Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome To The State of Jefferson, Where The Agenda is Freedom

America is no stranger to the idea of secession. In fact secession is the foundation of our nation as that is exactly what the Founding Fathers and colonists did during the Revolution. There was been several major secession movements throughout American history: the State of Franklin(1780s), the New England Secession Conventions(1800s), the Texas Republic(1836), The Confederate States of America(1860) and most recently the Republic of New Africka(1960s). But there is one place where the dreams of statehood still lives on in America, in the Pacific Northwest to be exact. The State of Jefferson, America's next (and current) secession movement.

The State of Jefferson has been in recognition of statehood since 1941. In October of '41 Orford, Oregon's Mayor Gilbert Gable proposed the joining of several counties in both Oregon and California to form the new state. What could have been Gable's reasoning for this? Perhaps a grudge against the state governments? Or maybe a political power play to get his name out there? Well it's neither. The actual reason for Gable's proposition was to draw attention to the lack of proper roads in the area. Gable and other political figures felt the lack of asphalted roads stunted the areas chance for economic growth. The idea spread like wildfire through the proposed state. It spread so quickly the the county representatives of Siskiyou County named the state Jefferson in the state capital of Yreka.

The State of Jefferson made national news in November of 1941 and took a major step toward independence. A group of "armed" men set up a boarder crossing on U.S. Route 99 just south of Yreka. There the men informed drivers they were entering the state of Jefferson and given a Proclamation of Independence. How would a Proclamation of Independence sound in 1941? Well a little like this,

You are now entering Jefferson, the 49th State of the Union.
Jefferson is now in patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon.
This State has seceded from California and Oregon this Thursday, November 27, 1941.
Patriotic Jeffersonians intend to secede each Thursday until further notice.
For the next hundred miles as you drive along Highway 99, you are traveling parallel to the greatest copper belt in the far West, seventy-five miles west of here.
The United States government needs this vital mineral. But gross neglect by California and Oregon deprives us of necessary roads to bring out the copper ore.
If you don't believe this, drive down the Klamath River Highway and see for yourself. Take your chains, shovel and dynamite.
Until California and Oregon build a road into the copper country, Jefferson, as a defense minded state, will be forced to rebel each Thursday and act as a separate State.

The state now had an official Declaration of Independence and had just elected its first Governor, John C. Childs. However, even though the state of Jefferson seemed to be picking up steam the unthinkable was about to happen and not only change the course for the State of Jefferson but for the United States of America as well.

That's right FDR came in and ruined everything for the small state of Jefferson...ok thats a total lie. The first weakening to Jefferson's cause was the death of Mayor Gable the leading advocate for Jefferson's statehood. Yet in the wake of Gable's death, the state had newsreels ready to be broadcast the election of Governor Childs on December 8, 1941. By now you figured out how FDR fits into the history of Jefferson. The Pearl Harbor attack officially ended any chance of Jefferson becoming a state. The residents of Jefferson did as every other American did during WWII and that is took part in the war effort. There is some irony here though, a Japanese pilot dropped several bombs around Brookings, Oregon which would have been located in the State of Jefferson.

So whats going on with the State of Jefferson today? Well the fight for statehood still kind of exists. Today residents within the State of Jefferson still  feel neglected by the state governments of California and Oregon as the local politics differ greatly from mainstream politics. Also economically they differ as they are is home to scenic views and breathe taking landscape which draws many tourists and lovers of the outdoors and the economy is much more locally based and independent. The idea of secession is still strong and not just in the area of Jefferson. Sure many "Jeffersonians" are still pushing for statehood but there are also many pushing for the entire Pacific Northwest to break away and become its own state. But can Jefferson ever become a state? Sure they have every right to apply and petition Congress but can it pass? I highly doubt it but it would be pretty cool to see a new state born. But for now those in the State of Jefferson will still recognize it and what it stands for, Jefferson a state of mind.

Monday, March 19, 2012

He Was The President?

There have been 44 Presidents of the United States of America, from 1789 until today. Now every kid in America has had to write or do some type of project about one of this fine men, but beyond that what do we really learn about the Presidents? Sure, we learn about Washington, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and so on. But what about the other guys? There are many Presidents that are surely worth remembering but then there are some that really no one, not even the  kids who did their 5th grade report on them remembers. I have compromised a list of the Top Ten Most Forgettable Presidents. Now, how does one complete a list like this? I looked around some history books, news articles, surfed Wikipedia pages and searched for other peoples opinions then weighed my options heavily and thus this list was created. So without further ado, here are ten men who are hardly ever remembered as being President.

