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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Honoring Veterans

California has more homeless veterans than any other state in the union and federal funding for housing for these vets has declined over the past few years.

Like all vulnerable populations during an economic downturn, vets have shouldered more than their fair share of the burden. Our country likes to pump its fists, yell “USA! USA!” and send the Blue Angels into the air to glorify our military, but we are less than willing to properly support soldiers returning from war.

San Francisco is planning a memorial to veterans at a cost of 2.5 million; about 2/3 of the funds required has already been raised for the project.

The memorial, a series of three reflection pools, will be located between the War Memorial Veterans Building (which, by the way, doesn’t house any entities having do with veterans – it’s a performing arts center) and the War Memorial Opera House (ditto). Both buildings, completed in 1932, were constructed to honor the soldiers of World War I. These are lovely civic buildings with character, but exactly how these edifices honor vets, I am not sure. I doubt that anyone entering these buildings for a performance or lecture or art show thinks about soldiers, or sailors, or airmen and women. Civic buildings and art can certainly honor vets, but the link here is tenuous.

The new veterans memorial will no doubt provide a haven for opera goers and those attending events at the War Memorial Building to meet before a performance. It may also provide a place for those busy people (who work in the area but can't afford to dine in the area’s numerous restaurants) to sit and rest for a bit and eat their bag lunches under the soothing influence of the reflecting pools.

Now that’s fine – calm, peaceful public spaces are an asset to any area. But how that memorial will help or “honor” vets, is frankly, beyond me. I suppose homeless vets can hang out at the reflection pools, pondering their lives, but more than likely, they will be asked to move along. We can’t have homeless folk congregating by a lovely memorial; they will detract from the memorial’s peacefulness and beauty.

San Francisco enjoys many pubic art installations and memorials can be a wonderful way to remember important events and people, but why create a memorial that will not in any way help vets in a time when they need help? Why not take that funding and create a memorial that actually helps veterans – why not use it to provide some low-cost housing for homeless vets?


Blogger boneman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 21, 2011 3:37 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Thanks for dropping by Boney.

But here's a curiosity - you say that people are better than governments - but governments ARE people.

July 24, 2011 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like
a $2.5M reflecting pool
for wealthy franciscans to admire
themselves while enjoying their high culture

what else is new?

× × ×


July 25, 2011 7:16 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 31, 2011 10:38 AM  
Blogger boneman said...

OK...there was a reason.
For crying out loud it took me this long to figure out that you said what needed to be said, and with grace and politeness. Laid it on the desk of those who might read it...and lord knows, a writer WANTS to be read...

But then there's this big goof, veteran, stumbles in the door with a hatchet and starts wailing away on the desk, the furniture, the walls....


and the dumbest thing ("the stupider thing" would probably make your teeth itch) is, I've been trying to calm down a little.
I get so excitable on occasion.

OK, a lot.
I'm 60 and i may be trying to go curmudgeon...but, I'm resisting.

I'll try to remain more calm when coming by.
Maybe just pull out the ol' red pencil and scratch a bunch of my words out, circle them, and say things like, "Where's your effing proof, boneman! Foundation! Foundation!" and I'll get the hint.


Thanx for writing the article. I wonder if your local paper (Chronicle?) would post it?

August 05, 2011 9:30 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Hey Boneman: No need to delete your comments! You always have something valid to say.

Best regards to you!


August 07, 2011 11:28 AM  
Blogger Bird said...

And yes, /t indeed, what else is new? Our world is so often crazy, doing things to "honor" others - when those "things" don't really do anything for those we intend to honor. Makes me wonder sometimes, someone just wanted a reflection pool and claiming it's to honor vets is the ticket to get it done.

August 07, 2011 11:30 AM  

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