Photo 365 #291: Memorial Edition

DSC_0236My hometown does something pretty special for Memorial Day every year.  In addition to putting out the usual rows of flags along the lanes, they also put out smaller flags next to all the veterans’ graves.  But on top of that, they put up white crosses with the names of local veterans and the wars in which they served.

I spent some time out in the cemetery a few years ago photographing some of the crosses.  I knew we’d sent many people to war over the years, but I was surprised to find out just how far back some of the veterans had served.  For instance, we have a veteran from the War of 1812.  Iowa wasn’t even a state in 1812!

We have a veteran of the Civil War, too, and of course there are plenty of veterans from both World Wars, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf.  Someday, there will be other crosses from the current conflict to join them – I can’t count how many of my classmates joined the service after 9/11.

I’m proud to be from a place where veterans are accorded such respect.  They certainly deserve it – without those who would fight and die for our freedoms, we would be a much different country than we are today.

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #35

flags.jpg

I was 17 when the twin towers fell.  It was one of the scariest days of my life, and I was nearly 1100 miles away from Ground Zero.

I watched the events unfold that day on the news.  I saw the first plane hit just before I left for school, and I spent the rest of the day watching the news – no one seemed able to turn it off.  Everyone was in a panic.

Propaganda abounded in the days that followed – I still have a few things that circulated after the attacks.  “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” is still a favorite song, and every time I hear it, I’m reminded of the days and weeks after September 11, 2001, when patriotism was at a high point and all my friends wanted to enlist to kick Osama where it counted.

But these stickers also hail from that era, as do the ones beneath them.  And every last one depicts a peace sign, whether it’s one like in this picture or a frog holding up two fingers.  I was afraid the attacks on New York would hurtle us headlong into a war the likes of which hadn’t been seen in sixty years.  I feared my home would be the next target.  I feared a lot of things, but I also prayed for peace.

Even at 17, I knew that not all Muslims are the same, just as not all Jews are the same, not all Christians are the same, not all Hindus are the same.  Extremists and terrorists exist in all cultures, all religions, and we shouldn’t judge the majority of a culture by the acts of the minority.  I hoped that my country would emerge from the ashes of that day stronger and more resilient.

Tonight, after supper was cleaned up and Bubbles had opened his birthday gifts…

Election reflection

You know, I had all these wonderful thoughts about the election last night as I was trying desperately to come down off the wave of pride I was riding after President Obama was declared the winner of the yesterday’s election.  I even had some pretty good ones this morning, despite the fact that I was ridiculously tired and felt like I’d been hit by a campaign bus.

But now?  Now that I have the time to sit down and compose said thoughts into a coherent blog post?

Yeah, not so much.

Democratastic

I love the smell of democracy in the morning.  -Erica Acton

For all you Harry Potter fans, be sure to check out the link below.  Mr. Acton is one crazy talented guy, and you can find more of his work at Matchstick Marvels in Gladbrook, Iowa.  They have all the cool stuff in the Brook. 😉

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.

Happy birthday, America!

Today is the Fourth of July.  Independence Day.  America’s birthday.  And on this day, I’ve got something to share with you.

All gave some. Some gave all. Some stood through for the red, white and blue, and some had to fall. And if you ever think of me, think of all your liberties and recall some gave all.
Photo by Kay Kauffman

The lyrics in the caption are from the Billy Ray Cyrus song, “Some Gave All.”  I’ve always loved that song and on a day like today, when we honor those who fought and died for our independence, I find those words especially fitting.

The picture is from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.