OPEN LETTER TO:  EMMYLOU HARRIS (HUGELY SPIRITUAL) Re: “BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY” (YouTube video) Article by Calvin Schwartz  April 29th 2021

OPEN LETTER TO:  EMMYLOU HARRIS (HUGELY SPIRITUAL) Re: “BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY” (YouTube vide) Article by Calvin Schwartz  April 29th 2021


I am compelled to share this most unusual (spiritual based) story with you; just can’t make this “stuff” up. For credibility purposes, at the end, I’ll share some of my background. It always looks good on paper.

Also, I’ll try to be brief, but it’s worthwhile.

Here goes. Friday night (April 23rd), bored, I looked for something to watch on Amazon Prime. I stumbled on the movie “Bang the Drum Slowly” from 1973 with Robert DeNiro and Michael Moriarity. I had seen it decades ago, but remembered this haunting song played throughout. I also remember liking the song.

Note (spiritually) 4.44K LIKES last Friday 4/23 night

Movie over, I went to YouTube to find another rendition. There was Emmylou Harris and the Memorial Day 2017 video/song of “Bang the Drum Slowly.” First thing I noticed on top right of page, 4.44K likes to the video. That grabbed me. 444 (part of my 2nd novel almost finished) is the sign of angelic intervention. (The screen print attached left) 444-A very long story. Not for now.

I watched, listened and was haunted wondrously by Emmylou’s voice and the song, and the video of the procession, people mourning at Arlington National Cemetery gravesites, Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I do have obsessive tendencies when I like something. So, I watched, listened, drifted into my own world of remembrances, spirits, for three hours straight.

Saturday morning (April 24th),  I got up and proceeded to watch Emmylou’s YouTube video and listened also in the background for hours. It was becoming transformative for me. Long story.

But there in the video at 2:30 mark out of 4:50 was a quick shot at a soldier bending over the grave of Michael Luis Gonzalez. It didn’t register with me. But after viewing Emmylou’s video forty times, something came to me. I have a dear friend from eleven years ago. I’m a journalist with NJ Discover and did a story and video for and for Hoop La Ha (now Only Good News) on Ida Gonzalez whose son Michael died in Iraq.



After Michael’s passing, Ida became a Gold Star mother and devoted her life to helping “assist those in need, primarily focusing on veterans, service members and their families through Butterfly Circle of Friends.”  So I finally made the connection confirming the dates on the grave stone and realized this shot in Emmylou’s video was of Michael Luis Gonzalez, Ida’s son!

Since meeting Ida and our video of Ida’s story  “Memorial Day: A Mother’s Journey to Light”  I have supported Butterfly Circle of Friends. IDA’S 2 MINUTE  VIDEO “Memorial Day: A Mother’s Journey to Light”

How strange as if I was spiritually manipulated throughout this process. I messaged Ida Friday night to see if she knew about Michael in Emmylou’s video.  She didn’t, but messaged me that she knew her son Michael used me through Emmylou’s video to reach her. Here is her response to me. Of spiritual note, Ida wrote me that Saturday morning at 11:11 am; the other numerical sign of angelic intervention.

FROM IDA GONZALEZ  Facebook Message on Saturday morning April 24th

11:11 AM

Ida sent Today at 11:11 AM

Hi Cal, First time I have seen the heard song and seen video. The picture is of Michael’s Sgt from Iraq, it was from a Memorial Day I forget what year. Cannot tell you how many times it has been used in meme’s and just things. Which makes me smile because the more it is shared than the more people read Michael’s name. I am not sure what Michael wants me to know either but he most certainly knows who he can use to get it to me.  Yes I BELIEVE as much as you do. Pedro and I are both doing well. Florida was not as strict with restaurants and things as NJ. Pedro received his first shot last week. I had ear surgery on Thursday so I wanted to wait to get mine. Glad Fran and you are well and are taking precautions. Ida

With Ida Gonzalez after Butterfly Circle of Friends Dinner Dance

VETERANS DAY honoring MICHAEL GONZALEZ in Spotswood NJ renaming street

 I’m always around working on my YouTube channel, “Conversations with Calvin; We the Species” if ever?

Thrilled to share with you all.

Wishing you only good things.




Here is Ida’s Facebook page:


CALVIN’S brief bio: I’m a journalist for, a Novelist (93% done with 2nd novel) and broadcaster, producing and co-hosting a local cable TV talk show here in central Jersey and serve on Advisory Committee of Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers RWJ Medical School, NJ Digital Newspaper Project at Alexander Library, Rutgers Business School Blockchain Hub Board of Advisors and Advisory Board of  And in September, 2019,  I taught a class in Career Explorations at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. And in September, 2020, started a series of YOU TUBE podcast interviews; “Conversations with Calvin; We the SpecIEs” focusing on diversity of content, people, careers.



MICHAEL LUIS GONZALEZ gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery
(Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post) StaffPhoto imported to Merlin on Mon May 31 16:29:01 2010

“A Washington Post photographer captured this private moment of Sgt Brian Scott paying respects to Spc Michael Gonzalez on Memorial Day of 2010. When this picture was placed in a Memorial Day article on the Washington Post website it became very public.  The picture has circulated on Facebook post and placed in Meme’s, liked, loved, commented on and shared thousands of times. Good, bad or indifferent makes me smile to see it shared.

Do people read his name on the headstone? If yes, do they Google to see who he was? Do they read the dates of birth and death? Do they understand that Operation Iraqi Freedom means he was KIA in Iraq? Do they know that BSM means Bronze Star Medal and PH means Purple Heart?  Was it noticed that “In God We Trust” is the last line on his headstone?”


NJ Discover video of Ida’s story (appearing on Hoop La Ha (now Only Good TV) “Memorial Day: A Mother’s Journey to Light”  I have supported Butterfly Circle of Friends.  A TWO MINUTE VIDEO PLESE WATCH!!!!


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