Saturday, December 28, 2019

Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Balloon fiesta is held for nine days each October. It began in 1972 with one balloon as part of a unrelated event and grew into more than 1,000 balloons. This number had to be limited over time due to expansion of the city and the loss of safe landing areas.

The events start in the very early morning and continue until the winds change, usually in the early afternoon, it then resumes in full force as the winds pick up in the late afternoon and evening.

There are mass ascensions where many balloons take off at roughly the same time, but all begin with the heating of the air inside the envelope (balloon.)

One of the main features of this New Mexico event is what is called the Albuquerque box. Because of the landscape of flat lands and mountain ranges the wind blows in such a way that a Balloonist can take off at one spot, travel along and between the mountains and return to nearly the same spot from which he ascended. This is unusual if not completely unique.

Balloons land in many different places. Locals who are open to them landing on their property spray big red X's to alert the pilots that it is OK to land. Then folks run out and help collapse the envelope, store the whole apparatus and usually take part in a impromptu party after. Balloonists oven carry Champagne and other goodies to break out as a "Thank you" to those who help.

A French team landed right near my friends house and we helped them pack up. One guy on the team (of four, I think) was American and translated for all of us. The team ALWAYS wears these headbands with fake hair and they had an extra for me for this shot! Last time I had this much hair, I was probably a teenager! For those who don't know, I am second from the left.

Next time, on the 2nd, more from Albuquerque and some of the marvelous "shaped" balloons, then, on the 7th back to Vietnam memorials.

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

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas 2019

I had really hoped to be able to get down to The Wall to photograph this year's tree, but it was not to be.

So, here is a a pic from trees past, this one from 2016.

As you can see from the pic, Wreaths Across America not only honors each marker in Arlington National Cemetery (253,000,) as well as other cemeteries across the land, they also honor The Wall and many other memorials.


I did not take this pic of Arlington National Cemetery but I found it on the Wreaths Across America page.

I encourage you to look into this organization and help them if you can.

This year they placed 253,000 wreaths at ANC and thousand more across the nation. they are always in need of donations, people to help place the wreaths and even more to help clean up later in January.

So, if you can...

Next time, on the 28th, as promised previously, I'll share some of the outstanding balloons from Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. So meet me there at 9:00am, as always.

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

New Mexico XVIII

Awhile back I had the chance to fulfill a long time goal. I wanted to see the famous Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta held each in that beautiful, historic city and the opportunity presented itself due to my good friends, Craig and Carol, who mover there after retirement.

To get the full experience you arrive well before dawn to watch and maybe even help the hundreds upon hundreds of magnificent hot air balloons prepare for the days events which are numerous. There are ascensions, displays, and races just to name a few and I will post more on that later,

After a full morning of events we were leaving as the winds change and not too much goes on in the midday, although there always seems to be someone in the air, sometimes many.

We came across this fantastic balloon just as we were headed out.

Among all the balloons here and there are many, many uniquely shaped and /or decorated examples of peoples dedication to the art and craft of ballooning, this one stands out as a tribute to POW/MIAs.

I know that the POW/MIA symbolism on this balloon has come to represent all still missing from all wars, but as I have said before, it will always be a 'Nam thing to me. It was created by the wife of a POW in 'Nam and has come to honor all. Over 80,000 are still listed as missing since WWI.

This is a pic of the truck these guys use and according to their website there are several balloons that travel to various events throughout the year. this stuff is very expensive and they are always looking for donations, so if you are so inclined check them out and help them out if you can,

I particularly like this balloon because it shows that memorials to our lost brothers and sisters can take many forms. Over the years I have noted that memorials to those lost in 'Nam tend to be some kind of Wall, a Huey on a mission, or soldiers helping a fallen comrade, so finding something unique, like this one, is always special to me. 

For the next couple of posts, as is my tradition, I will be writing about something other than our losses in Vietnam. this time of the year is supposed to be joyful, so I always try to highlight other pictures about happier things.

