Yeah, I'm in this picture. Far left, in military uniform standing in front of the police.
To the Occupy Seattlites I rode with: thanks for the conversation. Big thanks to Gabriel and Ken for driving to and from Portland all in one night.
To the Occupy Portlanders: thank you for the warm welcome. You guys were great.
To the many dancers, musicians, and jokers milling around the encampment: thanks for keeping the atmosphere light.
To the proprietor(s) of Lotus bar: thanks for letting me use your bathroom. Repeatedly.
To the "gentleman" who got in a heated argument with me about the movement, then stated that he would kill me were I not in uniform, then called me a dummy (it was written on a sign he was holding that he waved in my face) and forced me to walk away in disgust: I'm sorry your behavior was so unruly and disrespectful that it got you TASERed and arrested. By the way? I win the argument.
To the police officer who thought it was appropriate to take time out from keeping people safe in order to yell at me for a minor uniform infraction: neither your sarcasm nor your penchant for harassment do honor to the uniform you wear. I am confident that I wore my uniform with well-deserved pride, and I hope that someday you will too.
To the frightened hippie on the front line who helped me face down the police, even though tears were streaming down his face: sorry for squeezing your hand so hard. I was scared too.
To the former Army Specialist in the Guy Fawkes mask who asked me to pin new "rank"-- a flower-- to his collar in military fashion: I have never been so pleased to "promote" someone. Hoo-ah!
To the many police officers, male and female, who peered through their riot shields with near terror in their eyes: don't worry. We're far more likely to hug you than hurt you. Also, I was scared too.
To the man with the tattooed face who informed me his dog had been stolen and then gently told me "He was a good dog": I'm sorry, brother. I hope you find your dog.
To the horse who spooked and almost ran, having scented the tension in the air: easy, big guy! Um. I was scared too.
To my voice, which I seem to have misplaced after a night of continued chanting and shouting: I don't blame you for leaving, but please come back. I miss you.
To every brave individual who stared authority in the face and said "I'm not moving": You are some of the bravest people I've ever met, and I am proud to have "held the line" with you.
To every single person who was in downtown Portland and helped ensure that last night's demonstration and police action ended peacefully and without violence: it doesn't matter which side of the line you were holding or if you were police or protester. Your dedication to peace was awe-inspiring.
To Mayor Sam Adams, Mayor McGinn, and any other politician who dares to send our brethren in the 99% in riot gear to remove us from our adopted homes and infringe on our right to peaceably assemble: We cannot be divided and we cannot be silenced. We are not here on your terms, but on ours. We are the 99%, we are too big to fail, and we will not be moved.
I love you all.
PS: Not the guy with the sign that said "Dummy." You actually suck and I don't love you at all.