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In Potter's Field: A Moment With Bill Reflection

Updated on January 12, 2014

From Richard Provencher

“In Potter's Field


No name do I leave upon this
cross fashioned by a
man whose sole purpose
to lay at rest souls such as mine

without gain or notoriety among
the poor whether produce or
building of stone nor bank accounts
to claim as my own.”

The Civil War Memorial on Hart Island
The Civil War Memorial on Hart Island | Source

To Hart Island We Go

Hart Island is a 101 acre potter’s field in New York City and is the largest tax-funded cemetery in the world. Burials have been held there since the Civil War, and it was sold to New York City in 1969. Today there are over 800,000 dead buried there and about 2,000 new burials happen each year. The dead are buried in trenches. Babies are buried in coffins and stacked five high and twenty across. Adults are also buried in coffins and stacked three high and two across.

There are no individual markers to identify those buried at Hart Island, and burial ceremonies have not been held there since the 1950’s. The dead are buried by inmates from Riker’s Island Prison, and every 25-50 years, burial trenches are re-used, allowing for sufficient decomposition of the remains of previous burials.

The permanent residents of Hart Island are the homeless, the indigent and those who could not afford a proper burial or who were unclaimed by relatives when they died. Approximately 50% of the burials are children under five years of age.

Hart Island is one of thousands of potter’s fields around the world.

My one and only poem

The Homeless, the Indigent and the Unclaimed

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.

Dalai Lama

I was raised by loving parents and surrounded by a loving family and friends. I have never been unloved since I was adopted at the age of nine months. Even during my darkest times I knew there was love waiting for me if I could just learn to accept it. If I were to die tomorrow people would be aware…people would mourn…people would mark my passage in their memory files and occasionally call upon them with fond remembrances. It is that way for most of us, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

In 2005 it was estimated that there were over 100 million homeless people in the world. Who will mourn them when they die? Which potter’s field will they call their own when they take their last breath?

In 2008 it was estimated that 2.8 million people were the victims of human trafficking in the world. Men, women, children, sold into slavery, often times for sexual exploitation; when they die, who will mourn? Who will even know of their deaths? Which potter’s field will they call their own when they take their last breath?

Today over 400 million abandoned children live on their own around the world. They struggle to survive and many, sadly, do not. Who will know when they perish? Which potter’s field will they call their own when they take their last breath?

It is estimated that over 700 million human beings of the current 7 billion will die unknown. About one of every fourteen people will die unloved and invisible. If you are reading this from an industrialized nation like the United States, you are probably saying “yes, how sad, but thankfully this happens in Third World Nations and does not affect me.”

Wrong!

You pass by them daily whether you live in Calcutta or Detroit. Whether you are a resident of Stillwater, Oklahoma or Bangkok, you see them and yet don’t see them.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The Statue of Liberty!

Yes, give us your tired, your poor, the homeless….but…..we have our own, too, and we don’t know who they are, and we can’t deal with our own, and what the hell are we going to do with more, I mean we only have so much room at Hart Island and we can’t bury them any deeper but wait, maybe we could bury them at sea, would that be alright, just dump them off of a barge and let the crabs and flounders feed and be joyous for another problem is solved.

The Nature of the Beast and the Beast Is Us

Over 12 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States. Millions more are abandoned in rural areas, unwanted, uncared for and forgotten as soon as they are dumped from a vehicle.

The average American discards 4.43 pounds of garbage daily. Unwanted and forgotten, tossed to and fro when our needs are met.

We are a convenience society, and if something fails to be convenient we dump it, whether that something be a used television set or a human being.

The faces have names

It Is Incomprehensible to Me

We are born. We are loved. We die. We are remembered. That’s the natural order of life, is it not? How can it be otherwise? How is it possible to be born and just discarded? A living, breathing compilation of hopes, dreams and possibilities, tossed to the curb, stepped over, ignored and sentenced to a life of abandonment; how is that possible?

