Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Visiting Ft. Huachuca with Albert Rosa

This evening I was asked to say a prayer over dinner at the table of Fort Huachuca's commanding officer, Major General John Custer and his wife, Audrey. I learned later my place at the table had only very recently been occupied by Senator John McCain. Imagine my relief that something had guided me to open my prayer with gratitude to the Major General and his wife, the other officers and guests at the table, and most of all my friend and the true guest of honor, Holocaust survivor Albert Rosa and his daughter, Regina.

Fort Huachuca, an electronics intelligence base only 8 miles north of the Mexican border, once served as the home to the Buffalo Soldiers, including the 10th Calvary, and had been the base from which General John J. Pershing set off to capture Pancho Villa during the Mexican war. Today, the base's leaders recognize their soldiers come into the Army with virtually no cross-cultural experience, no sense of other worlds or other cultures outside of their own. Each month they host an event focusing on other cultures and differing world experiences. Tomorrow, Albert Rosa, Regina, and I will help lead a Day of Remembrance ceremony devoted to the Holocaust.

Other participants tomorrow will include Mr. Lou Broitman, Fort Huachuca's Jewish lay leader.

I am, at best, hand maiden to our visit and the event tomorrow. Lieutenant Colonel Francesca "Ox" Ziemba contacted me and asked if I could provide a speaker, and my first thought was Albert, who has already spoken to military groups in Southern California and Canada. That Regina could join him made it possible for Albert to travel. That I could be a third wheel is truly a gift, for which I am and will remain grateful.