On this Veteran’s Day of 2019

Today, on November 11, also known as Veteran’s Day, where we remind ourselves to honor those who served.

This is the day to honor the 18.2 million veterans of the armed forces currently living in the United States. As of 2018 (according to the U.S. Census community survey), an estimated 50% of those veterans are age 65 and older, while 9.1% were younger than age 35. 1 and 12 overall, are women. About 6.3 million are Vietnam-era vets.

There’s more to all that, and most of us probably know a veteran who served, who may have been through combat duty or willing to go into that high level of danger, because they believe in our country that much. We thank them, and give share some extra treatment where we can, perhaps talk and discuss that service, share stories, be proud of them, and never forget. Others can understand, maybe be inspired, or delve more into the lives of those who served, while many among them still have there own battles to fight.

According to a recent report by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 6,139 Veterans in 2017 committed suicide, compared with 5,787 in 2005. About 5.1 are on disability. The number of Veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome varies by their time of service, where 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan related conflicts suffer from some form of PTSD. The last count by the VA in January 2018, estimates 37,800 living without a home on a night during that time. 

So yes, there is a lot more to this day than parades and social media shout outs, because what this entails is more than the day. Don’t forget, honor, keep communications, and be kind enough to help when needed, to those who served.

Orion T

The above shot was from the Columbia Tower this morning in Seattle to its Space Needle, with my decent zoom lens.

Global Climate Strike action, Seattle’s part

This last latest Friday, thousands of school students led thousands more activists into the streets of Seattle. This was in part of similar protests in over 2,500 connected events worldwide, adding to an unknown number surely in the millions, to protest accelerated climate change caused by human recklessness.

This global event on September 20th, is the first Global Climate Strike, inspired by 16-year old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Back in August 2018, Greta cut school to protest and call for climate action outside the Swedish parliament building. She started alone but soon joined by many others, gaining worldwide attention, and eventually this event powered by more youth.

So, here in Seattle, the strike was done to surprising numbers. A path of closed blocks led from its Capitol Hill district to the city hall in Downtown. Shortly after the noon, I would join the final city block, cheering on the movement.

I feel there is a concentrated push by ignorant people in power, and greedy corporations, and many who just don’t care…to disdain the countless science data and observations that allowing large amounts of poisons into the air and destroy precious ecosystems is causing harm to our planet. Then, harm comes back to us with difficult weather changes, stemming from those harmful effects.

But, will such activism really help and fix our problems in the long run? Well, that depends on what we do from such reaction. Becoming more involved and informed in politics, economics, making conscious decisions on our consumerism and social activity helps. Green renewable energy, recycling, push for compostable/biodegradable over plastic single-use products help. Fighting peacefully against ignorant forces in power through resistant protest and democracy also helps. A lot of this benefits, but the urgency for better action and solution will increase as the problems resulting from climate change increase.

With that, we will hear more from the concerned youth for sure, hopefully leading to better, smarter changes soon.

Pride for this end of June carries on

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Pride Month reaches to a close this end of June, as celebrations in all US major cities had their parades and festivities. Such is the annual month for solidarity and recognition of LGBTQ members in our civilization for their basic rights, and to coexist freely without the effects of bigotry and persecution.

This weekend also marks the 50th anniversary of the clash between police and gay bar patrons in Manhatten, New York City known as the Stonewall riots. Building frustrations from the local gay community in the late 1960s boosted the modern gay-rights movement, building much in the decades ahead.

Meanwhile here in Seattle, a large parade would draw thousands of people over, along with two major festivals in Capitol Hill and the Seattle Center. I missed most for personal reasons tending elsewhere. Yet, I did take around 20 minutes to watch a little of the Sunday parade.

For that moment, and observing the huge crowds of support, I see great development since the Stonewall riots. LGBTQ activism and solidarity are more freely expressed, with growing support and understanding. But, there remain other areas in our world, where such expression is forbidden and met with a terrible penalty. We look to our own leaders, and some failings with the current administration to help protect what should be equal rights to openly engage in same-sex relationships, have legally accepted civil unions, and domestic partnerships. Also, not be discriminated in for employment situations, public accommodations, housing, education needs, and more.