President Millard Fillmore, aside from looking like a heavy set Alex Baldwin, there is not much left to say about him. He was President Zachary Taylor's VP and would then receive his parties nomination in 1850. Most people don't really discuss that time period in American history, well because one topic trumps them all: slavery. Like any good President, Fillmore tried to take control of the issue but fell extremely short. He helped oversee the creation of The Compromise of 1850 and would be the tie breaking vote in it's passing. Unfortunately for him, it fell short of its purpose and it was mainly Fillmore's fault. The Compromise was like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. So with that failure and the fact Fillmore allowed slavery to be used in the newly gained Mexican Territories is what lands "The American" in our number 10 spot.

Old Rough and Ready, President Zachary Taylor. The only reason President Taylor is landing in  the number 9 spot is because, well he is a damn war hero that's why. Taylor rode the wave of his time served as a General in the Mexican American War all the way to Washington D.C. However, Taylor never had time to establish himself amongst the great Presidents as he died in office. Since Taylor was only President for a year no one ever really looks back at his polices of the foundation he built for his term. So just based on his short term is what lands him on this list.

Many people only know the name Chester A. Arthur from the Die Hard With A Vengeance movie reference. From the beginning of his Presidency, Arthur was a big weirdo. After taking the oath of office the next thing on the Presidents agenda would be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but Arthur refused. See Arthur was too busy remodeling his home and would not leave until it was finished. That's strike one, strike two came that Arthur was a very vocal anti-bigamist and in his failure and refusal to enforce the 15th Amendment. But strike three comes from his lack luster efforts in stopping the Jim Crow laws. He actually never did anything about them and I might have just given him too much credit by using the word effort. Hopefully President Arthur is happy having most American's remember him as the namesake for a school Detective John McClane had to save, and placing him at number eight on our list.

The name James Polk will always be tied to the greatest high school running back of all time, Al Bundy. That's right the same Polk High that Al Bundy lead to and scored four touchdowns in the 1966 Chicago City Championship is named for our own President James Polk, who finds himself in our number seven spot. But Polk really didn't do anything bad during his time Presidency. He guided the U.S. to victory during the Mexican American War and set the standard for expansion policies. Under Polk the U.S. was doing pretty well for itself. However, Polk goes almost forgotten but amongst historians he is usually ranked amongst the greatest Presidents of all time, and has been called the, "least known consequential president."

This gentlemen above can lead to hours long debates and I bet most people would have no idea who he is. John Hanson will sit in the middle of our list at number 6 because I am not sure we can really consider him President. Hanson was the Presiding Officer to the Continental Congress from 1781-1782. His powers were granted to him by the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation, both of which would have approved or denied any of Hanson's actions. The reason Hanson is on this list is because he did help in the forming of the role of President even though he never really was. Many people will argue that he was the first American President, but they can never win and that honor will always go to President Washington as he was the President of an independent American nation. Hanson, in a modern sense, can he seen almost as President of the Senate, thus not making him a President, but definitely giving him honorable mention as one of America's forgotten leaders..

When people hear the name Hoover, Herbert Hoover is never the first thing to come to mind, I always think of the Hoover vacuum. Yet, Herbert Hoover was quite a successful President. He pushed for "economic modernization" and strongly backed the Efficiency Movement. He also called upon the American people to volunteer as he felt it was beneficial to the American society and culture. But Hoover has been overshadowed by the Great Depression and Franklin Roosevelt. What most people don't know about Hoover is that he tried to curb the Depression as it was starting. First and most famously he started the construction of the Hoover Dam and other public works programs. He changed the taxing systems, increasing the top tax bracket from 25% to 63% along with increasing corporate taxes. He also allowed the passing of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff which effectively lowered import and export tariffs. Unfortunately for Hoover and America, this help came a little to late and nothing would be able to stop the Great Depression for destroying the American economy and Hoover's chances for re-election. It is because of the Great Depression that Hoover has become a forgotten President which places him at number 5.