The answers to that question are, of course, many. 800,000 nameless souls reside at Hart Island and each one had a different story. Lost jobs, victims of crime, disease, divorce and bankruptcy; mental illness, drug addiction, alcoholism and neglect; all different and yet all the same statistic in a fifteen-foot deep trench stacked five high like an underground cord of wood.

What does it say about our society? What does it say about our government? And yes, what does it say about us?

As I mentioned earlier, I was adopted at nine months. Prior to my adoption I was shuttled from one foster home to the next, nine total, and during those first nine months I was never nurtured. I was “suffering” from “Failure To Thrive Syndrome.” According to Families.com:

“Failure to thrive is exactly what it sounds like: your infant, for whatever reason is not gaining enough weight and ‘thriving‘. Perhaps your baby is missing developmental markers as well, such as rolling over, smiling, and/or cooing. Failure to thrive can have so many causes that it may take awhile to diagnose exactly why your infant may not be gaining weight.”

In my case, I had not gained normal weight, I was listless and I was still blind. Within two weeks after being adopted, I gained my sight and began gaining weight. I was loved and in a safe environment and that made all the difference in the world in order for me to thrive as a human being.

But what if I had not been adopted? Would I have thrived? Would I have ended my days in a potter’s field?

SOLUTIONS?

I have none. I do not know how to solve the homeless problems in the world, nor do I know how to end abandonment of children or drug abuse or the hundreds of other causes that lead to a potter’s field.

I only know that I cannot act like it does not exist. I believe with every fiber of my being that I can make a difference in this world one person at a time. To believe otherwise is to throw up my hands and admit defeat, to say that life has beaten us all, for what happened to those 800,000 at Hart Island could just as easily happen to you, or me, or one of our relatives or loved ones.

I was born for a higher purpose than to roll over and concede defeat, and I was born for a higher purpose than to turn my head when I see a wrong and ignore it.

And so were you!

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, thank you for that great reflection. I lived on the streets; it is no problem finding lost and lonely people on the streets. We don't forget experiences like that, do we? :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      When I graduated college I moved to NYC and for the first week did not have an apartment. I stayed in a run down hotel for women in Manhattan and it was such an eye opener for me. It was filled with sad, lost older women who had no one, just a social security check which paid for their weekly room rental. These women roamed the halls, many made up garishly or dressed poorly because no one looked after them. I vowed that that would never happen to me, but one never knows what can happen in life. I imagine many of those women ended up in Hart Island cemetery. I don't think people realize how many "lost" and "alone" people there really are in this world. Wow, this hub really brought home that memory for me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Dianna! Thank you so much for buying a t-shirt. Wear it proudly my friend. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Here in this part of the country the funding for the homeless is minimal and with the lack of good job opportunities more people are trying to find ways to cope. Homelessness is not just those who are of a certain stature, it affects children too. Very touching story. By the way, I got my H.O.W. T-shirt this week and plan on wearing it this weekend to the football game.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, that is the hope I cling to, that it will happen sooner rather than later. Bless you my friend and thank you for being you.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You are so right. This is a society that wants to throw away and forget. Last month, a fellow worker had her tip money stolen. I gave her $20, no questions asked. Today, I gave $50 to a friend from work who has not has it easy so she could get an artificial Christmas tree for her kids this Christmas. I wish this world didn't revolve around money. One day, it would be nice to hear that we have all made a difference. I think it might happen.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, what a startling revelation that is about your sister-in-law, and what a vivid reminder that all people deserve to be treated with dignity, in life and in death. Thank you for sharing that event in your life. Blessings to you always my friend.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Thank you for sharing a little bit more of you, Bill. Your story of adoption helps remind me that a little bit of love goes a long way toward making a difference in the path that a person travels. My husband's mother passed away last week. His sister has the authority to make the decision about what happens to her body upon death. Without consulting with other family members, she decided to have the body cremated with no service of any type. "Like I did with my cat." That was her explanation. When I read your story today about the homeless and how people are treated when they die, after hearing how my husband's sister had no more use or concern for her dead mother, I can see how other people might feel about people they don't know. Just bury them and not give a care. I like your H.O.W. movement. I believe that one person - caring about one other person - can make a difference to a lot of people.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dahlia, potter's fields are all around the world and I can't think of anything sadder than dying without anyone knowing about it or caring.