Therefore, the marches and festivities shall move on in more Pride months, perhaps for another 50 years at least. Along the way. humanity collects and grows as we learn to love better.

– Orion T

A Frosty Sunday Morning

Here’s a little holiday season spirit from Frosty the Snowman.

Around him, the air is cold and wet. Yet,  here was Frosty with a smile, top hat, and a carrot nose; which helped to warm the heart of those around. There was also Santa Claus, and Mrs. Claus (first name unknown)…

Elves and reindeer, I think….

Then, some other strange creatures…

That was a little of my Sunday morning walk, and only time I spent outside for the weekend. I have missed much of the holiday festivities around here because of personal stuff. I just missed the annual Jungle Bell marathon, as most of its runners long passed the finish line before my arrival. There were many jolly people around, even though the morning rain poured. The finish line had a little fake snow blowing, welcoming those crossing over.

I think I got a lot more to say on all this, but for another day maybe…

Orion T

 

Festive cheers in Seattle at the Macy’s Holiday Parade

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Last Friday morning after Thanksgiving, many spectators took part in the yearly holiday tradition of a good old fashioned street parade. This one, being the 28th Annual Macy’s Holiday Parade, in Seattle.

This parade was cozy, small for over an hour through the narrow downtown streets. The weather remained chill, with a little bit of rain halfway through. Some arrived early, camped for the best views, while latecomers clamored for whatever spots were left.

The floats and performers were of many wholesome, non-corporate themes; mostly relating to timeless fun and the childish innocence of old toys and cuddly animals. Marching bands, dancers, unicyclists, candy throwers, city representatives added to this heady mix of holiday seasonal fun. Eventually, Santa Claus arrived on the end float, indirectly reminding many to get to their consumerist-powered gift-shopping done before Christmas Day.

Here are some pics of the parade. Enjoy, and have a happy and safe Holiday season.

That Labor Day Spirit

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This Monday was a Labor Day holiday, to have off and perhaps reflect on the one thing people spend much of their lives on…laboring.

Labor Day is the last extended weekend for about the next two months. I think the privilege depends on how good your job is, for giving that time off (and paid) or gaining a higher wage if that day must be worked. For others, the struggle continues, as part of a long tradition of the fight to be treated humanely, with dignity, and have rights against unfair treatment. Otherwise, it’s a day we honor the working human.

But here in downtown Seattle and other cities, this becomes the day to strike and bring attention to concerns among the employees of the Marriott hotel chain. They circle outside some popular hotel entrances, making themselves visible and heard with a message, “One Job Should be Enough.”

From what I gathered from recent news, a recent development in contract negotiations for low-tier workers (housekeepers, workers, receptionists, bellhops, etc.) was not favorable among the over 8,000 involved, with wage increases not benefiting from reported profits, and forced reductions in hours for many among them.

On a small corner of 5th and Stewart for some hours, the Westin hotel (part of the Marriott chain), passing pedestrians can hear the raised voices of the hotel strikers. Drivers in that direction had to reroute, as a line protesters blocked the street, with law enforcement officials allowing that time.

The organized effort will hopefully turn the work negotiations in the favor for the striking workers, as they are a shining example of many on the bottom of the modern corporate structure, often ignored and worn down after giving so much to help those on the top to succeed and live out the best of there lives.

The further on positive direction our labor movements go, I think the more Labor Day will be a better day to celebrate, with less struggle.

March for our Lives 2018

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Yesterday on March 24th, millions took to the streets in the first “March for our Lives” national event. This one, very different from recent marches from the last two years, as the focus this time was mostly on gun policy change, stricter background checks, banning ARs, resistance to the NRA lobbying campaign and propaganda, safer schools, and many related issues. The event, led by survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school mass shooting with other young prolific speakers on stage in Washington D.C.

The Seattle city took part with its own impressive numbers on this beautiful sunny day. I joined among them, in support of sensible changes and sane thinking to the troubling counterpoint of arming more civilians and looser restrictions.  Seeing the many passionate marching people wanting a safer future with no mass shootings fill me with great hope for these tough times, as I expect them to heighten the debate on the complexities of the issue, then drive toward improvements on current gun policy.

Here are some picture snaps of the day from me…

– Orion T