Ten Years On

It was a dark and stormy night …

Ten years ago, I started Barataria with that perfectly awful line. It was indeed a cold, dark evening in April filled with a sense of anxiety. Where has all this gone in ten years? You be the judge.

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The Day the World Changed

The day started with a shipment of my latest experiments from Germany. The high performance plastics (fluoropolymers) which were on the cutting edge of the technology, if everything turned out right, had to be separated from the latex solution they were made in, washed, and dried. It was a lot of labor but in the 3M lab we had to do our own workup after the fully setup lab across the Atlantic pushed through our requests.

In the middle of squeezing water out of the flaky solids with cheesecloth Steve Amos came in. “A plane hit a building in Manhattan. It’s on fire.” We talked about the news for a while even though we knew little. Steve’s dad was a pilot so I knew he had to talk for a bit.  He left after we chatted and I went back to work. When he came back in a short while later he had a more stern look.

“A second building was hit. They say we’re under attack.”

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Eight Years On

Eight years ago, Barataria began as a humble blog like so many others. It grew out of a need, first and foremost, to get a few things out of my head that would otherwise rattle around and bump into the stories that paid the bills from my job as a professional writer. It has grown into a loyal community of readers who are hunger for new perspectives on this crazy world and respectfully offer their own.

A rapidly changing world needs a diet of more than high calorie headlines. It needs time for a slow meal, carefully prepared and savored through a lingering evening. In a visceral sense that’s what I mean by “I don’t break news, I fix it.” We are all in this together, taking time to chew and swallow before we open our mouths in a joyous moment among friends.

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March of History, Made and Unmade

Two score and Ten years ago today a crowd descended upon Washington.  They were assembled as a movement that traversed the South with Freedom Riders, sat-in at segregated lunch counters, and refused to move to the back of the bus.  It was a black crowd that filled the Mall that day, but it was also a white crowd as well.  It was an American crowd.  The movement crystalized into a moment when Dr. Martin Luther King spoke.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But the threads of history ran deeper than that moment, as Dr. King explained.

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Gettysburg, Then and Now

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Seven score and ten years ago today the Battle of Gettysburg was over.   The carnage was horrific and the course of the Civil War was set.  It would take nearly two more years to wind it down, but a different nation emerged from the blood that soaked the land.  We celebrate 150 years of this battle as a people changed and humbled, yet in many ways still fighting what “liberty” and “equal” mean.

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