Monday, October 26, 2009


I am in Arizona and we have been cursed with a cold front, something that must be endured no matter how disappointing. The temp is only around 82 degrees, brrrr. It was over 90 when we landed Monday night, well after dark.

I drove to Fountain Hills yesterday (10/20/09) to see a memorial I had read about. Later, I wanted to return to Phoenix to re-take some photos there. It was a beautiful day and the drive is about 135 mile to Fountain Hills. Should have been a snap, but with some less than precise directions from Google maps (Hey, Google, there is no exit 16 off Arizona 202 or for that matter no exit 15, or 14) turned it into a much longer than expected 333 mile trek (round trip) and I never did get to Phoenix! That's OK, I am sure I will get back to the area at some time in the not too distant future.

To complete the scene, the monument at Fountain Hills is not a Vietnam memorial. It is a memorial to veterans of all wars since the Spanish American War. It is really a great site and I took a lot of shots, but not really what I was after. Fountain Hills is known for its huge fountain in the middle of its lake. People come from all around to witness the 100 foot plus plume of water that erupts hourly. I happened on to the site right at 2:00, so I got some nice pictures of that, too. Something unique to this site is a plaque bearing the likeness of Bob Hope. He is smiling, wearing a green beret, an Army field jacket, with a golf club over his shoulder. It just says, "Thanks for the memories." which some of you may remember was his tag line. No matter what one might think of his politics, no one can dispute his service to the common soldier. I even got to see his show while I was in 'Nam. What I remember the most is that Raquel Welch was the star traveling with him. She was gorgeous!

Another interesting element is a nearly life-sized statue of an old soldier. He looks to be WW I to me, saluting the three flags on site. (American, POW/MIA and Arizona) As I knelt to photograph him, I thought, in a few years this very old soldier could be one of us, a 'Nam vet.

I met a nice woman who was training her shepherd mix to carry his Halloween jack-o-lantern goodie bucket in preparation for the big day. I wish I had thought to take his pic. He was doing pretty well. He would walk a few yards with it in his teeth, but then drop it. Good thing she started early.

I also met two young Latino men who were there taking photos of the fountain and the memorial. They explained that they had come from El Paso and were in town to see U2, who were playing in Phoenix last night. Talk about "one world" Two Latinos from Texas, in Arizona, to see an Irish band. I love it!!

So, as I've said before, I get to meet a lot of nice folks.

I hope I can figure out a way to authenticate what is a memorial to Vietnam vets and what is not. I am somewhat surprised at how many of these trips have turned out to be not what I thought they were going to be. Yesterday was a very long day and I didn't get any shots of Vietnam memorials. I did enjoy the Fountain Hills site, I'm glad I went, but still...

The first week in November, I will be in Indiana and, hopefully, Kentucky. More then!


PS. A note for my friends and family who may be new (like me) to the world of blogging. If you "click" on the pictures posted with my ramblings, it will enlarge considerably for easier viewing.


Map this memorial.


  1. Spectacular! I especially like the shot of the flags, with the cacti in the foreground, and the mountain in the background. It looks like a beautiful veterans memorial.

  2. Dennis sent us the link to your journey and we will keep checking in. You will be taking me with you vicariously since I can't travel like that any more. I'm particularly jealous of your seeing Wyoming and Montana since Bridget and I loved them so much. Good luck on the road.
    Jim Reagan

  3. I am enjoying your blog so much, Michael, and have sent the link to several people. Beautiful beautiful photos and narratives. Thank you!