet him and discuss upcoming issues.
When: Tuesday, January 8 at 6:30 – 8:30 pm – Meet and Greet at 6:15pm!
Where: Lantana Road Branch, Palm Beach County Library**
4020 Lantana Road, Lake Worth
Bring your questions for CFO Atwater. He will be covering
- Upcoming session in Tallahassee
- Insurance reform – Citizens/home insurance
- Obamacare – implementation issues
- How can we, the grassroots, be most effective in dealing with Tallahassee
Besides the CFO, we will have a kick-off for changes in South Florida 912 for 2013. Join us and be a part in making a difference!
** This program is not sponsored/endorsed by the Palm Beach County Library
A recap of our year and a look forward at Duffy’s on Congress. 2013 will bring changes in 912, but our commitment to conservative principles continues. Join us in January for our first meeting of the new year with Florida CFO Jeff Atwater. It will be at the Lantana Library on January 8. More details to follow.
Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and happy New Year.
Please join us. This is really powerful. My family has really found this to be very special and meaningful, to take the time to place a wreath on a soldier’s grave and to pray for them and their families at this time of year. Please donate towards the purchase of a wreath and come out and help us lay them on the graves.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
11:00am until 1:00pm