Happy Veterans Day America! Made an official holiday in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson, it was first observed as Armistice Day in reference to the ending of World War I. It was later changed to Veterans Day in 1954, thereby honoring all veterans, not just those of WWI. A day to honor and give thanks to all our armed forces for their dedication, and for many, the sacrifices they make so the rest of us may live a life of relative freedom.
Working on World Tree Circle has encouraged our family to take a broader view on each holiday, each tradition, that we celebrate. How do other countries do it? Do they observe the holiday or tradition at all? So this Veterans Day I felt compelled to take a look at how the world feels about America, most specifically our military. I’ve been reading articles all morning to that end. We don’t own a TV in our house so we don’t watch the news on a regular basis. Rather, we gain our news from the web, our friends and family, and the local papers. I have gained the impression that America is not very popular, distrusted even, by some countries. So how do we really rate as a country based on our military? Out of 318.9 million Americans, at least 150,000 of those are US military stationed in more than 150 countries around the world (according to Wikipedia, US Military deployments). Whether at peace or in actively hostile places, they aren’t likely to go unnoticed and how they conduct themselves would be seen as a representation of their country. They aren’t just tourists, they hold a much higher responsibility.
I found the first article I read very interesting. We, and I say “we” in a very general way here, tend to look at each case of “to war, or not to war” very individually. On a case by case basis, rather than in a long term historical view. Which is how I would imagine other countries are more inclined to see it. We are taught to see similar foreign military campaigns that way, right? Through historical accounts on a grander view. Yet it does seem as though the United States decides based on how it will benefit us and others on the short term. Did you know that the US initiates a new military campaign roughly every 3 years?! And there are smaller incursions scattered between. I didn’t realize. I know there have been several in my relatively short lifetime but to read that was shocking. No wonder we are taken for a bully.
I was pleased, though, to read in another article that, according to foreign armed forces, our military is known for being generous, kind, and though some stated they thought US military acted a bit “cowboy” in their actions, they had had very positive experiences working with our armed forces despite some rather big differences in protocol and way of life. A few stated they hoped to have the opportunity to work with them again. If you’d like to read that article by James Pethokoukis, you can do so here. The comments get into a bit of an argument off topic but the article itself was very positive.
The numbers I found in a more statistical article didn’t give me the same impression. Especially with the recent hostilities taking place and our presence in the Middle East. That seems to have changed more minds about America in the last year. Overall, of the 24 countries surveyed (for this particular study) 17 of them had more than 54% of the population claiming a negative view of the USA. However, from what I see, it isn’t a reflection on our service men and women, but more on our government’s decisions and how they use our military that has caused us to decline in popularity with other countries.
This topic could keep a person busy for quite some time, if they really wanted to delve deep but for my purposes today I wanted to get a gist for how things look. So the conclusion I came to is this, whether you agree with the military actions taken by a country – any country, the men and women in the armed forces are due a fair amount of respect and gratitude for their service. They carry out orders from their government, upholding an oath to serve and protect their fellow countrymen at the very possible expense of their own safety and freedom, often without their family around to give them strength. Some here in the states have even gone to far as to refuse to follow orders that don’t hold true to the oath they swore. That takes a lot of love and dedication to your country and countrymen. I don’t agree with violence and bloodshed as a answer to any conflict, but I do support our troops in coming home and getting the help they need to live a healthy and full life. They do more than fight wars. Most of them have acted above and beyond what anyone could ask and I’m proud of them for being a good example for the rest of us. I am very, very grateful for the freedom my family and I have.
THANK YOU VETERANS, TODAY AND ALWAYS.
Every year Earth’s path around the sun passes through the Swift-Tuttle comets debris, giving us an incredible view of over 20 shooting stars an hour starting as early as July and increasing to as many as 100 an hour at its peak in August.
That peak is here! Tonight and early tomorrow morning (around 4am EST) is estimated by a NASA scientist to be this year’s peak. AND it is a new moon so we should get a really amazing show. Camping trip anyone?
You can read more on the website for the Washington Post, where we found the great video above. There are other websites you may like to check out as well:
His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Michael Franti-His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not often interested in popular music, but was very taken with Michael Franti and Spearhead, joking about his tattoos, how such a big man can be ‘so light’ and honoring the joy and compassion he creates through music. ‘A monk without restriction’ – what a review! cc Center for Living Peace, University of California, Irvine
Posted by Friends of the Dalai Lama on Monday, July 27, 2015
For years Michael Franti and Spearhead have given their fans hope, taught us love, compassion, and inspired us to be the change through their lyrics and music. They lead by example, with a message to love one another no matter the flaws and that we are the change.
Watching this video of him with the Dalai Lama and hearing the Dalai Lama express what so many of us already believed in our hearts brought tears of joy to not only our eyes, but that of our children, now 11 and 8 years old. Good things ARE happening around the world. Despite the desperate acts of violence and anger we hear in the news there IS change coming and it fills our hearts with so much joy.
