A Memorial Day Salute and Promise for the Future


Today is the day to pause and show our respect to those who, regardless of race, religion, gender, national origin or sexual orientation, served, fought and died to protect our country and all Americans, those living now or in the future from enemy harm. Those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country and its people deserve the highest honor possible, to be sure. And I believe those who have been maimed by war, physically or mentally, should be equally honored. One such victim I’m proud to have as friend and former high school classmate. His name is Jim Walktendonk, and he and family suffered greatly from the ill effects of U.S. war planes spraying what was called “agent orange” to defoliate the greenery the enemy hid in and expose them to U.S. fire power. Unfortunately, the chemicals in the agent orange also had adverse impact on our troops as well. I’ll let Jim Walktendonk tell the complete story.

One way we can give honor and respect to those who died to protect our freedom is by working, individually or in groups, to build a healthier and more peaceful world. Unfortunately, the world we share is not getting any any healthier nor any more peaceful, but just the opposite.

With a population of over 7 billion people we must find ways to live more peacefully with one another and be more protective of our finite earth. We elect our political leaders to keep us out of wars and our economy strong but they are seldom successful at doing either

We now face the biggest threat to humanity of all time in rapid global warming, due primarily to: our excessive fossil fuel burning in cars, homes, businesses and airplanes; in production of an excessive amount of consumer goods for many individuals and a dearth of such goods for others, and in shipment of those goods; in military exercises around the world; in the type of foods we eat and the methods of its production; in our use of water and by a myriad of other sources and by deforestation, especially in the tropical area of the world considered by many to be the lunges of the planet. Along with warming temperatures caused by a thickening greenhouse atmosphere around our planet comes more extreme weather, warming and rising seas, a changing climate and how that changes the supporting biodiversity. Although too difficult to separate out from other weather extreme events, global warming has now without a doubt become the greatest killer of American and other peoples ever, of the earth’s animal populations, and the number of deaths linked to it each year will likely grow significantly, without major and swift action taken by our governments, commerce and you and I.

Public officials, state and federal lawmakers, and many members of the media who continue to cite uncertainty and spurious research as reason not for people not to take serious action now to reduce all sources of greenhouse gas emission should be judged harshly; their actions (or inaction) are crimes against humanity of the highest order. The people we honor today would likely agree, wholeheartedly.

We do not need a war to rise to the occasion and join the fight against global warming. To do that, we must all hop on the peace train, put down our gun, and fight the fight of our life for the living planet, OUR EARTH.

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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