      Thank you dear lady.

      blessings are yours....from me

      bill

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is really sad, I did not know about these potters field before. As you say, we all can make a difference, one person at a time. Let us hope for that. Have a good weekend Bill.

      Sending you blessings.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rebecca, I agree. I found that surprising as well.

      Thanks for the visit and enjoy your weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vkwok, it is sad indeed....sigh!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

    • Rebecca Furtado profile image

      Rebecca Furtado 3 years ago from Anderson, Indiana

      I read one of your source articles about the islands of New York. I am surprised with real estate so prime there the smaller ones still unoccupied.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Its especially sad that so many children are buried there.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wayne, then you know for sure what this is all about. I am not a funeral person either, but I am all for people at least being recognized as having lived on this planet. Yes, you know.

      Thank you Sir!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mel and I agree completely. It is too easy to ignore this problem...just toss a few quarters at the homeless and when they die we aren't bothered with it....just another day in Paradise my friend.

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Had to find this one after your comments on my poem. This is indeed a very sad situation, and one that I have seen firsthand having worked around a potters field. The handmade markers and trenches with numbers only are something that I'll never forget. I'm not sure that we all need such elaborate funerals, but it is gut wrenching to think of those who passed without anyone even noticing. They were buried away and forgotten. Sad. thank you for sharing this Billy.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      I think the first step to curing the homeless problem would be to acknowledge that a great many of the homeless are not just useless bums, but have legitimate issues that make them unable to integrate into society, as you alluded to. Beautifully written, heart stirring hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree, DDE, it is sad indeed. Maybe we can change that?

      Thank you!

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Incredibly powerful hub Bill. It's sad, but it is true and there's no way to hide it or sugar coat it. Sometimes, although not a surprise, I think animals are more "humane" that humans are!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      It is sad of how people think of another human being only because what they have or possess makes them so different

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So will I, Alicia; so will I. :) Thank you!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very informative hub, Bill, as well as being very sad. I'll be thinking about the statistics that you've quoted for a long time.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I knew you had been AWOL for awhile but I didn't know why. I'm sorry to hear you are not on HP....have you switched to Bubblews as so many have? Well, whatever, thank you for stopping by my friend. I hope you are well and know that I appreciate you very much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I believe that, Faith, and I believe I have a purpose as well. I think I have found my purpose....and I'm going to keep raising awareness every chance I get. Those who are down deserve a voice.

      blessings and love to you my friend

      bill

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      How very sad that people are burried without markers, but the glad fact is that God knows. It breaks my heart when i think you were blind until you found a loving home, so many today have not found that love that is so important for survival. Thank you for sharing. I am not writing on Hubpages, so i have missed some important writing from you. Keep up the good work my friend..

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Bill, you know how I feel on this issue of the homeless and the only thing I do know for sure is that all of us are capable of something, anything ... love is the answer and from there all things are possible, I truly believe it.

      Our hearts must be changed and eyes opened to those humans, those children ... I cannot think of the children, especially, without the tears flowing. This is America and there is no reason in my eyes why anyone should ever go hungry! It makes no sense at all. Really, there is no reason for one person on this whole planet to go hungry. We do need to be mindful that we may be next due to circumstances beyond our control.

      Thank you once again for this stirring and haunting hub here. We must never forget that a human life is just that ...human, a person with dreams, fears, feelings and needing to be acknowledged in this life by someone ...anyone! I know I have a specific purpose in this life too, above and beyond my own self, as we all do.

