Tag Archives: Heroes

(Tweaked! Again! Sorry!) … Just one question for Worcester’s city council and city manager …

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There’s plenty of room on our Common for Worcester’s planned memorial to our city’s fallen African American W W II soldiers. Right here, for instance – the Franklin Street side of City Hall.        pics: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

… Why is Worcester’s planned memorial to our fallen African American W W II soldiers being erected at the Worcester Police Station?

Why not put the statue honoring our Black soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice right where it belongs? On the Worcester Common, along with all the other statues honoring Worcester’s fallen heroes?

There’s a slew of them on our Common –  in the middle of our soon-to-be revitalized downtown! Around and behind Worcester City Hall … they adorn the grass and trees that surround them even as we try (at least on holidays) to adorn them – lay wreaths braided with flowers or pine at their feet. We walk or drive by the stone and iron soldiers if we work in or visit the heart of our city. They make you think … put aside your work, dining, shopping obsessions for a few fleeting seconds to see something greater – a person’s life story, a city’s story, world history. The stone and iron soldiers come alive!

You can even build the new memorial to our Black WW II soldiers next to our John Power WW II monument that stands right outside our City Hall. The monument to our Black WW II heroes –  it was called the “Colored Citizens World War II Honor Roll Memorial” –  was once located in our African American Laurel-Clayton neighborhood but disappeared, along with the neighborhood!, when the interstate highway was built.  John Power is STILL with us – standing guard by Worcester City Hall (see my photo, above). So, truth be told, we will be building a new monument because we lost, destroyed, the old one! How can you “lose” a monument? What does that “loss” say about our city a few decades ago? Back then, how sacred to our city fathers were the memories of these dead African American soldiers – Black men from Laurel-Clayton, from Worcester?

Not very sacred at all.

Hell! There’s room for a tank or a couple of Jeeps to the right of the John Power statue. There John stands as the hip students walk by to get to their recently built dorms on Franklin Street …

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Soldier Power doesnt look hip at all! He looks like your average WW II grunt – ditch digger, mucking around in stinking trenches with penecillin pills, canned spam in his knap sack  –  but a KILLER too. Make no mistake! See the rifle slung over Power’s right shoulder and the long dagger in his left hand? He’s clutching the dagger ready for the fight – hand to hand combat – to the death probably. How can any city deprive a Black soldier, who fought the same fight, the honor we’ve bestowed on John Power? Power’s helmet is on askew cuz he’s in battle. He looks Irish – and a little cockey. Why can’t we humanize our dead African American soldiers this lovingly?

Why can’t Worcester’s Black community have the same thing? A touching yet tough depiction of men in war in stone?

Why stick our Black soldiers at the bottom of Bell Hill, at the Worcester police station, in the middle of a 20-way intersection, surrounded by ugly concrete (we’re talking the police station, too!) – a place where few will visit, stop to honor these men, think about them? A place where drug dealers, robbers, rapists and killers are flung?

Yes, the police station is a stone’s throw from the old Laurel-Clayton neighborhood, razed and replaced by the Plumley Village low-income public housing complex, home to many people of color – Blacks, included. Why not – I’m certain residents would be honored -put the monument there? It would be back at its real home. Placed before the entrance way to the buildings and high rise, lots of folks would stop and pay their respects.

Or is that the point? The intention (maybe subconscious) of Worcester City Leaders? To keep the monument to our fallen Black WW II Soldiers out of the public eye –  especially out of reach of the African American community?

And something else…to stop it from being a focal point, a symbol, a place for Blacks to gather, to remember, to rally, to teach … to protest. So often people come to their city or town common to express views, speech-ify … Protest! It’s been happening as long as there have been places where people chose to live together. A kind of gathering at the communal fire place! In America we’ve been doing it ever since our forefathers and mothers sailed into Plymouth Rock!

It’s happening still. All over. Especially with Black Lives Matter and, before that, Occupy Wall Street. It’s happening in Worcester. Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus has come down brutally hard on the BLM movement/rallies here, just as his predecessor City Manager I HATE ALL POOR RESIDENTS Mike O’Brien was hard with Occupy Wall Street protesters – refusing to meet with them, making sure they were off THEIR Worcester Common!

Would city leaders want a Black Lives Matter march to end at the “Colored Citizens World War II Honor Roll Memorial” on the Worcester Common? Would they want to see anyone give witness to pain, anger, racial discrimination in Worcester, “a city on the move”? Would they want a large crowd of folks agitating for change? In the middle of downtown?

Nope.

Is this what John Power died for?

*******

(P.S. Don’t let this happen, Bill Coleman and James Bonds!)

Super cool!!!!!!!

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Rosalie wants to join the WPD Vice Squad – for reasons other than crime-busting!

By Rosalie Tirella

I tell ya, this past week’s drug bust in the house next door to mine, in Worcester’s lower Vernon Hill neighborhood, was a blast! Not a bust! But a blast! All we gawkers/rubberneckers who watched the 15, maybe more, super cops converge on 48 1/2 Ward St. early one pretty spring morning quickly got sucked into the cool cool show and realized the Worcester Police Department Vice Squad and the Mass State Police vice crew are da bomb. Creme de la creme. A #1. Top of the pops. The BEST – ever. Super-Fly-Shaft-Popeye-Doyle deelish! The stuff of early Sly Stallone movies!

