In Full Sight Of Injustice

Injustice – violation of the rights of others; unjust or unfair action or treatment.

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”(Thomas Jefferson)

I live now in an era of troubling government times for my country. Why does heartless, family separation of immigrant families take place along American borders ? How can needy individuals with severe, medical preconditions be threatened with loss of vital, Obamacare coverage? Why are so many people in the U.S. disenfranchised from voting in elections? To what extent does violence spread across the country as a result of the daily hatred spews of our current, “Bully Pulpit” President?

With no surprise then, I’ve seen plenty of human injustice during the course of our U.S. road trips.  Clearly, any observations of egregious forms of unjust hatred, bigotry, and violence AT ANY TIME OR PLACE  cannot be denied or ignored. Exhibiting my typical interest in truthful representation of past events as a former history teacher as well, I thus present several, revealing examples of injustice learned from such recent road trip travels. I sincerely hope that your interest in this blog will thus spread mindful interest in support of this issue as the 2020 election draws near.

In Eastern Tennessee , I sadly observed reminders of the forced removal of the Cherokee Indians during their “Trail Of Tears”  exodus to Oklahoma from their sacred homelands in the early 1800s.

In San Francisco, I found startling evidence of the unwelcoming presence of Chinese immigrants held             captive at government processing stations on Angel Island      at the turn of the 20th century.

At the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise, a brief tour of the prison grounds/buildings confirmed that burdensome  guard rules and poor incarceration conditions fueled an atmosphere of unjust, human oppression there over its 191 year functioning history.

At a Civil Rights Museum In Montgomery, Alabama, I witnessed graphic scenes of Rosa Park’s heroic stand to risk arrest on December 5, 1955 in order to protest white racist, seating policies on a city bus.

I stood  near a famous bridge near Selma, Alabama,   where the March for Civil Rights crossed there on March 7, 1965. Gazing at physical mementos of this historic day, my heart filled with sympathy for these courageous American heroes who endured racist filled violence on “Bloody Sunday” 

At the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, I  admired the creative brilliance of talented black musicians inspired by their vigorous opposition to a U.S. era of blatant race intolerance/ bigotry prevailing in the last century. .

Along major highways in the “Deep South”, the Confederate Flag flew proudly to signify that past Civil War bloodshed incurred over slavery remains a dangerously divisive issue for our country today.

I close this blog with a more recent U.S. example of injustice in action. This past  Monday, Carlos Hernandez Vásquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan became the sixth child to die in Customs and Border Protection custody since the Trump administration began enforcing enhanced security measures at the Mexican border.  Consider then, the significance  of the following quote as the 2020 election cycle approaches. “I think people should be angry at things that are worthy of anger. Injustice is outrageous and deserves outrage. “ (Chris Hayes)

 

 

 

 

 

Boosts of California Coastal Energy

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”(Albert Einstein)

As Ruth and I reached the midpoint of our current road trip adventure, we rejoiced in our return again to the captivating Pacific Coast shores of Central California. Beginning with a three day slowdown in “surftown” Santa Cruz, we would slowly make our way south along steep cliff-side curves of the famed “Pacific Coast Highway” to quaint Cambria for a well needed, ten day respite from the daily rigors of road road travel.

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Would you like to feel suddenly calmer and more contented now? Notice then the positive energy emanating in the following photographs as we immersed ourselves into the stunning natural beauty of our coastal shore visit. Feel the cool bark of my spontaneous hug of an ancient Redwood tree that so proudly lives on for centuries in a densely primeval forest. Savor the smooth textures of a colorfully interesting rock that we patiently examine on a secluded beach. Walk daringly with us along a steep, roadside cliff for a better view of the mountainside plunge to the aqua blue ocean below. Feel the rush of cool air as we stand silently amidst a beautiful cascade of rushing waterfalls.

