Primero que nada, Partagas Benji Master Series cigar... amazing. Smoking it right now. One of the best I've ever had.
Tonight, I missed meeting with my brothers from other mothers at our Eagle & Child forum. Instead, I attended the march organized by Emilio and Gloria Estefan to stand in solidarity with Las Damas De Blanco (the Ladies in White).
I don't know what the final numbers are, but I guarantee you there were several thousands gathered there today; mostly Cubans of course, but folks from different nationalities as well. Flags I saw represented there; Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, Spain, Colombia, Venezuela, United States of America.
Gloria Estefan gave an amazing speech, honoring Las Damas, and their peaceful and lonely battle for freedom. These women persevere; they are tenacious. As we were meeting in their honor, they were walking the streets of Havana, again, bruised and beaten; never giving up their struggle. Mr. and Mrs. Estefan walked with us; as did other local celebrities. Of course, most people couldn't help but notice they were there. But their celebrity status didn't seem to obscure the intent of the march. The crowd and the organizers did everything with great reverence and tact.
A prayer was given by a local clergyman. His prayer was powerful. A moment of silence was observed (it wasn't too long though. After all, we are Cuban and we don't deal with silence very well).
The National Anthem of our beautiful country, the land that lovingly embraced our parents and grandparents, was played and yes, sung by the throngs of people gathered their. I was so moved by it, I could barely sing along. Watching the American flags flying high next to the Cuban flags makes so much sense to me. A dance of red, white and blue, signifying pride and loss; life and liberty.
When the Cuban Anthem was played, there was pain in the voices. It was sung louder than the American Anthem of course. But still, one couldn't help but notice the mixture of pride and loss in the voices.
The best part of the march was being able to experience it with my 11 year old daughter, my father and my mother.
The "old guard" of Cubans was amazing to see too. These are the ones who really appreciate what the United States represents. You can see it in their sage faces. Their eyes have a wisdom from a life experience that has allowed them to appreciate this country as much as the greatest American patriot. They have felt the sting of oppression, and the exhilaration of liberty. I love being with them; especially my mom and dad. It's hard though, because even after more than 50 years, their wounds are still fresh.
It's late, I'm tired and I think I'm rambling. But most of all, I'm hurting tonight for the Cuban people; even for those who are inflicting pain on others who are crying out for that liberty. There is so much anger and rage and confusion in that place of loss and memory.
My little girl went to bed late tonight. She was really tired. She asked me if she should request a prayer for Las Damas tomorrow at school. I told her it was a great idea. I'll pray with her before she goes to school. I think I'll have a talk with God now too, over this cigar.