You need to know this. Veterans Day is about honoring our service men and women, for the patriotic duty of putting their lives on the line to protect and serve our nation. But, one of the most important historical points about this day has been forgotten. Originally, Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day, and it commemorated the end of the First World War. This day was established to recognize the peace agreement that our soldiers fought for, not the celebration of endless war. At 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, a ceasefire brought an end to a war that killed 20 million people, and wounded many more. In the years that followed, our entire nation came to a stop at 11 a.m. on this day every year, for two minutes of silence to honor the lives that were lost in World War I, and to recognize the high price that so many paid to bring peace. Today, many Americans celebrate this day with bar-b-ques, or picnics, without ever considering the soldiers who made it possible, or the ones still fighting senseless wars around the globe. Even our media fails to recognize the men and women who are fighting right now in wars that were started over lies, and continue on with no real victory in sight. Perhaps this Veterans Day we can honor those who served our nation, and those who continue to fight, by bringing them home, and putting an end to perpetual war.
In screwed news... Last Friday, a train carrying 2.7 million gallons of crude oil derailed in rural Alabama. The accident resulted in a massive explosion that shot flames 300-feet into the sky. Although no immediate injuries or fatalities were reported, the rail company, Genesee & Wyoming, has no idea how much oil spilled, or how the accident will effect that area long-term. Environmental groups say that the accident may be the worst of its kind in the US in at least three years, and that it highlights the incredible danger of extracting and transporting crude oil. The fossil fuel industry typically points to these type of accidents as so-called proof that we need more oil pipelines. But, repeated pipeline spills – like the 300 that went unreported in North Dakota over the past two years – show that there's no safe way to transport these toxic fuels. As 350.org explains, “From its extraction, to its transportation, to its refining, and finally to its use; fossil fuel poses dangers we as a nation can no longer tolerate.”
In the best of the rest of the news...
In less than two weeks, voters in Switzerland have a chance to put a cap on outrageous executive compensation. On November 24th, voters will decide on the so-called “1:12 Initiative” - which would mandate that a company's highest paid employee could not earn more in one month than its lowest-paid worker made in one year. The goal of the measure is not simply to reduce executive pay, but also to increase compensation for all workers. One of the plan's authors, David Roth, said, “You shouldn't just [set] a maximum salary, because what we really want is a relationship between the lowest and the highest [paid workers].” Currently, many Swiss executives make as much as 200 times the pay of their lowest-paid employees, so this measure would be a major shift in employmee compensation. Considering that here in the US, the average CEO makes 273 times the salary of their low-wage workers, perhaps it's time to consider a similar initiative right here at home.
According to RadCast.org, elevated radiation levels are being detected around our nation. Near the East Coast, Sharon, Georgia is experiencing levels of 58 counts per minute, with spikes of 63. And, Robbinsville, New Jersey is averaging 43 counts per minute, with spikes of 64. In the Southwest, Tucson, Arizona is hitting 62 today, and levels there are spiking 74 counts per minute. In the Northwest, Seattle, Washington is hovering at only 34 counts per minute, but spikes in that area are hitting 84. And, in the Midwest, RadCast is reporting levels of 44 counts per minute in Kansas, which is higher than has been reported for some time. RadCast.org reminds us that the alert level is 100 counts per minute, and they are working hard to keep us informed.
And finally… When Matt Carlson spotted a Purple Heart medal at a local flea market, he made a vow to return it to its rightful owner. So, Mr. Carlson, who is also a veteran, set off on a nine-month search that spanned four states and involved volunteers, a history museum, and a U.S. Congressman. The back of medal was engraved with the name Clarence M. Merriott, and came with two letters from 1944 that aided the search. For Mr. Carlson, the loving words that the soldier wrote to his family so many years ago were the inspiration to continue the search, and find the medal's rightful home. Eventually, Mr. Carlson located the soldier's family, who said that the medal was lost long-ago during a move. Today, a special ceremony will mark the Purple Heart being returned to Clarence Merriott's family, and honor the dedication of not one, but two veterans who went to great lengths to fulfill their duties.
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