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In beach touristy Santa Cruz, a three day stay at a cozy cottage close by our longtime friends Bobbi and John would first spark carefree visions of adolescent freedom and innocent play” in the late 1960s. A touristic jaunt around town, however, would spark more serious interest in the town’s illustrious historical past.

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We first entered the Pacific Coast Highway from the north as the nightly fog invitingly began to lift in mid morning. Stopping frequently at bridge turnoffs, we savored for over twenty miles the stunning views of cliffside coves along the sea on our right.

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At the midpoint of our PCH drive near mile marker twenty five, we stopped at the “Redwood” shrouded town of Big Sur for lunch at the Ripplewood Resort Cafe. A curious bit of rock hunting and bird watching here then would captivate our attention here.

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Two miles south of Big Sur, we entered Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Here we were greeted by a wild turkey as we began an easy, two mile hike along the River Gorge Trail. Notably making our way alongside this gentle stream, we passed an old Homestead Cabin. Reaching the Trail terminus at the base of the gorge, I admired the attraction of fluttering butterflies amidst this bubbling calmness.

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Passing the oasis rest stops of Lucia and Gorda, the forty nine mile drive to Ragged Point became more noticeably steep and winding. Spring flowers blooming prolifically along this road stretch above the aqua blue sea thus revealed endless photo opportunities.

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While immensely enjoying the challenging drive of the PCH today, the late afternoon arrival at our Air B&B lodging in Cambria brought us a welcoming calmness.

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“Here & Now” Welcome By The Bay

DThe Bay Area is so beautiful, I hesitate to preach about heaven while I’m here.” —(Billy Graham)

“Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every house a poem, every dweller within immortal. This is the whole truth.” (William Saroyan)

It’s easy to feel lost in the cool fogginess of the San Francisco Bay Area. Compounding one’s confusion, the gridlocked traffic entering and leaving along bridges and mountainside towns can further discourage one’s touristic enjoyment. In spite of these uncontrollable obstacles, the natural beauties , historical landmarks, and cultural vitalities of this region would unmistakably serve for Ruth and I as a captivating series of now moment “highs” during days 30-36 of our spring road trip. With seemingly little time to write on each action-filled day, I resigned to take a break from blogging for one week to allot more time to capture S.F. sensory stimulations enhanced by way of photography. Enjoy the following presentation as expressed in various categories of personal interest.

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OPENING WEEKEND BASEBALL SERIES – ORACLE PARK

While the current San Francisco Giants presently are not performing well on the field, we relished the opportunity to purchase two affordable tickets behind home plate on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon. In fact, this slow moving pitching duel on the field seemed somewhat secondary to the historic designs of the ballpark as well as the beautiful panorama of the surrounding bay and downtown skyline from our seats.

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MAKING TIME FOR S.F. COMPANIONSHIP

We enjoyed a relaxing day with our close friend Dan, who lives quietly with his two dogs at his “artsy” downtown apartment along a steep hill. Stepping curiously into his patio, I witnessed fantastic views of the distant bay and surrounding downtown skyline. We then accompanied Dan for a relaxing lunch at the popular indoor mall at the historic Ferry Building nearby Embarcadero Plaza. Strolling further along this Eastern waterfront shoreline, I gained a historically authentic sense of S.F. “then and now”.

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A HISTORIC ENIGMA OF DIVERSITY AT ANGEL ISLAND

Opting to skip popular Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay on this vacation, we instead hopped a short ferry ride from Tiburon harbor to remote Angel Island. From the State Park Visitor Center a rigorous uphill walk led us to the old U.S. Immigration Station. Functioning as a west coast version of N.Y.’s Ellis Island, thousands of immigrants entered the United States here from 1910-1940. Our brief tour of this facility, would offer an authentic look at the harsh treatment of Chinese families in particular, who were detained here indefinitely in cold and cramped barracks then. A closer look at walls inscribed with detainee poems of desperation provided further evidence of of this sadly racist era in America history.

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CULINARY DELIGHTS FILL THE SHORELINE AIR

The open air atmosphere of food offerings along Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 41 provided a tantalizing opportunity to satisfy our sensory induced appetite to our heart’s content.

