December 28, 2017. Cleveland is in a deep freeze. It seems to have come about a month early this winter. The weather service forecasts the cold spell to run for at least another week. I am driving through icy, slushy streets. But it’s mostly sunny, though by the rays of a low-arching winter sun. I see one car that looks like it has just been washed. The rest have a road salt glaze.
I am driving from a Target store to the next stop on my shopping run. The shoppers at the store seemed fairly cheerful. A family went by, the children chattering. A boy, guided by his father, had found a good toy for his Christmas money. A man walked in front of me, and said, “Excuse me.” A floor clerk directed me to the perfume department, and called ahead to have another clerk meet me there. The other clerk researched and found that the store didn’t carry what I was looking for, but that it was available on Amazon. These are Americans, my people. We live in “the land of the free.”
I am driving on the Interstate, further into the city. I think about some of the ways our freedom is threatened by the Trump Administration. For instance, just two weeks ago Trump’s FCC ordered away our internet freedom, giving total control of your connection to your ISP. Under the order, which repeals net neutrality, the information you can get or post will be at the pleasure of the ISP. Another threat to freedom is war, when the powers that be beat the drum for the populace to abandon their pursuits and line up behind the president. Trump’s over-the-top saber rattling, his downgrading of the State Department and diplomacy, his support of Saudi Arabia’s genocidal attack on the Houthis in Yemen, with little doubt, make more war more likely. Another threat to freedom is in the ignorance or denial of science. The Trump administration — criminally, to my mind — fights climate change science, and strives for more fossil fuel burning. And it is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, the foremost worldwide effort to zero-out greenhouse gas release. As our warmer planet produces greater and greater calamities, the nation — and the world — must turn to relief and recovery, rather than progress in infrastructure and the general welfare.
I exit the freeway, go up the ramp and come to a stop. Across the street I notice, for the first time, a sign for the municipality of Linndale. I had only known Linndale for the notorious speed trap it had run for many years on the quarter-mile or so stretch of freeway that ran through it. Now, I see Linndale as a real place. I read the rest of the sign:
Through knowledge … peace.
I guess that’s the motto of this tiny village. But, wouldn’t it be a good one now for the whole nation? “E pluribus unum,” and “Through knowledge peace.”
The Linndale Peace Memorial stands at the end of the Avenue of Peace, the longest street in Linndale, population 179.
Monument to war dead by Savo Savich. Inscribed “Through Knowledge Peace,” “Peace to Mankind,” and “Peace on Earth.” At time of dedication (in 1975), Linndale’s main street was renamed Avenue of Peace.
Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory:
The 9-foot high statue is cast in bronze and standing on a 6-foot high pedestal. The front of the pedestal reads, “Through Knowledge Peace.” Standing on a globe is a young soldier who has thrown his gun under his feet. Holding high the book of knowledge he was reading, a dove flies out with an olive branch of peace. On the globe, through clouds is the history of mankind’s warfare, from sticks and stones , through spears and cavaliers, to guns and bombs. An adjacent wall is shaped as an open book with plaques inscribed with the names of soldiers killed in Vietnam. On the front is inscribed “Peace to Mankind” and “Peace on Earth.” (“Peace Memorial,” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory, accessed December 31, 2017)
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