On book tour, Brew and I try to visit National Park units as often as possible. These landmarks include well-known parks such as Yellowstone or The Great Smoky Mountains, but also encompass National Scenic and Recreation Trails, as well as National Historic Sites.


My history teacher husband loves to wander slowly past the placards at the historic sites, while I usually chase our daughter through battlefields, inside of preserved buildings, and around commemorative statues.  These indoor, and outdoor, museums do an incredible job of preserving and re-telling significant moments in American History. Some of our most memorable stops include the Brown vs. the Board of Education Memorial in Kansas, and Appomattox Court House in Virginia, the Vicksburg Battlefield in Mississippi and the John Brown Farm located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.


This Mother’s Day we stopped to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which commemorates the 1995 federal building bombing in which 168 lives were lost. The beautiful monument does an incredible job of relaying the loss and gravitas of the April 19th attack. As a mom, I felt acutely affected by the death of 19 children in the building and three pregnant women. And my heart went out to all the mom’s who lost their adult children in the attack, and the children and husbands of the mothers who would never return home.

OKC Memorial2

This is only my second year to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mom. And, on this holiday I am thankful for the strong and intelligent woman who raised me as well as the beautiful 18-month old child who brings challenges and joy into my life. But I can’t help but feel that this day is about more than flowers or a nice brunch – or my immediate family.


Mother’s Day is a time when every man and woman should feel connected to the universal concept of creating, sustaining and nourishing life. As a mother, I can attest, WE need help. It takes a village to raise our children. And as a community we not only need to do a better job or sustaining and preserving Mother Earth, but we also need to be better stewards to children in our neighborhoods around the world.


We need to fight for human rights, and detest acts of violence and ignorance – particularly against children. Tragedies like the Oklahoma City bombing should not occur. The kidnapping of over 200 girls in Nigeria by a terrorist group should not occur. I don’t know how to personally stop or prevent these heinous crimes and onslaughts of evil. But I do know that I feel connected to them, I feel hurt by them, and I want to fight against them.


It is with a sense of helplessness, hope and solidarity, that on this Mother’s Day I am praying for the safe rescue of the girls in Nigeria. I am praying that they will not be sold and trafficked as a sex slave. I am praying for the parents who have lost children, and children who have lots parents through terrorist attacks such as the Oklahoma City Bombing and at the World Trade Center collapse, and I am praying for those directly affected by inexplicable and incomprehensible mass-shootings at schoolsand public places.

OKC Memorial

I think the Oklahoma City Memorial and National Historic Site was so powerful, because, in one place, it conveyed emotions of loss, life, unity, tragedy, perseverance and hope. It makes you feel connected to something greater than yourself. No matter your age, or gender, it made you feel like a mother.