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.