So, next time, on the 23rd, I will post some additional pics from Balloon Fiesta for the holidays.

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

Friday, December 13, 2019

New Jersey XVI

This memorial sits on the lawn of the Raws-Tait VFW in Somerdale, New Jersey.

William Raws and William Tait were both fallen heroes of WWII and the front of the memorial bears plaques to each of them.

No other names from any war are listed here except for a small plaque directly in front of the memorial to someone who served in WWII but died in 1977. No explanation is given.

The Vietnam memorial sits to the right of the memorial and is mirrored by a Korean memorial on the left.

A check of the Virtual Wall shows no names from Somerdale lost in Vietnam.

I walked around the grounds of the VFW to see if anyone was around to no avail, but I did find this interesting item among various plants along with a couple of tribute stones, for lack of a better name, to the various Services.

The VFW is located at 10 Kennedy Boulevard, Somerdale, NJ.

Next time, on the 18th, we will visit New Mexico, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Sunday, December 8, 2019

New Hampshire XII

So, my friends, here we go again!

I need your help. Buried in my files from the northeast is this memorial.

It lies intermingled with sites from New Hampshire but I cannot pinpoint its location.

I pulled a name of the Vietnam section and the hero is from Canaan, New Hampshire. However, and this is just as baffling to me, the other five names are not listed anywhere in the records of the many lost! I have searched the VVMF's Virtual Wall records and can find not one of the other five listed here.

That anomaly aside, until I hear from you, I am going to consider this memorial from Canaan.  To add to the confusion, I have found, online, a Canaan Veterans memorial that is similar to this one, but not exact. Perhaps it has been updated, or renovated, or replaced. I am counting on you to update me, as you have done in the past.

Next time, on the 13th, we will return to New Jersey, so meet me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Massachusetts XVI

Somehow this never got posted on Thanksgiving Day, so here, a bit late, it is. Not sure what happened but...

It seems fitting that I be writing about a memorial in Massachusetts today, Thanksgiving 2019. It is possibly the most often thought about state at this time of year. Many of us believe that it was here that the first Thanksgiving was held. This is not accurate historically, but it is still our long held belief and somehow just makes posting from Southbridge a bit more meaningful even if the first Thanksgiving as we know it was actually in Virginia.

The memorial here sits in a small area created by Main Street as it enters and exits a circle.

Many names are listed here of those who served in Vietnam, the lost are grouped together in a place of honor and where you will not miss them.

I am always please when I see these small markers at these sites.

However, I have never seen one of these before. I do not know what the French population in Massachusetts is, but when I returned from 'Nam the first girl I dated was from the state and she was of French heritage. I am sure she never knew, but she played a huge role in my readjustment and I will always be grateful to her.

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

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

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Maryland XXV

I've been reading for a few years now about a new memorial in Friendsville, Maryland to the six from the town who were lost in Vietnam.

As recently as this week I discovered that ground has been broken and that the project is finally underway.

However, I wonder if you know that Friendsville has an older memorial to her six heroes that was erected in 1975.

It lies, seemingly, on the grounds of Friendsville Elementary School, located at 1st and Park.

The quote seen on the memorial a paraphrase of a line from John Donne (d.1631,) and is probably associated most with Hemingway's novel. As a one-time English teacher, I like to to see this.

The six men here, two of whom seem to be related, are from a town of 600 people at the time of their deaths and this small town is diligently trying to honor them in a grander way with the new memorial.

Next time, on the 28th, we will once again take a trip to Massachusetts, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Monday, November 18, 2019

Indiana X

Today just a quick post and a plea for help from the "hive" as my cousin calls it.

These two pics were taken in some kind of a government facility, maybe a city hall or something, I just cannot remember!

They honor the seven from the area, Posey County, I think, who were sacrificed in 'Nam. Both Posey County and Mount Vernon are mentioned on the lower plaque, but that is no guarantee!