It is a heavy responsibility, leading others to walk an “enlightened path,” so to speak. To not only be a good person but show others the way as well. Children recognize this and have a deep respect for those that choose to follow it anyway. They will strive to follow in their footsteps and that makes me very proud. Thank you Dalai Lama, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and all the other amazing people working towards a better world, for your inspiring words, music, and example. Namaste.
We’ve been posting Clarke’s Pictures on the Run for some time now and every now and again the perfect title for a picture will just not come to us. So we’ve decided to enlist some help from the growing World Tree Circle community, just like we will be able to once we get the community site up and running!
To enter you just need to visit Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Instagram and suggest a name for this photo for a chance to win a green World Tree Circle stylus pen. Feel free to vote for a suggestion given if you agree it is the best if you’d like as well. We will take it all into consideration.
A winner will be chosen from all the entries submitted between today and Sunday night at midnight. Extra consideration for those submissions that get favorited by other users. You can help us pick!The winner will be announced Monday, July 27th, in the comments for the photo in question as well as in the #PICTURESONTHERUN for that day.
Remember those reports you had to write in school about a past president, a book you read, a country you were studying? That’s kinda what I’ve been up to lately. We did all the initial research on where cultures of the top 21 most internet using countries are most prevalent in the United States, but not exact locations, or rather cultural centers or groups. So, in preparation for the promotional trip I have been researching where to find the best examples, or most experienced people, for each of the cultures we will be visiting and talking about throughout the trip.
The first stop was relatively easy. We originally planned to start in Highlands, NC. It’s close to home so I figured it would be really easy to find a cultural center to visit. There are actually quite a few Scottish traits that have been passed on from one generation to the next. The least of which is being very proud of our history. According to Scotland.org, “tourism is one of Scotland’s most lucrative assets, focusing on such attractions as golf, walking and a rich history. In industry, too, the country is pioneering and enterprising. Key business sectors include life sciences, electronic technologies, energy and financial services.” If you have ever visited Highlands, North Carolina, you’d think they were describing the Highlands in North Carolina, not the Scottish Highlands. Though, we don’t have much in the way of electronic technology or industrial type business here, there is tourism, golf, walking or hiking, and financial services aplenty.
Highlands, North Carolina, is a huge tourist town during the Summer Season each year. Downtown is bustling with vacationers sampling the local restaurants and seasonal residents catching up in the coffee shop or seeing what’s new in the antique and gift shops. Compare that to the Fall and Winter here and you’d barely imagine this area holding so many people. According to the 2000 Census, Highlands swelled from a population of just over 900 in the winter months, to between 10 & 15,000 from spring to fall! Scotland saw approximately 15 million tourists to their 5.3 million local populace in 2013.
There are also numerous trails that lead to magnificent vistas or breathtaking waterfalls all over the mountaintop. After watching this YouTube video, I think Scotland has their own piece of paradise they are very proud of too. (Good to watch the whole video, if you want some ideas on things to check out if you ever visit Scotland.)
The differences, I have found, are not so obvious as you would think. They enjoy water parks, sports, and the outdoors just as much as we do. They love good food, listen to a wide variety of music, and enjoy traveling. The major differences I’ve seen are the accent (a given, I know) and they live on a peninsula and outlying islands, whereas Highlands, North Carolina, is landlocked. So how do I find out more? Well, that is what our trip is for.
So I looked for the best place in this area to learn about Scotland and how it is similar, but also maybe more importantly, how it is uniquely different. Surprisingly, the best place to go to discuss Scottish heritage is not in Highlands, but just down the mountain in Franklin. The Scottish Tartan Museum is located in downtown Franklin and is educating residents and tourists alike about the Scottish and Cherokee people that lived and died here. So that is where we will start our journey next summer.
Do you live in Scotland? Or have you ever been there? We’d love to hear what you think. What things to we have in common that aren’t obvious? And what makes Scotland so magical despite her similarities?
Yep. You read it right. The Pictures On the Run photo “Symphony” is now available as a glossy or rolled canvas print in 3 different sizes, along with 2 other photos from the Pictures on The Run series! Glossy prints start at $7.00, and the rolled canvas prints start at $65.00.
We also now have the World Tree Circle stylus pens available in a 4 pack! Check out the new World Tree Circle Shop….
This is the first time I’ve run more than 20 some odd miles. It’s been a year and a half since my buddy, Charles, got me into running. On our first trip out after a party at his house, we had turned around about 7-7 1/2 miles in and were walking when I stepped off the trail and turned my ankle. My left foot twisted so the bottom of my foot was clear around facing my other foot and I heard it pop. But, you know me, I kept moving, but was only able to make it about 4 miles before my leg just wouldn’t go anymore. Charles went and got the truck and I met him on the road.
