Saturday, October 02, 2004

Lansing #2

Apolonia Rosas lost her 21-year-old son "Ricky" in the war. The weekly free newspaper in Lansing, did an advance story, dedicating the front cover to Eyes Wide Open. They used Ricky's boots and tag on the cover. Apolonia was buying pizza when she saw the picture.

Stunned, she called the organizers and talked with them. After hearing the purpose of the memorial, she came the night before to honor the Michigan soldiers and stayed most of the day on Thursday, returning late to visit her son's symbolic boots one last time.

At dusk, ending the closing ceremony, each family or their representative took the boots of the Michigan fallen from the capitol steps and returned them to the boots of their brothers and sisters on the lawn. Apolonia cried deeply, as though she were burying her son for a second time. But the memorial was also healing as she said she was grateful for the chance to be there.

She told me that she walked all of the rows of boots for all of the mothers who were not here, in the hope that one day they would walk the rows of boots for her son, when she was not there.

She wrote a note on the momento that she left. It said: "Where ever these boots may travel, my broken heart will follow. God bless America." signed "Ricky's mom." More from Lansing


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