      God bless you,

      Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Reba, I echo your words. It begins with love, which seems to be in short supply in the Halls of Congress. These matters must be addressed. Far too many people are dying unnoticed and uncared for and it breaks my heart.

      Thank you dear lady.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kimmie, thank you my friend. That's what a want...an honorable ending to their lives. I think that's the least any of us can expect. I appreciate your words and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Kimmie Thompson profile image

      Kimmie Thompson 3 years ago

      Bill this is a very touching hub. You have made us recognize the need to honor those who were buried with no name, no family, and no memory, left alone in the cold ground. This makes me so sad. I too do not have an answer for the homeless but acknowledging their existence is surely a start. Thank you dear friend for doing this honorable hub.

      God bless you,

      Kimmie

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 3 years ago

      Thank you, dear Bill, for your consciousness raising hub. I remember the cartoon Pogo: "We've met the enemy, and he is us." Indeed we are our own worst enemies.

      To address all of the horrific ills of existence on Mother Earth, we all must resolve that we are going to love. Then after that, we must formulate as to what love is. I believe that if we put love into action, we stop overpopulating the planet. We choose adoption above creating yet another human being until there are no more children left to adopt. We stop over consuming, and learn to live green and sustainably. We stand up and are counted when an injustice is committed.

      I have been thinking of late of the top 1% and how they could help enormously to end poverty on this planet if they were not so bloody selfish and materialistic. But we can't wait for them or anyone else to do what we can do at this very moment.

      As ever, your beautiful heart and spirit shine through in your writing, Bill. Thank you for being that beacon of light for which the world is crying out!

      Blessings,

      Reba

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I will keep shining the light...I am driven to write about this stuff and I will follow my heart. Thank you dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rebecca, one would hope so, but the reality is the only ones there to say goodbye are prisoners. :) Sad indeed.

      Thank you for the visit.

    • Rebecca Furtado profile image

      Rebecca Furtado 3 years ago from Anderson, Indiana

      This is just heartbreaking. I would hope that there would be at least some groups to remember the dead at the potters field. Those who are buried there should be remembered by name occasionally.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, impressive writing as always, but also deeply disturbing. The ugly truth is often hard to face, so we just brush it under the carpet and hope it goes away. Keep shining that light my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, all I know to do is raise awareness and hope that some government agency sees the need and comes up with the answers. Shame on us all my friend...not just you. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope we do, Anna! I hate the thought of people dying and nobody knowing about it or caring. Just seems to be to be beneath us as a society. Thank you for your thoughts my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martie, thanks for that great comment. I have always believed that some sort of service should be mandatory in order to receive assistance. People need to regain their self-esteem and not just receive a handout....of course there will be problems with that system as well, but that is true of any system. We could make it work in this country if our leaders had any vision at all.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      How sad Bill. I had never herd of Hart Island or Potter's Field until now. Guess I never stopped to consider what happens to all of the homeless people when they die. Shame on me. There is a lot of misery in this world. I don't have the answers either.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      This was so sad.

      We feel the pain and are so desperate to make a difference. I think you do, by highlighting this travesty of human rights.

      Everyone deserves to be loved and secure, and collectively we need to find a way to make this a reality.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      Touching article, Bill! As it takes all kinds to make a world it also takes all kinds to make a Hart Island. I have learned the hard way, as usual, how to distinguish between the good the bad and the ugly. There are many good people who suffer poverty and loneliness because they are not loved, but down here, believe me, just as many bad and ugly people, if not more, roam the streets, not interesting in anything else but the food and drugs they can buy with the pennies they manage to get either via begging or stealing. Not even interested in the shelters and schools to their proposal.

      I was impressed with Holland's government. They are willing to support their poor, but then the poor has to work somewhere, in any of the services - hospitals, municipalities, police, etc., doing odd jobs for at least a couple of hours per week without receiving remuneration from the specific service. Of course, the old and the ill fall in another category....

