Voice of the People
U.S. Paralympic athletes deserved more recognition
My outdoor Olympic flag, boldly displaying "Team USA," flew until the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics in London. Among the 227-member USA team, along with six guides for visually impaired athletes, were 20 war-wounded U.S. veterans. When I checked online for a televised schedule, the first statement following channel listings in the U.K. was "Hint: Good luck in the U.S." Unfortunately, our broadcasting companies (particularly NBC) did not find the paralympics worthy of air time beyond an occasional medal update.
In 1981, the International Year of Disabled Persons, the U.S. proudly boasted the only commemorative postage stamp in the world depicting a person with a disability employed in the sciences; it was a graphic of a wheelchair user peering into a microscope. Stamps of other countries depicted disabled persons engaging in activities such as basket weaving, or illustrated disability by use of symbols such as a tree that was half alive, half dead. Moreover, In 1992, the U.S. proudly proclaimed passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, leading by example to promote this civil rights act for persons with disabilities. This meant establishment of EQUAL opportunity in major life roles.
We have come a long way in our perceptions of persons with disabilities. However, with our viewing of the Paralympic games limited to the electronic wizardry of social media, such as selections on Facebook, we remain very much in the dark ages where persons with disabilities are engaged in basket weaving.
I continue thinking about the 20 competing veterans who already gave so much for our country, along with the other athletes who were deserving of far more than a sound bite on the evening news.
City improving, but problems persist
It is such a delight to now have a local bakery, market and a variety of restaurants to visit in our city. The addition of planters in the downtown area is also nice to see.
While I know there are efforts being made to improve the city, there are some things that I have encountered recently that baffle me. For instance, on 13th Avenue, at the 8th Street stoplight heading east, if cars are parked on the right side of the street, there is not room for two cars to travel, which often causes unnecessary traffic congestion there. Perhaps some of those spaces should have a no-parking sign for that side of the street, especially those closest to 8th Street.
I am also appalled at how few people stop and allow for pedestrians crossing at the fountain area in Ritter Park. The road is marked clearly for crossing and a sign with a pedestrian crossing is there to see.
Finally, when driving near Marshall's campus recently, I couldn't believe the condition of many of the fraternity houses. Some had broken windows and looked uninhabitable, but were obviously occupied. Is there any sort of regulation on those buildings? Some of them used to be attractive older homes.