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Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Yes that means we are busy with guests at the inn, but also we are taking time to reflect on what Memorial Day is all about. While it is nice that we associate the day with the beginning of summer fun and BBQ's, etc. the day is really about remembering that freedom is not free.
During my time in the US Navy, which changed my life, I had the honor to serve my Country. I am still proud of my service and believe that everyone should "give back" at some point in their life - whether military, church, Kiwanis, Big Brothers Big Sisters or the Peace Corp. Just give back -
While I will remember all service members on Monday, one that will hold a special place in my thoughts will be my friend Angela Santos aka "Ace". She was a wonderful, caring young lady who died much too soon. Please take a minute today out of your day to think about our service men and women, who made the ultimate sacrifice.
1988 - On April 14 at 8 p.m., a car bomb exploded in front of the USO Club in Naples, Italy. Five people died and fifteen were injured, including four U.S. servicemen who were injured and US Navy Petty Officer Angela Santos, 21, was killed. Junzo Okudaira, a Japanese Red Army (JRA) member, was indicted in the United States on April 9, 1993 for the Naples bombing. Okudaira is also a suspect in the June 1987 car bombing and mortar attack against the U.S. Embassy in Rome.
Angela Santos: Love Lives On
April 23, 1988|By Sandy Coleman of The Sentinel Staff
OCALA — Outside the church, the sun shone brightly Friday. Inside, a cloud of sadness filled the room as friends and family mourned Angela Simons Santos, who joined the Navy to see the world and returned home its casualty.
Santos, 21, a Navy petty officer third class, was killed April 14 in a terrorist bomb blast in Naples, Italy.
Her military funeral at the Presbyterian Church at Marion Oaks began at 1 p.m. with her favorite thing -- music. A recording of her soft soprano voice drifted from speakers as she sang a song honoring her dead grandmother.
Santos' mother, Ellie Cruz, brother Jimmy Santos, 18, and father James Santos sat near her casket. Her brother Tony Cruz, 8, sister Jennifer Cruz, 5, and about 20 friends sat nearby.
Other mourners included Navy personnel, Gov. Bob Martinez and U.S. Rep. Buddy MacKay, D-Ocala.
''As we sit here today,'' the Rev. David Omerod began, ''there is a certain feeling of unreality . . . It is hard to imagine that something that happened all the way around the world brought us here.''
More than 350 mourners, many of whom who knew Santos as a beautiful, shy girl, listened closely to the minister's words and searched for comfort.
''Angela did not want to die. God did not want her to die. She died at the hands of unforgiving men. And now we mourn her death hoping for one more smile, one more touch, one more hug that cannot be ours.''
The church choir Santos was a member of for more than a year sang one of her favorites, ''I Will Not Be Afraid.''
Virgina Robb, a choir member and close friend of Santos, had said Thursday that singing the song would be one of the most difficult things she has ever done.
''The words are so appropriate for her,'' said Robb, 68, who was flattered that someone as young as Santos would start a friendship with a woman her age. Santos was at a party at the Naples USO club when a car bomb exploded on the narrow street outside. Four Italians also died and 17 people were injured, including four U.S. sailors.
But the bomb's impact was much wider, said Rear Adm. John Koening as mourners waited outside the church for the funeral to begin.
''It's a sad day for our entire world for a young man or young woman to give up their life in such a senseless manner,'' he said. ''The sadness is compounded by the fact that at any moment, an act of terrorism can take place. No one is safe. We are all affected.''

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