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Today would have been the 40th birthday of our son, Peter if had not died tragically in August 2010. We celebrated our granddaughter’s eighth birthday yesterday and today my wife and I helped out our older son, David, on his hop farm, went out for lunch and spent some quiet time overlooking a lake as a way of honoring Peter.
The sadness of my son’s death has not left me and I doubt if it ever will. Sometimes I wish I could cry about it but this has not happen so far. Being with my other son, David, helps ease the pain. He is a good father, husband and worker. He is the quiet son as Peter was the social son. When they were young they were good friends but grew about with age. We have been blessed with our two sons.
With my holy wife they have given me strength to work for change on social justices and human dignity issues, even when not much happens and I think of giving up.
A friend in California has been talking for many years about writing a script on the Milwaukee 14 action of burning selective service files in 1968. Not much has happened to her script yet but the other day when she started to talk about it I told her to be sure to put the part in at the trial when I was testifying on the stand. I referred her to an article, on the trial of the Milwaukee 14 by Francine du Plessix Gray in the New Review of Books when I was quoted on the witness stand saying: “I’m inside the draft board, and I’m taking files which I believe to be those of my brothers and neighbors…the only sensation I can remember that day was that of my arm being extremely tired as I was trying to do as much as possible to get as many people freed as I could. And in this act of liberation my arm was just getting tired, and I guess it’s like the stories you hear when someone is drowning and someone runs out to save him, his arm, his body, his whole body gets tired in the act of saving the drowning person. That’s how I felt, my arm, my body was at full extent of physical exertion in order to get those records out.”
Now that I am older my arms and body are not as strong and grow tired more easily. I need the lives and examples of my two sons,my wife, my family and friends to help hold my arms up, like Moses, to keep struggling to save lives in any way I can.