The last two seem to have been added at a later time as the lettering is somewhat different from the first five.

This last pic, I am sure I took to remind me of where I was, but, again, I am not sure, I am guessing this is actually Mount Vernon as it is near Evansville, and Evansville is the next set of pictures in my catalogue.

So if you recognize the plaque or this sign, please tell me if I am right or wrong. If I hear from anyone, and I am shocked at how often I do, I will up date you here.

Next time, on the 23rd we will revisit Maryland, so meet me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Monday, November 11, 2019

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall~recount

Anyone who knows me, or reads these pages, knows that I rail against those whose sole raison d'etre is to sell you stuff. That, I suppose, in and of itself is what it is, but I really get ticked when they don't have the desire or integrity, or common decency to at least get the numbers correct. They will sell you hats, pins, and other crap with the wrong number of our lost brothers and sisters emblazoned upon them. I have commented and notified them on dozens of occasions as to what the correct numbers actually are as verified by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial foundation, (VVMF) the people who built The Wall, and they continue to ignore their errors and sell you the same old incorrect crap.  I call the VVMF each May to see if any additional names have been identified and added to The Wall so that my numbers are correct.

As I have written numerous times, that number as of May 2017 is 58,318 after several names were added that year. No names have been added since.

Well, it seems that I too was wrong.

 The VVMF and the Department of Defense (DOD) have recently (May 2019) completed a four year audit of the names on The Wall and official DOD records to, at last, get to the truth.

Some very interesting information came out of the audit.

The actual number of names on The Wall is 58,390!

When you allow of mistakes, duplications etc the number is reduced somewhat dramatically.

If you subtract the 69 names that were re-inscribed as corrections you now have 58,321

 Allowing for duplicates, you subtract 13 leaving 58,308

Considering the those who are actually alive, but listed, then you subtract 32 giving you and grand and now correct total of 58,276.

The final document is seven pages long and I will include a link to it at the end of this post. It is really pretty interesting.

All of this side, what will the money changers, I mean crap sellers do now?

Truth be told, I expect that they will do nothing, just keep on selling this junk, this disrespectful crap, this blatant slap in the face to all vets and even more sadly....

...too many will go right on buying it.

To read the full report, go here:

Oh, and by the way have a good Veterans Day, if you are not a Vet, thank one!

Next time on the 16th, we will travel back to Indiana, so join me there at 9:00am.

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

Friday, November 8, 2019

Georgia XV

The previous post from Georgia was from Griffin in Spaulding County. The park there has a number of memorials and two of them, at least, mention Vietnam.

In this first picture you see much of this beautiful spot, both memorials and the eternal flame in front of the memorial on the left.

This memorial honors the lost from both the Korean and Vietnam wars so one assumes that it was here first and the other added later.

Set just under a beautiful tree the memorial lists names form each conflict.

 These are the heroes honored here for all time.

To see the post about the other memorial here, please click on Georgia on the left side of this page and scroll back one post.

Next time, on the 11th, look for a special post about new findings about The Wall. Join me there at 11 minutes after 11am.

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

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Connecticut XIV

Once again I have been caught not being able to keep up with my responsibilities.

I have not posted for a while as I have been up to my neck in another, exciting, project. I hope to be able to tell you about it very soon.

For today, however, I will take you back to Connecticut.

Brooklyn is among a few sites I have seen where no one was actually lost in Vietnam. I can't really say how many places build a memorial solely to those who served, but in my travels I have not seen very many, it always pleases me when I do come across one.

This one sits adjacent to the Solders and Sailors Memorial on Route 169 near the intersection of Highway 6.

I know I repeat myself when I say that I am often taken aback by what small towns do for their own. with fewer resources than larger places they still seem to honor their sons and daughters.

I thought the symbol/insignia at the top of the stone was interesting. I have not seen it before and wonder if it is not unique to this memorial.

Next time, on the 8th (I hope!) we will venture to Georgia, so join me there at 9;00am.

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