      Anyway, every country tries to handle this worldwide crisis the best they can.... and every individual, i believe, may eventually make a difference :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No reason to apologize to me, DJ! I invite opinions and reactions. I just don't allow name-calling or attacks on commentators. :) I agree that we are raising a lazy, complacent and apathetic generation, and can you imagine how their kids will turn out? That's what is truly frightening about our current generation...them as parents. :)

      Thanks for expressing your opinion my friend.

      bill

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      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      This article breaks my heart, Bill.

      We are so busy trying to keep our own relatives' heads above water.....

      and it never ends. It is not just the younger ones, but older seniors,

      as well.

      Most of the situations that you address are victims, many not of their own doings.

      But, some people are just stupid. And, it is like the stand up comedian says, "You can't fix stupid!"

      Again, I say, you are addressing situations where people are not to blame.

      But, we have raised a "No Fail" generation, some who could not read, but were graduated out into a world where they can go have babies because the government will pay for unemployment, food stamps and the next baby which is on the way. Here, I refer to my husband's great niece. She is perfectly able to work, but she has her two kids by different daddies, lives with her widowed grandmother who is in her mid 70's, has her obama phone and just does not see the need to work.

      There is so much wrong in this world. I say we start to made changes

      for those who cannot help them selves.

      Then we absolutely must stop rewarding laziness!

      My daughter-in-law taught in high school until those tall young men

      students looked her in the eyes and said, "You cannot fail us. And, there is nothing you can do to MAKE us learn." That was the last year she taught.

      So, again I say. All in all, we are in a world of hurt.

      It is a heart breaking situation all around the world.

      And, today, my giver is just about give out! (Bad Day)

      So, Bill, check with me before you publish a "save the world" campaign.

      Poor man. You never know what I am going to throw at you!! Sorry....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cygnetbrown, you make excellent points my friend. I am amazed by the attitude of some about the homeless. It could happen to practically anyone in today's economy, so judge not.....

      Thank you for your comment and compassion.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      We often think about people in need during the holiday season. One year in February, I was in line with a couple who was buying a cart filled with food for the local mission because people forget about the needs of others after the holidays. Your article reminds me that people are in need every day, not just holidays.

      Your article reminds me as well of the verse in the Bible that tells us not to turn away those in need who come to our door. The homeless and the needy are often criminalized just because they are destitute. You remind us that but for grace, we could be in the same shoes as those who come to us in need.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ann and I'd bet that you do have them over there...the concept began in Europe...it's even mentioned in the Bible. :) There but for the grace of God indeed my friend.

      bill

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      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      I'd never heard of the term 'potter's field'; how sad it is that so many are laid to rest (hopefully) in such an undignified way. I don't know if we have anything of the kind in Britain; I hope we don't. What we do have, of course, are homeless people and homeless children. Your story of 'failing to thrive' is so interesting - isn't it amazing what nurturing and love can do? There but for the grace of god..... And it is up to all of us to take any opportunity to do something to help. Great hub, bill. Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Valleypoet....I don't do it often any longer because it affects my mood for days...so I pick and choose my times and causes now. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Brandi....I always pass to Joe for profound words. :)

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      Valleypoet 3 years ago

      You have quoted some very sad, and alarming statistics here Bill..and how often we don't think of it as a problem onour own doorstep. I have great respect for you raising awareness of these human tragedies...:-))

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Very inspiring Billy! I agree with Joe! He had some very brilliant ways to say it and I can say it no better than that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ah, Joe, what a wonderful point you made...by feeling sadness it confirms our humanity. How true is that? We can take a break from Honey Boo Boo and show our humanity...so there is hope my friend. :)

      Thank you! I hope you know how much I appreciate you.

      Aloha

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, that is my hope, and as long as there is hope we have a chance. Thank you Sir!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Bill, I feel sad after reading this article. I had no idea about the burial scheme at Potter's Field. As the inmates provide their services, how many of them think that they just might be getting a preview of their own final resting place?