Cocky, happy warriors cuz they know they’re the good guys who are out to defeat the bad guys – the whore masters, drug pushers, machine-gun-packing post-pubescent pukes who destroy lives, families and (mostly) our Worcester inner-city neighborhooods.

The kind of men and women (EMTs and fire fighters included!) who pulled America through 9/11.

Trust me: They are worth every cent we taxpayers – mostly cowardly, out-of-shape losers who love to grouse about squandered dough tumbling down the fed/municipal government rabbit hole – pay them.

They’re our inner-city heroes! Never forget that!

You always read about the bad seed – the trigger-happy cop suffering from PTSD. You seldom read about the rest of the troops, the mostly good guys, who are in peak physical and mental shape. Agile of mind and body. The guys who enjoy the freedom and excitement of their jobs, the camaraderie of the investigation – and the raid.

The adreneline junkies!

Out to apprehend the junky junkies!

Like the Worcester vice squad cops who were outside my house a few days ago… They looked so freakin’ AMAZING in their basic tee shirts and jeans, their uniform of the streets. Their clothes fell so beautifully on their bodies because their bodies were beautiful – not an ounce of fat anywhere I could see – hard, sculpted muscles that were worked at and on in THE GYM. EVERY DAY.

Six pack abs, bulging pecs and biceps. Spring in their steps. Shaven heads, too. The guns they wore on the waistbands of their jeans were compact, hard-edged, stream-lined – just like they were. Everything about these guys was urban tough. Cuz they know what they’re up against.

Swoon …

I’ve seen these vice squad guys (and gals) and their German Shepherd and Belgian Shepherd drug-sniffing dogs do their work before, usually in our inner city, where poverty, despair, anger, depression, ignorance, emotional, sexual and physical abuse and exploitation of every stripe come together in relentless waves of bad luck and bad happenings.

Most people here never catch a break. They hurt and hurt … and kill each other mindlessly, pointlessly …

You drive through places like my Worcester neigborhood and witness the drug houses, dumped garbage, unemployed young men, obscenity-laced shouting matches playing out in the streets, the condemned buildings, abandoned property, undernourished little kids and feel … oppressed.

There’s beautiful stuff here, too – don’t get me wrong. I live on Ward Street for the beautiful stuff … like the poor parents who dress their little kids up so cute and adorable – transcending the badness … the kids who walk the family chihuahua after coming home from elementary school, in the ugly concrete parking lot, yet they look so happy as they trot alongside their feisty wee pet … The retired lady who picks up the trash strewn on the sidewalk, outside her front door. … My awesome 90-year-old apartment with its high ceilings, solid, heavy dining room doors that come together to slide shut, the original 90-year-old woodwork that is stained dark brown and looks so lovely against my creamy walls. I look out my top floor window at night and see the city lights twinkling like millions of little white flowers cast out onto a deep purple sea. I remember my late mom who grew up near by and her goodness enfolds me like the purple night enfolds the white city flowers …

Back to singing the praises of the Woo PD vice squad!

I’ve seen their Belgian shepherd dog go through a car on Canterbury Street sniffing for drugs. Nothing languid about that dog! A model of tough, lean, intrepid, single-minded thoroughness. With just the slightest prompt from his lean, cool cop handler the dog jumps into the car’s trunk to run his nose over every square millimeter of trunk space. Then jumping out of the trunk, always on lead, he leaps into the back seat sniffing wildly, then lithe paws straddle the front seat sniffing madly – then onto the dashboard. Finally, the car hood is popped open and the dog – smaller and more agile than a German Shepherd dog with an edgier temperment – crawls on top of (the now cold) engine! And he is losing himself in the car’s innards. To get at the drugs. This all happened in around five minutes.

Back to the raid next door to my place! Like I said, watching the Worcester PD Vice Squad or any of the cops and state police who pursue drug dealers and other vice is like watching a big budget cop movie in the cineplex. Only it’s happening in real life, real time, yards away from you!

I watched the show on Ward Street a few days ago: the cops opening up a drug dealer’s car and pulling stuff out of it. Paper work. Floor mats. Clip boards. Some of the guys were taking gulps from their bottled water. All were talking loudly, boisterously. The hood was theirs! The arrests had been made earlier, at a different drug house. There were several houses involved located in two states – there were a bunch of young men involved – all, sadly, in their mid-20s. Thousands of dollars in cash were recovered – and a machine gun, too! (thank you, NRA!) But no one had been hurt. The guns, heroin, cocaine, drug dealers are now gone! Poof! Out of my Ward Street neighborhood! Just like in the movies! (Or, some of them are gone, at the very least)

Our urban cavalry road in and saved the Woo day! Women and children are now a little – maybe a lot – safer when we walk down Ward Street.

And I’ll always remember the playfulness in the voice of one vice squad cop who said good bye to the young lady who had been watching him do his job from HER apartment window: “See ya later, Sweetie!”

Swoon …