William Henry Harrison has the shortest presidential term to date, 32 days, so as you can see it's pretty easy to have forgotten about him. Harrison, however, is pretty interesting. He served the shortest term but delivered the longest inaugural speech, about 2 hours longs. And Harrison was a tough guy as well, before he was elected President at 68 years old, he was quite the military man being involved in many frontier battles, most famously the Battle of Tippecanoe and the War of 1812. Harrison's rough and toughness carried over to his inaugural day speech as he stood in the rain without a coat, umbrella or any other type of protection from the elements. That would ultimately lead to him catching pneumonia and dying only a month into his term and almost erasing him from our memories as President and landing him in the number 4 spot.

Its only fitting that the next man would be Harrison's replacement, President John Tyler. He was even dubbed "His Accidency" by his own and opposing party. Tyler vetoed all his party's proposals and pretty much turned his back on the Independent party ideals. Although his domestic policies were terrible he was very active in his foreign policy practices. He passed a boarder treaty with England and a trade agreement with China. However, the crowning jewel of Tyler's presidency was hes never ending quest to annex Texas. Tyler would had leave office knowing he had no chance of re-election and would not try his hand at politics again until the Civil War.

Yes, that is Warren G. Harding and not just a younger picture of Thomas Edison. Harding won the 1920 election by the largest popular vote ever based on his "America First" campaign. Harding was a true politician giving powerful positions to his buddies, then known as the Ohio Gang. He didn't do well on the world stage, undoing President Woodrow Wilson's work with the League of Nations. But domestically he wasn't so bad. He worked with striking railroad and mining unions, established the first child welfare program, reorganized the Veterans Bureau and unemployment dropped by 50%. Harding is often seen as one of America's worst Presidents, mainly do to his foriegn policies but I think he was never able to achieve all his domestic goals as he died in office in 1923.
Finally, our number one most forgotten President is... President  William "Big Papi" Taft. That's right Taft is perhaps unknown to most Americans but he was America's largest President. Taft was one large American standing over 6 feet tall and weighing well over 300 lbs. But aside form his physical prowess Taft wasn't a half bad President. In fact people felt he'd be such a good President he was hand picked for the job and groomed until ready. During his term Taft passed the 16th Amendment, pushed for trust busting, reformed the civil service system and many other progressive actions as he was a student of Teddy Roosevelt. As for his foriegn policies Taft tried to expand America's economic reach into Asia and South America under his "Dollar Diplomacy" acts. But Taft goes forgotten being overshadowed by his predecessor Teddy Roosevelt and his successor Woodrow Wilson. But amongst historians he is usually ranked around number 20 on the President's list.

Ok, so what do we take away from this list? Well for starters we really need to brush up on out U.S Presidents. But more importantly there is always something a President does that they will forever be remembered for. We've heard some pretty bad things and some very good things. I think for us to look back at the Presidents and need at least 50 years before we can judge their Presidency. In our recent history we have seen that both President Bush and President Obama have both been called the worst President's ever but what do we know? We are looking at the now and not the long term. I'm sure at the time these 10 men were never called the worst President ever, it takes time to be the worst or best President ever and it takes a future generation to make that call when seeing the outcome of all a President's work. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Bubble Burst and A Hero is Deflated

When we think of the current state of American economics we never look at the multigazillionaires as heroes. However, sometimes heroes do become involved and fall from grace. This is true in the case of two heroes of the American Revolution: Robert Morris and "Light-Horse" Harry Lee, and their involvement in the Panic of 1796 or the United States first economic bubble. These two men each played a major role in the American Revolution but would forever lose the true glory they deserve for their actions. It is important that we look at the Panic of 1796, at these men, and their involvements to discover who is to blame and who should have honor restored to their name.

"Let freedom ring," was sung while the British are leaving America. What really should have been said was, "Let the greed begin." I'm sure by now my faithful readers must be thinking, is Mike turning on the Founding Fathers? Not exactly. The Panic of 1796 began when the British officially surrendered. American opportunists saw the entire continent open up and saw wide open land, along with dollar signs. So where should I begin with explaining the causes of the Panic of 1796? There are three key components which caused the bubble to burst. First would be when the land speculation bubble exploded and sent many Americans spiraling into debt. Second was when the Bank of England passed the Bank Restriction Act of 1797 which stopped people from converting paper money to gold and Third was a deflation trend that effected financial markets on both sides of the Atlantic.  But how does Robert Morris and Harry Lee fit into this disaster?

