VAM COMMENTS--- UNA 23 OCT 14 HOUSTON JUNIOR LEAGUE
Thank you, Madam Chair for those kind and gracious remarks. Not one of my conservative friends will believe a word of it! ----- This old codger is overjoyed to be here as an honored citizen of this community---- where my wife and I established our home, over 60 years ago. ----- But above that, I am grateful that I can still celebrate that significant event over a half century ago when I joined a few prophetic dreamers that were forming a new organization to be called the United Nations. Some of that group had experienced WW2, which was to be “the war to end all wars”! But a few of those old souls, and many here this evening, experienced WW2 only a few decades later. ---- Those pioneering folks were fed up with war, and envisioned the possibilities of a new relationship between nations wherein peace & justice could be fostered through out the entire human family. Though the dreams of those pioneering souls have not been extensively realized, we are making progress. Our great city still has an active chapter of that fledging UN; and the fact that we are here celebrating United Nations day is to our credit. Since that formative time for our UN over a half century ago, the larger more powerful nations; I’m sorry to say, have often chosen to bypass our United Nations, or to simply ignore its decisions. This was evident when we entered two undeclared wars in the Middle East over a decade ago! ---- Iraq had been a cultural center with a reasonable political peace. We destroyed their infrastructure, killed one hundred thousand of their inhabitants, caused a million of their citizens to leave their native land and created 50 percent unemployment. That venture will have cost us one trillion dollars and the loss of thousands of our own personnel. Today, there are weekly acts of terror there, the puppet political system we fostered has collapsed, radical groups are uprising and the Shiites & Sunnis are still feuding; as they have for a hundred years! We spent another one trillion dollars in Afghanistan; and the result has been similar! ----Now we are at a loss to explain the hatred being expressed toward our past & present presence. Someone has said, “If there is anything we learn from studying history, it is that we learn very little from studying history”. ---- How long, on Lord, how long? Just last week, our local Houston Chronicle published an article by David Brooks, a NY Times editor, in which he praised Houston as one of the outstanding, and most ethnically diverse and richest cities in America! But we still need over a hundred charitable enterprises to minister to our poor, the abused, the homeless, the underpaid, the orphan, the mentally ill, the blind, the addicts, the handicapped!---- I intend, in my remaining years, to continue supporting these groups committed to ministering justice to them--- and all creation.- with reverence. And after my demise, I hope to continue helping as I am able. Hear again, the words of one of my heroes, Martin Luther King, Jr, “Peace is not necessarily the absence of weaponry, but the presence of justice”. ------------
Thank you friends, for tonight, for this honor and for your love and forbearance over many years in this cherished community that continues to be my home.
Vince Maggio, 26 October 14