Sunday, December 30, 2018

Old Tucson Studios

Outside of Tucson, over Gates Pass and into the Saguaro National Park, lies a historical gem, completely touristy, and great fun!

The Old Tucson Studios was built to film western movies and if you have ever watched old westerns than you have most likely seen it featured. It was built in 1939, burned some years later and rebuilt. It is now, mostly, a tourist attraction and theme park, although there is certainly no reason more movies or shows might not be filmed there.

Over 200 films and many TV series and movies were filmed here. You can see a complete list here:

You may be surprised by how many of them you know!

1860's armored car

From the TV show of the same name
The town was originally made to mirror Tucson in the 1860's

OK Corral?

There are lots of interesting exhibits, shows, and fun things to see and do here, so, if in Tucson, check it out.

Next time, on the 4th, we will return to visiting Vietnam memorials. The first one for 2019, the tenth year of this project, will be in California, so join me there, as we have done for 10 years now, at 9:00am.

To see Vietnam memorials from any state, please click the state name on the left side of this page.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas 2018 redux

I have no idea why the previous post popped up 6 days early, that stuff is way above my pay-grade. So, I thought I might try again with these words from John Lennon and Yoko Ono before returning for one more non-memorial post on the 30th.

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red one
Let's stop all the fight
A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

Albuquerque, NM

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

War is over, if you want it
War is over now

Christmas 2018

This is a repost of what I wrote last year, with a small update or two. It still rings well with me and I'm not sure I could write anything more appropriate this year, so if you missed it enjoy, if you saw it please enjoy once more.

It came upon a midnight clear...

51 years ago tonight, I was on duty somewhere in 'Nam. I can't say I recall doing exactly what, it was just another day to a large extent.

I remember that in base camp they tried to have a special Christmas dinner, but I really don't remember it. I guess it is possible that we were out of port, running up or down the Mekong, I simply cannot remember. What happens to our memories?

I do remember that my parents sent a little Christmas tree. I think maybe it had little lights on it and  at one time I am sure I had a picture, now long gone. I am sure they included various goodies. I do remember that we all gathered around it and completely enjoyed having it sitting on top of my foot locker!

The biggest surprise of that Christmas didn't actually occur on Dec. 25, but several months later.

I finally made it home in April and after the dog went crazy when he saw me get out of the car, and my parents and family all ran out to the street, we all eventually, went in to the house.

And, there, where it always was during my childhood, stood the Christmas tree, all decorated, packages beneath its boughs, waiting for me to come home.

Of course, I have no idea what any of the packages contained, that after all is not what we remember, we remember the feelings, the love and in this case, the relief, of finally being home.

It was indeed special.

This Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Solstice, Kwanzaa, Los Tres Reyes or whatever holy day, holiday, or celebration of new beginnings that you may choose to celebrate remember to take a moment to remember, to be thankful for and to wish them safe home, those, as Mick Jagger calls them, "the common foot soldier, the salt of the earth." You know that while we celebrate with our families and loved ones, hundreds of thousands are pulling duty somewhere, many miles from their homes and loved ones.

Give them a thought.

                                                                               men of good will!

 Happy holidays to you and yours.

Many of you will know that during the holiday season, I often take a small break from writing about memorials. So, next time, on the 30th, look for something a little different, as usual, at 9:00am.

To see memorials from any state in the union, click on a state name on the left side of this page.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Sanoran Desert 2018

Recently, I was back in the Sonoran Desert, one of my favorite places and was able to take a few interesting shots.

Many of us, especially those far away from any desert think of what we see in movies like Lawrence of Arabia or our old western favorites. Large spaces of rolling hills of sand, or a few Saguaro Cacti, otherwise pretty desolate and devoid of life.

Well, these places certainly exist, but the Sonoran is filled with life of all kinds. The Sonoran Desert, by the way, is the only place on earth where the iconic Saguaro grow, so if you see them in your movies, the movie was filmed in Arizona, California, or Mexico.

Saguaro in very unusual light
The following pics are a few of the different kinds of life you might come across in the desert. By no means complete, but beautiful all the same.

I was also able to capture this guy peeking out from some Prickly Pear cacti.

Of course, there is also human life in the desert. This Mission was started in 1692 on the Tohono O'Odham reservation inhabited for generation after generation before Father Kino ever showed up to build his mission.

