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    • Remember Colin Powell
      Colin Powell was the first black secretary of state. He was the consummate insider, who climbed the military bureaucracy with great skill and vigor. A man who always knew what had to be done to get ahead and get along. In Vietnam, for example, he understood his role perfectly: his time as a young U.S. Army Major posted in Saigon, when, after the My Lai Massa […]
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Shock of the New

I can not imagine what they have been through. Think about what it must have been like getting to the airport, facing a crush of other desperate people, sitting on the floor of an overcrowded cargo plane, leaving everything you know behind to arrive at a strange place, in your strange clothes, or without shoes.

See the little ones having made a transition while in transit, arriving on American soil in jeans and T-shirts. What must have happened between Kabul and Washington. And they were the lucky ones. They escaped before the suicide bombers blew up the crowds where they recently stood.

There is a woman to the left flashing a peace sign while the man in the photo flashes his peace sign as he strides forward, the newest tempest tossed to arrive on our shores. We have forgotten in the past four years that that’s what this country is here for: to take in others and give them a new place to call home and for them to give us part of themselves in return in all their red and gold.

It’s heart warming. At least for now. Their struggles aren’t over. I once met a Syrian refugee in a Home Depot who singled me out to tell me about the anguish of leaving home, the difficulties his wife, a dentist, was having getting credentials to practice, his hours of work in his sponsor’s restaurant, his distress at the destruction of his home town of Palmyra. I thought he was going to have a breakdown in the carpet department. I often wonder about what happened to that man and his family as he struggled to adapt to his new country while he couldn’t and shouldn’t have let go of his old country.

So I wonder and worry about this family as they bring with them all the memories and traditions of their old country and learn to fit into the new. It’s easier for the younger ones. They’ve already been clothed by their new culture. But this just the beginning.

I hope they find peace here.

Our mayor says that Pittsburgh has been chosen as a place of resettlement for Afghan refugees. It was chosen for the resources, opportunities and reasonable cost of living. They probably couldn’t have chosen better. This is the city of bridges. It was built by the diversity of many cultures. It’s the home of Mr. Rogers. We welcome them to the Neighborhood.

The Jewish Family and Community Services organization of Pittsburgh, AJAPO Pittsburgh among others are aiding their transition.