This Veterans Day, read the profile of the 75-year-old man who has been caring for war memorials in Philadelphia. He keeps coming back to look after his brother’s name, one of 648 etched into the city’s Vietnam War memorial. And, an Inquirer reporter writes about his own struggles to measure up to his veteran father.
Also, The Inquirer analyzed census data to find that Philadelphia has the biggest gender gap of any major U.S. city: Women here outnumber men by about 90,000. We tell you why.
No one is quite sure when Jim Moran became the caretaker of the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It just seems that for as long as the monument has been around, Moran, 75, has been there. Moran’s brother is one of 648 names etched into the city’s granite memorial.
Moran was there when the memorial was dedicated in 1987. Day after day, he came back and, naturally, he became the caretaker.
“When I started in 1987, I had one brother," he said. “Now I have 648.”
Philadelphia is the most predominantly female big city in the U.S. There are about 86 men for every 100 women in the city, according to an Inquirer analysis. The rest of the nation is more balanced: 51% women to 49% men.
So, where did all of Philadelphia’s men go? There are a number of factors for the city’s gender gap, including the criminal justice system, life expectancy, health issues, and more.
Some districts are bringing in substitute drivers who aren’t familiar with routes. Sometimes they double up on runs, which keeps kids on buses longer. Not only is the struggle to find school bus drivers impacting districts nearby, but, nationally, 24% of school districts reported having “severe” or “desperate” driver shortages, according to a survey.
“It’s not as if you can take pretty much anybody off the street,” said the executive director of the Pennsylvania School Bus Association. Drivers have to go through hours of training, pass background checks, work split shifts, and spend time looking after students.
A picture like this might be one of the only benefits of the sun setting so early these days. Awesome picture, @bhalda.
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“All I know for certain is that Sgt. Jim survives. It’s a priceless quality, one I’d like to emulate. No, I don’t have war experience to draw on. But I can watch my father’s strength and grace, and learn. He has a lot to teach. The man is a veteran, after all.” — Inquirer reporter Alfred Lubrano writes about measuring up to his father.