Next time, on the 25th, I'll post some other interesting shots from my various travels. In the meantime, best wishes and happy holidays to all.

To see additional Vietnam memorials and other photos from any state, please click on the state name on the left side of this page.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Georgia XI

We came across this most unusual Vietnam memorial while driving through Georgia. I'm not sure I have ever seen anything quite like it.

It sits at the site of an old (1909) cotton mill and has utilized some of the equipment from the mill in the memorial.

It is not specifically Vietnam which is so often the case with memorials in smaller areas.

This section of paver bricks names and honors some of those remembered here.

There are a couple of other features here that I will write about later.

As many of you know at this time of the year I choose not to focus on memorials and post a few other interesting ( I hope) pictures I've found along the way. So, next time join me for something completely different, as always at 9:00am on the 20th.

To see additional memorials from Georgia, or any other state, please click the name on the left side of this page.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Florida XVI

The west coast of Florida is especially beautiful and Naples is, arguably, one if its highlights.

After some initial difficulty locating the exact location of Cambier Park, Steve and I were delighted to find this memorial among the many sports fields, tennis courts and many other amenities.

 Many wars and heroes are remembered and honored here.

 Vietnam, too, has a dedication section of the wall.

There is another memorial here dedicated to Vietnam that I will write about at a future time.

The memorial is located on the corner of Cambier Park Way and 8th Street South.

Next time, on the 15th, we will return to Georgia, so meet me there at 9:00am.

To see additional memorials from Florida, or any other state, please click the state name on the left side of this page.

Monday, December 3, 2018

California XXIV

About 25 miles south of Los Angeles is Carson and located at a busy community center/sports complex, with a pool and other amenities, is this memorial to our lost brothers and sisters.

 It seems completely appropriate that our children and grandchildren be reminded of the sacrifice of the few for the many while they enjoy the freedoms so costly won.

The memorial list a series of names with no designation as to what war they might have participated in listed. I looked up a few and found names from several wars, including Vietnam.

This window display, also, does include artifacts from 'Nam.

The memorial is located at 22400 Moneta Avenue.

Next time, on the 8th, we will revisit Florida, so join me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from California, or any other state, please click the state name on the left side of this page.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Arizona XIX

Some of you may recall that a while back I posted pics of a memorial in Anthem, Arizona. The memorial here is a multi-war memorial, which honors all who have served and commemorates all who have been lost.  But, above all, it is a memorial to the signing of the Armistice that ended WWI on November 11, 1918.

I was here in Anthem a few years ago and was struck by the memorial and the fact that at 11 minutes after 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month the sun shines through the apertures in the five steles to illuminate the Great Seal of the United States which rests, awaiting this very moment each year.

I determined when I first visited to return to see this remarkable event. Just as luck would have it, this was the year: exactly 100 years after the signing of the Armistice to end the "War that would end all wars."

I wondered about how crowded the event might be and therefore how difficult it might be to get pictures, so I actually went the day before, hoping that fewer people might be there.

Well, I chose right. We arrived and there were a number of folks with the same idea, but not so many as to make it impossible to get a shot of the exact moment.

I got the photos I wanted and then moved on with the intent to return the next day for the actual ceremonies.

On the 11th, the place was jammed. Hundreds and hundreds of people wanting to be there. There were bands, a choir, speakers and all that one might expect to see. It was humbling.

And, no photography was allowed due to the large numbers, so I really lucked out be coming the day before.

A POW from Vietnam was given an award and I had a chance to speak with him and, not surprisingly, he knows Everett Alvarez, the first pilot shot down over North Vietnam and the longest inhabitant of the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Cmdr. Alvarez lives in my town and I have had the great honor of speaking with him on several occasions. The award was presented on his 90th birthday.

The keynote speaker was Jim Zwit, the only man in his unit who made it home. He has spent much of the rest of his life seeking out the families of his lost buddies and has been successful. His story is quite remarkable and you can find lots about him on line, especially about his chance meeting with a family member of the one guy whose family he could not find. Take a moment and check it out.

So, one more event off the bucket list, I am extremely grateful that I had this opportunity and I recommend that if you are ever in or near Phoenix, you drive a few miles north to anthem and check this out. Not only is the memorial remarkable but it sits in a truly beautiful park, too.