The recovery period was a challenge, but I have enjoyed it. Charles invited me to come run this SCAR with him and a friend and I leapt at it! Thank you Charles for the invite and being such great support. AND for hauling around such a crazy about of supplies on your back! My homemade gels need a bit of tweaking, as I ended up with heartburn and a headache on the run (due to too much coffee in them, I think.) Charles and his TUMS and gels saved my bacon! I also would like to thank Brad Kee for having great trail experience and crazy endurance. It was a good run and a strong team. We Indian Ran the entire thing, trading off leads.
I would also like to thank Matt and Sarah Fraser, friends of Brad’s. They met us at approximately 40 miles in where there was car access. We got to grab a solid bite (you have no idea how good that is after nothing but water and gels) and lube up again before hitting the trail again. Matt ran the next 30 miles out with us too. He’s a great guy – awesome attitude! Good sense of humor. Sara drove to the finish and then ran in to meet us. There were crazy good pacers.
So, our plan was to finish in under 24 hours. As we neared the end, Brad, Charles, and I couldn’t help but push hard and we finished with Charles at 20 hours and 46 minutes and Brad and I in 20 hours 48 minutes – with Brad charging through on the last mile. It was a great experience. Including having to go off trail for water, we made a little over 74 miles in under 21 hours!
I have also come to some conclusions after this run. I have been driving too hard on this upcoming run and getting the website launched by the end of the summer. The amount of research and sheer scope of planning a run this big (finding the contacts, scheduling the dates and times and locations, all our resources) is more than can be done in the time I allotted. So, we will be postponing the leave Run/Bike trip start date.
We are developing great contacts and leads, so the momentum is picking up very quickly. This additional time will be perfect for making contact with everyone and give us more options for both the creation of the site and planning for a very successful promotional trip at a later date. We will keep everyone posted so that everyone will have the new date once it’s set.
We are so grateful for all the support we have been shown and will continue to work hard to get World Tree Circle ready for you all to start communicating. Thank you everyone!
I began today like I always do. I did my 20 minutes of meditation to help myself get off on the right foot, then checked my messages on Facebook and email. The first thing I saw was a post one of my closest friends added early this morning about Baltimore. I cannot explain the feeling of sadness and loss when I read about the violence in Baltimore, but I don’t think I really need to. It put a weight, a feeling of responsibility to make positive changes in my life and my actions starting immediately. Many Americans, and possibly many around the world, are feeling the same as I do today. Americans want change. The world wants change. Malcontent has been brewing for ages. We’ve seen it boil over more and more often and closer and closer to home each time. Not always in a way that will bring about the changes we all seek. Undermining and overshadowing the good being done everywhere. No one wants anyone to die. NO one wants pain and suffering and destruction. I hear it all around me, this wish for things to be better. The corruption to cease and life to better. Yet so many feel that they don’t have any say. That speaking out will only give them grief without making a difference in the long run. We aren’t alone. Rather than take our frustration out on one another, we need to join together. Stand shoulder to shoulder and communicate like the intelligent and compassionate people we are. Bridge the gaps that have grown between us.
Then I read another post about Balitmore. One by a favorite artist of mine, Michael Franti. Michael is a man I have come to highly respect, for his words but also for his actions. My daddy always told me, it’s not just what someone says, it what they do. I have tried to remember that about myself and of others. Michael is trying to be the person he asks each of us to be. True to himself and his fellow men (and women 🙂 ). There is a better way to rise above and bring positive and peaceful change. No one says it will be easy and none of us are perfect. We will make mistakes. But is doesn’t have to be this way, I know that for certain. I feel it deep in my soul. We can learn from out mistakes and do things differently from this day forward. Live conscientiously. Michael says it so much more eloquently. Check out his call to action here:
I am surrounded by amazing people and meet more every day. Yes there is darkness & yes there is loss in life. That is natural. Without those things we wouldn’t appreciate the good things to their fullest. There is also so, so, so much light! So much joy and abundance and love that it overwhelms. You just have to have faith. I’m not talking about religious faith, though for many that is a great part of it too. I’m talking about believing, with every fiber of your being, that things will change for the better. The violence and hatred and suppression and fear will be washed away and balance restored. It starts with you. Believe you are great. You are worthy. BECAUSE YOU ARE. Then extend that feeling to the people you meet everyday. No matter who they are and how they treat you. Be open and give. Give to yourself and give to others.
That is one of the many reasons we are creating World Tree Circle. We want to create a place where we can all connect, even when we can’t be together in person. Help us make this happen. There is no time to waste. Let’s become a true global community!
Thanks to one of our WCU students in the campaign team we were given a table at this year’s International Festival at Western Carolina University to promote both the Website and the Go Fund Me Campaign for the upcoming Run/Bike Promotional Tour. They hold this event every year and there is a table for different countries represented by the international students in attendance at WCU. They have food, drinks, art, traditional dress, and crafts available for Festival goers to look at, and quite often, buy. There are also vendors with local and international cuisine as well as some craft booths.
It was an beautiful sunny day with lots of people, good music from all over the world (including a live bagpipe performance), and tasty treats. We put together a brief video to give you a glimpse of the day. Check it out…