Robert Morris was a key financier of the American Cause of Independence. His first loan came in 1776 when the Continental Army was at its weakest. He gave Washington a £10,000 loan in order to pay his troops and keep them in contract for the next year, which would ultimately lead to Washington kicking some serious Redcoat ass across New Jersey. Morris was a financial wiz, sort of like a Donald Trump of his time and turned profits during the entire Revolution to continue funding the American Army. Morris was also a Founding Father signing both the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence. He was a member of both Continental Congresses and because of his service and economic brilliance he was made the first Superintendent of Finance of the United States. In this position he created the first national bank, the Bank of North America, then proposed the creation of a national mint and use of coinage. Morris's main goal though was to be able to finance another war against England. With that in mind Morris reformed the banking system in America all in order to provide for the nations defense. But how does Morris fit into the Panic of 1796, and more importantly how does he tie in with Harry Lee?

I just want to say one primary thing of Henry Lee III. He was a straight bad ass. He was a true southern gentleman and a real America, and already in these two sentences I think you can see who is getting a bum rap out of this event. Lee was one of the first to arms at the outbreak of the Revolution and quickly rose to Lieutenant Colonel by the end of Revolution. He was a Captain in a dragoon detachment, promoted to Major and commanded a unit known as "Lee's Legion" and finally to Lieutenant Colonel during the fighting in the southern theater. Lee is probably most famous for the Battle of Paulus Hook. At Paulus Hook, Lee led his men in the middle of the night attack a British controlled fort in Jersey City, NJ. Lee went in with about three hundred men and only lost two and had seven captured. Lee then escaped victoriously with one hundred fifty-eight Brits and returned to the American stronghold at New Bridge (Hackensack, NJ). Upon his return he was awarded a gold medal. But how did Lee become involved with Morris? How does Lee fit into the Panic of 1796?

By the years end of 1796 all financial hell had broken loose. The American nation was in shambles from over-speculation. The Bank of England feared it's American clients would collapse the British economy so they held all funds and inflation was running wild on both sides of the Atlantic as both nations were frantically trying to rebalance their financial worlds. Morris and Lee were just a piece of a bigger picture but still an important example. Morris saw an opportunity to turn a buck around every corner and this time was no different. Morris this time pitched the idea to Lee. According to both Morris and Lee's records they worked together in forming towns with the goals of then selling them for almost double the investment cost. However, these profits never turned and both men wound up broke. With nothing left both Morris and Lee were placed in debtors prison. After their release both of their lives were in ruin. Morris left prison in poor health and would remain in retirement until his death. Lee however, went onto a political life serving in the House, delivered Washington's eulogy and would go on be a major part of the Federalist Party. But what can we take away from these two men and the Panic of 1796?

After the dust settled and the economy was put back in order the U.S. Congress passed the Bankruptcy Act of 1800. It was during this time that the government would restructure economic policies and place laws which would prevent another event like the Panic of 1796. It is documented that those involved in the Panic who could not pay their debts were imprisoned, so why change today? Today we see multinational corporations running wild and doing almost the same thing that Morris, Lee and others did in the 18th century. The "bubble" is nothing new to America, we have always had "bubbles" but usually afterwards there was some form of punishment. Today, Morris and Lee can still be seen as an example of how some of the wealthy get their name cleared and others are punished and forgotten. When you look around and compare the legacies of both men, it quite obvious that Morris is more celebrated. When looking around the American financial history we see Morris continually praised. He's appeared on U.S. currency, has a town named for him (Morrisville, PA.), ships and not one but two separate universities (Robert Morris University of Pennsylvania and Illinios). So Morris, a man who laid out a plan and screwed many Americans out of their money is still honored. While, Lee on the other hand was a war hero, revolutionary, politician, family man, writer and all around image of what an America should be. But Lee is forgotten by Americans as there is nothing honoring him. Sure you can visit both of his homes, one in Alexandria, VA and the other in Lost River State Park, WV., or maybe you can go grab a burger and beer at the Light Horse Tavern located at the site of the Battle of Paulus Hook in Jersey City, NJ. The most important thing to take away from this though and the reason I chose this topic is because the bad guy always walks away on top. Morris was one of the main factors in the Panic of 1796 and he walks away blame free. It still continues on today with the major companies around the world and their willingness to do anything to turn a profit. It is unfortunate that a man like Lee became involved, a man that should be honored as a hero is almost forgotten. It seems to be the way the world works and that the bad guys can walk away always smelling like roses. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How the Canyon of Heroes is Turning into a Canyon of Zeroes