Next time, on the 1st of December, we will return to California, so join me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

To see additional memorials from Arizona, or any other state, please click the state name on the left side of this page.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Alabama XVI

Autauga County, Alabama has lined their Court House with memorials.

Among there is one specifically to Vietnam.

There are no names listed here, so that can mean that none were lost or that they did not want to omit anyone, so they went for a more general approach.

A little research found 13 names from the Prattville area lost or MIA. I called the city to see if I could track down the info, but got nowhere. Everyone I spoke to was very nice but could not help and some numbers did not answer.

Next time, on the 26th, we will return to Arizona, so meet me there at 9:00am.

To see additional memorials from Alabama, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Wyoming IV

Cheyenne has two memorials and this one is located on the grounds of the Cheyenne Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Nestled in among a few trees it honors the 137 from Wyoming lost in the war.

The medical center is located at 2360 East Pershing blvd.

Just this evening I read that a new miniature replica of The Wall has been constructed inside the medical center. It is 22 inches high by 45 feet long and features 58, 300 names, the number at the time of its construction. Since then, as any long time reader of this site knows, the number has risen to 58,318.

I have located a few more memorials in Wyoming, so I will get back there when I am able.

Next time, on the 21st, we will check back in with Alabama, so join me there at 9:00am, as usual.

To see additional memorials from Wyoming, or any other state, please click on the state name on the left side of this page.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans day 2018

I often try to write something on these momentous days in our history.  Today is veterans Day, which as I have written before, commemorates for most of us, the end to WWI.

Veterans Day marks the signing of the armistice, or treaty, that brought an end to hostilities after the first world War.

It's date and name, however, has been messed with over the years. Originally, November 11th, it has been changed to try to accommodate three day weekends or other changes thought to be good. Eventually it came back to the original day. It has, also, been called Armistice Day and Remembrance Day at one time or another.

As you read this, I will be in Arizona in a suburb of Phoenix, called Anthem.

Anthem has constructed a memorial that honors and commemorates all who have served in our armed forces. In fact, I have written about it before on this site. You can find that post if you click on Arizona to the left and scroll back a bit to find it.

What is different this year, is that I am going to witness a unique feature of the memorial as it actually happens.

The five stele representing the service of all branches of our military have had a hole drilled through each of them in such a way that it serves as a portal for the sun.

At 11 minutes after 11, on the 11th day of the 11th month, the sun pours through the openings to illuminate The Great Seal of the United States which is an integral part of the plaza surrounding the memorial which, usually, is in shadow created by the stele. But, for these few minutes at this time, on this day, in this month it shines brightly.

2018 is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the treaty ending the war that was supposed to have been "...the war to end all wars!"

I expect to encounter huge crowds this year, so I may or may not be able to actually photograph the event properly, but more important, to me, is to just be there.

I will keep you posted about my success here and in trying to capture a few more Vietnam memorials in the state.

Also. this is good place to remind you that Veterans Day honors all who have served, 57 million-ish.

Memorial Day, in May, honors those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, 1.1 million approximately.

Armed Forces Day, in May, honors those currently serving, 2 million give or take.

All of these numbers are approximations for a variety of reason.

So, today is about the end of WWI, or its about all who served, whichever, take a moment to remember the service and sacrifice of the very few.

Join me, next time in Wyoming for a post from a VA Medical Center, see you there, as always at 9:00am. on the 16th.

To see additional memorials from Arizona, or any other state, click on the state name on the left side of this page.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Washington XVI

I've posted previously about the Veterans Memorial Garden and Vietnam memorial on the campus of the VA in Vancouver, Washington.

Nearby, is a converted WWII radio building that now houses much memorabilia from many wars, including Vietnam.

The day Steve and I visited there were two volunteers on duty, both 'Nam vets who were eager to show us around.

The Vietnam artifacts took up a good deal of room within the small, two room building.

I was surprised to find this Landing Craft on display. I spent many months at Fort Eustis, Virginia learning to operate these and many other sea going vessels.

It was interesting to find this POW/MIA display, also. I have seen them a couple of times in my travels and they seem to be growing in popularity a I see more now than previously.

Nearby, was this explanation of the various components of the display.

So, from here we will move on to Arizona for a special Veterans Day post, please join me there at 11:11am on the 11th of November.

To see additional memorials from Washington, or any other state, please click the state name on the left side of this page.