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.