 Call it patriotism, respect for our heroes or perhaps just being a bitter New England Patriots fan but I think its time we stop honoring New York sport teams in the Canyon of Heroes. The best part is I am not alone, and no I am not talking about the rest of Patriot Nation but by true heroes, the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. I feel the impromptu parades celebrating a sporting championship lessens the value and history of the Canyon of Heroes. Most people do not know the history of the Canyon of Heroes or even know why it's called that. Sure everyone knows the famous V-J Day photo of a returning sailor locking lips with a nurse in Times Square but what about the rest of the heroes that proudly walked down Broadway and how do we keep that honor for future heroes.

 What is the Canyon of Heroes? Physically the Canyon of Heroes is the lower section of Broadway that runs through the Financial District. The Canyon runs from Bowling Green to City Hall Park. Why there you may ask? Throughout New York City history it has always been home to the tallest buildings in the city which allowed for many more people to view and celebrate the honorees. But what does the Canyon represent? Most people will agree it represents a celebration of an unique triumph. When I think of the Canyon I see a place that should celebrate an achievement undone by others before. And I think that is the true meaning and purpose of the Canyon and that it is about time that practice is reinstated. Sure winning the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup and other sporting titles is a great achievement but nothing comparable to what the Canyon of Heroes is to represent.

I'm sure you're wondering how or why the Statue of Liberty is involved with the Canyon of Heroes. It is a simple answer, the Statue of Liberty lead to the first Canyon of Heroes parade. On October 26, 1886 the Statue of Liberty Dedication Ceremony was held in downtown Manhattan. The day was filled with joyous celebrations and we all know, then and even now, Americans love a parade. The impromptu parade celebrated the building of the Statue, its workers and well America. This parade was the first ticker tape parade in New York City and even in America and it celebrated something extraordinary, the completion of a 305 foot and one inch statue which was and still is the nations tallest standing statue. As you can see right from the beginning people celebrated things that they knew were never done before. The second ticker tape parade was held only a few years later in 1889 and honored America's greatest hero, George Washington. The parade honored the 100 year anniversary of Washington's inauguration which was important, well if I have to explain that then I think you might need to retake American History I. But as you can see the first two celebrations were in honor of something never done before, two unique events that have never been duplicated, unlike the winning of a sports championship.

The ticker tape parades would continue down the Canyon of Heroes honoring some of the greatest people in American History. In 1899 Admiral George Dewey was honored on his return for his triumphant victory at Manila Bay during the Spanish American War. It was to honor the Admiral himself but more importantly the victory at Manila Bay turned the United States into a world power. In 1919 the returning American Expeditionary Force and its commander General John J. Perishing were welcomed home in the Canyon of Heroes after returning the fighting and trenches of the World War I European battlefields. Again, another feat many men were not able to enjoy but more importantly secured the United States as the savior of Europe from the clutches of imperialistic nations like Germany and Austria-Hungary. But the Canyon was not just honoring war heroes, it was also used to honor visiting leaders such as king Albert and Queen Elisebeth of Belgium (1919), Edward Albert, Prince of Wales (1919), General Armando Diaz (1921), Ferdinand Foch, Marshall of France (1920) and even Albert Einstein, who by the way is still the only scientist ever to receive the honor of a ticker tape parade in the Canyon of Heroes. The honoring of heroes did not stop though with war heroes and foreign leaders, the Canyon of Heroes would continue to be a place that honored those who should still be considered heroes.