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A CREATIVE IMPULSE TO FEEL JAZZ GROOVE

On the other side of the Bay at refurbished Jack London Square in Oakland, Yoshi’s provides a classy scene of live jazz. Hearing the Tommy Igoe Big Band perform brilliantly the classic hits of legendary drummer, Buddy Rich would thus provide an excitably memorable moment in our Bay Area visit.

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A FITTING TIME TO FEEL SENTIMENTAL IN S.F.

My wife and I celebrated our newly joined marriage in December, 1974 at the Hyatt Regency, San Francisco on Embarcadero Square. A brief revisit to this honeymoon hotel with our friend Dan would provide vivid memories to share with him of those loving times.

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Great Plains Obstacle Therapy

“Then I discovered the prairie, and a slow healing began.”(Stephen R. Jones, The Last Prairie , 2000)

As we crossed the Great Plains of Nebraska and N.E. Colorado on days 13-15 of our road trip, I envisioned those hardships faced by west seeking pioneers crossing the Oregon Trail by foot and wagon during the mid 19th century. The seemingly endless void of grassy flatlands here seemingly offered little relief from the boredom experienced by the monotonous dust filled paths ahead. Extreme winter chills, hostile Indian raids and treacherous river crossings further dampened their spirits then. Yet clearly they must have enjoyed a strong sense of adventure in traversing the Great Plains environs. These wide open spaces no doubt “cleansed the soul” as well for many at times as they pondered life’s unknowns under such hazardous conditions.

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Ruth and I too sought ways to pass the time positively along this vast prairie on these long days of travel. Yet our late March visit happened as winter’s snow thaw brought serious flooding adjacent to the North Platte River. Resultant interstate highway closures and mud filled side roads required finding alternatives routes to reach our intended destinations while far and fewer rest stops meant gauging our driving times more mindfully. Feeling thus much like that modern day pioneer in such times of crisis, the Great Plains provided a similar incentive to seek self enlightening therapy in this region to fill our inner souls.

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Birdwatching brought captivating moments on our spring visit as flying sandhill cranes and other avian species flocked to watersheds in Central Nebraska then.

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A college baseball game slowed our busy minds on a frigid night as we conversed happily with close friends.

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An interesting exhibit, “Prairies To Peaks”, at the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska exhilarated our emotions as we observed colorful landscape paintings of a local artist in residence, Erin Jones Graf.

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As our arduous path of the prairie ended at Fort Collins, Colorado, we experienced a new sense of adventure at a first sighting of the Rocky Mountains in the distance.

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“ Great War” On Full Display

“We cherish too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led
It seems to to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies”
(Moina Michael – 1915 Poem – Response To “In Flanders Field” )

As a former history teacher, I am always eager to restudy the past firsthand in my travels. Clearly, the National World War I Museum and Memorial would thus satisfy my “authentic history” standard on an afternoon visit to Kansas City, Missouri on day twelve of our road trip. For my two hour tour of its west and east galleries would well document the destructive horrors this 1914- 1919 conflict in a personalized manner. An audio tour headset proved practical on this visit as well as I listened intently to each numbered exhibit along the way. Other gems of this museum included Memory Hall and a panoramic look at greater Kansas City along the outdoor patio walls. Take a look at my favorite photos below.

The architecture of the museum and surrounding grounds provided an impressive visual display.

Amassing support for a wartime effort required powerful propaganda efforts.

Millions of lives were lost in the stalemate of trench warfare along the Western European battle line.

New weapons of modern warfare brought mass casualties on the battlefield.

Here are some memorable quotes about the nightmares of war that filled the galleries.

Notice the map/mural studded walls of war torn Europe along Memory Hall.

Our captivating view of Kansas City from the patio balcony on this frigid afternoon.

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After our museum visit, my wife and I enjoyed a birthday feast at nearby Jack Stacks Barbecue – Freight House.

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