      I like that you are realistic about the dilemma of no solutions and yet promote the stance that we each can make a difference. You certainly are doing your significant part by raising awareness and motivating so many via your talented writing.

      Not bad...not bad at all...for a long ago infant with failure to thrive syndrome.

      Apart from your writing, Bill, your life itself is an amazing story!

      Thank you for the sadness that I feel this morning. It confirms that I am not so busy and preoccupied that I can detach myself from the woes of humanity.

      Aloha, my friend!

      ~Joe

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      cleaner3 3 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      great hub ..Bill,

      when one observes the world we live in.. it is sad .. technology has made our souls dark and uncaring. the young people do not think about the future .. most do not even care about next week much less twenty years down the road.. we are in trouble..

      keep tooting that horn Bill... maybe a few may even hear it and answer the call.!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I actually know that answer....originally people were buried in fields that had a lot of clay in the soil because crops couldn't be raised in clay soil.....the clay, obviously, morphed into potter's....so potter's field, or field made of a substance that a potter would use. :) And yes, they are buried in a human landfill.

      love,

      bill

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow. I just finished the video. It makes me want to cry. Thank God there are organizations out there like Joppa that are reaching out to the homeless. Every one of the people interviewed in the video had a 'normal' life prior to becoming homeless. It really makes you think twice about bitching about your own life.

      The statistics regarding Hart Island almost made me want to puke. Not only are the numbers staggering, but the inhumane way the dead are buried is just beyond my comprehension. It sounds like a human landfill. Sad and disgusting.

      BTW, why are these burial sites called potters fields?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, when things slow up October 1st I will consider your suggestion....thank you for caring and yes, we can make a difference.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Janine....I always feel better knowing there are people like you who care.

      Have a wonderful day my friend; my day has just begun and articles await.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, they are an opportunity for you and I to get it right, one person at a time. : ) I know you know this my friend. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us all. The numbers are staggering and getting worse....all we can do is our part....reach out....and love.

      love,

      bill

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      You are singing my song Bill and we could make a difference really. If the American people would insist the homeless be given housing and food stamps and jobs before strangers from other countries then our problem would be solved, or pretty much. Maybe they can't hold a job, so what? We are supporting others not citizens who don't. We need to stand up and be heard...and say who we want to give "our " money to because it really is as simple as that if we all told our representatives that is what we want they must listen and will! This would be a good one Bill, bet you know how to get petitions out there and get the ball rolling...you already have supporters that could get probably a hundred more each and so on and so on......next thing you know it might be billybuc for president! (Not kidding though overall)

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      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jeff! I guess I feel pretty strongly about this subject; nobody should die unwanted and unknown.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Incomprehensible how this can happen, but it does and just so scary that it does indeed exist in our society. Thanks Bill for sharing your thoughts and feeling on this by reminding us of all that does exist and can happen to any of us. Seriously left me pondering so much here and more. Thanks again for being a bit of our moral consciousness again and wishing you a great work day ahead now!

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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very good article. I was amazed at some of your statistics. I know my refuse is about a pound a day as one paying attention knows these things. So if the average is 4.3 what the heck?

      Sometimes I just bow my head and though it is skewed I say to myself: The homeless are not a problem for me, they are opportunities for even a low life like me, to help another.

      Great hub bill thank you

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      Maria Jordan 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      As I was running a very difficult teen group as a brand new nurse, one 17yo girl just kinda took over...she told the others to never judge, to never make fun. She explained how her birth Mom had thrown her in a trash bin as a new born...how she was discovered, fought her way through several rough foster situations and was now on the right path. She was beautiful and I know I will never forget her...

      We never know and we all need a spark of an opportunity. Thank you for always making us think and want to do better for others, Bill.

      Have a great day. Love, Maria

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      JThomp42 3 years ago

      What a sad, but oh so true article. I think most people's greatest fear is to die alone and unwanted. A homeless person dies, who cares. A famous person dies, it is all over the news. We are all human beings who deserve respect in death. Very poignant article indeed my friend.