If you’ve been to my Flickr stream, you’ll see that I put up most of my photos under Creative Commons sharing allowances. As long as you attribute who took the photo, I’m usually cool with the use. Well, Cajsa Lilliehook added a plurk tonight, talking about some of the…interesting…uses her own photos have been put to. Someone apparently illustrated an article on food spots in Palos Verdes, Calif. with a photo of a kale burrito she took one time.
That made me wonder where my own photos have been to, so I Googled “photo by Harper Ganesvoort”, and this is what I’ve found:
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Harper put up an excellent pair of pieces for her Veterans Day writing this week, but I decided to do something of my own. In Canada, we call this Remembrance Day, and it’s more specifically to honour the soldiers and sailors who have fallen, like America’s Memorial Day, since the day’s origin lies in the end of what was then called the Great War, now World War I. The Flanders poppy in my lapel derives from the poppies that dotted the northern European landscape, thus the inspiration for Canadian army doctor John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields.”
Je me souviens….
Jem, Conan (who couldn’t be present) and I all salute our country, our veteran relations and ancestors, and our democratic process.
In part, Veterans Day and Election Day are close enough together this year that I decided to combine the two together into one post. This isn’t normally my practice, but the theme I’m going to talk about here links into both, as it’s a matter that links the two days together. As I’ve done before, I’m writing for all three of us, and adding their signatures to this article with my friends’ review and permission, for which I thank them most gratefully.
We at Around the Grid all have a father or grandfather who served in the U. S. armed forces at some point — as well, doubtless, as any number of ancestors we have never known — and we were raised “traditionally” enough to have a reasonably strong sense of patriotism, along with belief in our country and its inherent good and decency. Our ancestors fought on behalf of the United States in any number of wars, going back to the Revolutionary War, because they believed in those facts. They desired the right of a man — and now of a person — to be free, to determine their own destiny with the least imposition of rule by the government over them, and only by their own consent when the government did institute a law of some kind. Jem and Conan haven’t mentioned any specifics about their fathers; but I can tell you that my own, as I think I’ve mentioned in the past, fought and bled for those ideals in France in World War II. (This is the reason I wear the purple duster I have on above, for Dad’s Purple Heart; and the purple strip in Jemmy’s dress is suggestive.) Many more since have fought, or simply served and stood ready to defend this country against its perceived enemies. Again, as this blog tries to do every year, we salute those men and women — not always understood, never enough appreciated, often wounded in spirit as well as body, but willing to lay their lives down if called upon for the greater good.
Please don’t stop here; more words, even more important, are past the turn of the page.
A little late — I actually joined Second Life on October 11, 2007 — but better now than never; I always try to make my rezz day article, as well as the blog’s anniversary.
And, when you get to nine years old in Second Life, you’re allowed to let things slide a little, depending on how minor or major they are. You’ve hung around longer than most of the Residents you meet now, instead of being up there not much younger than most. Comparatively, I should be having grey streaks in my hair now.
But I think I’ll stay looking the way I am for now — at least, until Bento really comes through, and then I may finally invest in a Bento-capable head.
Any road, it’s been an interesting run so far, and I’m looking forward to the next year, as always. The more fearful may ask why, when Sansar hangs over the Grid as it does; but I’m willing to believe Ebbe Altberg for now when he says SL won’t be terminated. And, truthfully, I can’t see any reason offhand SL would be turned off, save for a sudden mass migration of avatars to the new platform. For now, at least, with all the investment we have here in our world, I think only the fearful or terminal “new-thing” avatar will pull up all the stakes they’ve put down — or the Resident who’s so new that they don’t have that many roots in the virtual soil yet. For me, for now, I am content. And so I say I’ll see you back here in a year — hopefully on time next year! — still wandering around, and celebrating my tenth.
Hope is the only good god remaining among mankind;
the others have left and gone to Olympus.
Trust, a mighty god has gone, Restraint has gone from men,
and the Graces, my friend, have abandoned the earth….
— Theognis of Megara, fl. 6th Century BCE
Hope has not yet left the world of men and women. We too, here at Around the Grid, stand for peace.
I come of a generation from decades ago, many of whose children fought in a war that they had no knowledge or understanding of, while others protested in the streets back home to get us out of that war. Jem’s generation was the next after, the one which inherited the fruits of our idealism. We dreamed of a world where the artificial borders and barriers dividing rich from poor, powerful from weak, sex from sex and gender from gender, ethnicity from ethnicity and country from country, all would be gone with a wave of the hand. Sadly, far too many in positions of power chose not to listen to the messages we offered; others co-opted the work and turned it toward their own ends. I recall a news report back in the Eighties talking about how the generation which didn’t trust anyone over 30, now didn’t trust anyone under 50 — $50,000 a year, plus benefits.
Truthfully, we were too idealistic, those of us who did the work and those of us who merely supported. Change on the scale we advocated does not happen overnight, or even within just two generations. And the people doing the work can never, never, never set it aside, unless they have found another two people to pick up the work and carry it on after them. It can never end until true justice and peace and freedom is achieved for all. This is why the message of Barack Obama, his theme of Hope and Change, rang so deeply in the minds of so many in 2008, how he became the first black president of the United States — not because he was African American, but because he dared to dream of the greatness we sought back in the Sixties, alongside of Martin and Bobby and all the others who shared the dream.
That hope, reinspired in us by the words of Barack Obama, was quashed for a time by politics. And since then, other matters have risen to further threaten the dream — the dragging leftovers of another war of politics, this time in Iraq, that has spiraled across the region and the world; repeated economic shocks that have made it harder for those stricken by poverty to find a way out; the continued barriers of race relations in the form of frequent shootings of black men by white police officers, and revenge shootings in return. (All of the last exploding, ironically for me, as I was driving to attend the funeral of an African American co-worker at a “traditionally black” CME church. I and my two white comrades from our store were the only grains of salt in the crowd, and we made to feel marvelously welcome by all there.) These and more besides interfere with the dream of Isaiah that the lion shall live together with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the goat kid.
And yet none of us dare let go of the dream of peace — not just the peace of God, however each of us sees God, which passes all human understanding; but the more immediate peace between brother and sister. If we let go of the dream, we lose Hope, and the final occupant of the Jar of Pandora will have escaped to fly away and torment humankind — by its absence. So we, too, stand for peace.
So say we all —
Addendum: I just discovered that you’re supposed to tag three others to take the challenge on. I nominate my best blogging friends for this, if they haven’t tackled it yet: Cajsa Lilliehook, Gidge Uriza and Harper Beresford. Have at, ladies!