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Gracias a La Vida / Thanks to Life

Image by Tim Hill from Pixabay (

Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto
Me dio dos luceros que cuando los abro
Perfecto distingo, lo negro del blanco
Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado
Y en las multitudes el hombre que yo amo

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me two stars, which when I open them,
Perfectly distinguish black from white
And in the tall sky its starry backdrop....
And in the crowds the man that I love

It gave me hearing that, in all of its reach
Records night and day crickets and canaries,
Hammers and turbines, bricks and storms....
It gave me sound and the alphabet.

With them the words I think and declare:
"Mother," "Friend," "Brother…

It gave me this heart that shakes its frame,
When I see the fruit of the human brain,
When I see good so far from evil...

It gave me laughter and it gave me tears.
With them I distinguish happiness from pain
The two elements that make up my song,
And your song, as well, which is the same song.

The song, Gracias a la Vida, written by Violeta Parra of Chile, shortly before she took her own life in 1967, is a rich gift to the world. Violeta's writing made her a legend, and her devotion to the founding of Nuevo Cancion, the New Song Movement of Chile was adopted by other countries of Latin America. As the days were coming close to the observance of Memorial Day in the U.S., the song Gracias a la Vida kept running through my head. It just seemed that the memory of those who gave their lives should be recognized for the ultimate price they paid, and that if somehow, we concentrated on the wonders of life, we might find reasons to eliminate violence and war from our existence.

When will we stop the insanity of war? Over 110,000,000 military and civilian casualties alone in World War I and II. Let's also remember, as their own countries do, the memory of these brave citizens who honorably fought for their countries.

Anzac Day (Australia and New Zealand), Dodenherdenking (Netherlands), National Unity and Armed Forces Day (Italy), Remembrance Day (Britain and Canada), Armistice Day (Belgium), Volkstrauertag (Germany), Sambisa Memorial Day (Nigeria), Day of Remembrance and Sorrow (Russia, Belarus and Ukraine)

War does not have to be a given. We do not have to accept that we need to take up arms and show might over right. We are at a new global tipping point and demanding transparency from all of our governments and voicing our concerns publicly is possible and necessary. We will always honor Memorial Day because the vast loss of life is unforgettable. However, from here on out, let us strive to solve our problems with the voices of "people power" instead of "gun power."

With warm regards,


This message from Marilyn Turkovich, Executive Director of the Charter for Compassion, appears in our 05/31/2021 weekly newsletter. To sign up for our newsletter, scroll all the way down to the end of this page to get to the bottom menu, in the newsletter section enter your email address and click on subscribe.  

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