The 1920s saw a waive a ticker tape parades honoring heroes outside the theater of war. In 1925 Captain Paul C. Grening and the crew of the SS President Harding and again in 1926 Captain George Fried and the crew of the SS President Roosevelt were honor for heroic rescues at sea. Also in 1926 Bobby Jones was honored for winning the British Open and Gertrude Ederle for being the first women the English Chanel and the reason this is important was they were both Americans and have since been the only two Americans honored for achieving such feats. In 1927, Charles Lindbergh was celebrated for being the first man to fly across the Atlantic. 1930, Rear Admiral Richard Byrd was honored in the Canyon for his expedition to Antarctica. 1932, Amelia Earhart received a heroes welcome after being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Following the 1936 Olympics, Jesse Owens was honored after taking home four gold medals and really sticking it to Nazi Germany. The 1940s maybe when some of the most memorable and historical Canyon of Heroes parades were held. During 1945 and 1946 seven parades were held to honor the brave men that saved the world and ended World War II. In 1945, General Dwight Eisenhower his Allied Expeditionary Force, General Jonathan Wainwright, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, President Harry S. Truman, Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey and numerous service men and women returned home to a heroes welcome as the ticker tap rained down on them and the millions of Americans celebrated the ending of WWII. As 1946 came around the celebration continued as the 82nd Airborne Division returned home officially signaling the end of the war and Prime Minister Winston Churchill paraded down Broadway to delight and celebratory welcome again of millions of Americans. By now you're looking at the New York Giants and Yankees and I hope saying "maybe honoring them in the Canyon of Heroes is a bit much." As you can see these previous honorees were true heroes, men and women who did something unthinkable, something people have never done before or would only be second to.

From the 1950s until today, the Canyon of Heroes continues to celebrate great achievements and those who accomplished them. American military units, veterans, Presidents, astronauts, foreign dignitaries, Olympians, ship crews, a Pope, the Iran Hostages and even a musician, Van Clibirn who is still the only musician to have a parade held in his honor but there was one group that would change the spectrum of whom we consider heroes in America and that is the 1954 World Series Champion New York Giants. After their Canyon of Heroes parade every New York sport team that would win a championship would be given a parade down Broadway. But does anyone ever take into account how celebrating these teams effects the legacy of the Canyon of Heroes? I mean since the '54 Giants, the Mets appeared once in '86, the Rangers in '94, the Giants(football) in' 08 and just this February but the Yankees are the kings of the parade appearing nine times: '61, '62, '77, '78, '96, '98, '99, '00 and lastly in '09. But since the parade held for Nelson Mandela only New York sports team have been honored on Broadway. But what kind of message does that send to Americans? That being a multi-million dollar paid athlete and winning a championship is the only people worth celebrating and is the standard for what and who a hero is? Are there no more heroes in America? This leads me to the recent issue proposed by the returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

As the Giants prepared for their victory parade many others attacked them much more fiercely then my Patriots defense did. The attack was from all sides; veterans, writers, historians and even former Mayor of New York Ed Koch. When Mayor Bloomberg was proposed a parade honoring the heroes of these wars he called the parade idea "premature." America has been at war for eight years and finally the troops are coming home, is not a simple parade something they deserve, something to show that we as Americans never forgot about our men and women serving our nation. People say that there are still troops in Afghanistan, well I say to them lets have the two parades, one for those home now and one for those soon to be home I mean there were eight parades for the returning home form Europe and Japan following WWII. Mayor Bloomberg is worried about two parades for our current troops? The idea for the Canyon of Heroes tribute just did not come out of no where either, since December when the first troops began to come home, Staten Island Councilmen Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo began pushing for the parade. Former Mayor Ed Koch said “New York City should hold a parade for the veterans of Iraq, just as we held one when I was mayor for the veterans of Vietnam.” He then went on to say "I believe a parade is required, is necessary, and New York City is the place to have it." Mayor Bloomberg is waiting on a nod from the Pentagon to begin planning a parade, almost seems he and the Pentagon want to have a "Mission Accomplished" moment says professor at MIT. Paul Rieckhoff, founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said "If a football team gets a parade, should not our veterans?" And he is right, Mr. Rieckhoff, former Mayor Koch, that professor from MIT and anyone else in favor of the parade honor these brave men and women. Today there is a lack of main stream heroes and I think we should look to our local vet returning home as a hero. There are heroes all around us not just those million dollar athletes that we idolize on a seasonal basis. We have allowed for such things to happen, I ask do we not still have great leaders? Has the world lost great leaders? Are there not heroic acts done of a playing field? Have we no one else to cheer for beside athletes? I think it is time people of America begin to look elsewhere for heroes because they are around us everyday. It is one thing to be idolized but to be a hero deserving of being honored in the Canyon of Heroes is something completely different and should not not be given for something that 30 some odd other teams have a chance at doing year in and year out. But I will leave my closing statement to Christopher Robbins, I feel he sums up how the parade is loosing it's meaning in one sentence, "While nearly a million Giants fans pack into Lower Manhattan this morning for a parade celebrating the triumph of one billion-dollar corporation over another, veterans of the Iraq war have yet to be honored in the Canyon of Heroes."