Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Orange County Choppers

Bill had a choice to have two weeks off or to head on up to New York State for a Sam's Club remodel in Fishkill. We decided to head to New York not just for the extra money but also in hopes that it would be cooler than it had been in the Atlanta area.

{Disclaimer : As I am not much of a TV person, when we DID have satellite TV back PR (Pre-Recession) Bill watched American Chopper quite a bit so most of my knowledge of OCC comes from the sound imprinting itself by osmosis into my brain. The same goes for South Park, Family Guy and other irritating, animated type shows. Although I must say South Park definitely hit upon some hilarious cultural idiosyncrasies and just plain stupidity.}

Upon arriving in New York we first stopped in Newburgh to see the Orange County Choppers building. We stopped on a Sunday but I'm told that you can view the shop area from a window if you are there during the week.






Most of the bikes are located along the side walls of the store including the FDNY bike which is my favorite besides the Christopher Reeve Foundation Bike. There are t shirts and memorabilia from various fire departments mostly from the East Coast all around the bike as it if were a shrine, which I guess in some ways it is.


Of course the show has gone downhill in my opinion after Paul Jr left and Sr had no one to scream at....I think Jr was definitely the brains behind the majority of the cool bikes and all Paul Sr does is be an ass. Hopefully the bike world sees it as such. I can only say that it is sad that fame and fortune, which everyone dreams of having, was ultimately a huge factor in the family break up. It happens so often nowadays. Unfortunately who knows if the rift is real or if it is a publicity stunt for their new Sr vs Jr show? You really don't know these days kind of like the Kardashian Dramas and the Gene Simmons blow up. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame and works hard to make it a half hour.

http://www.orangecountychoppers.com/


http://pauljrdesigns.com/

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dave Roller

I had forgotten to post about stopping at a Lowe's in Suwanee Georgia one day while we were in Atlanta and there was a guy in a truck parked in front of us. He flagged down Junior and asked if we were from Wisconsin. By then Bill and I had come out of the store and went over to the truck. Come to find out it was Dave Roller, #74 from the Packers during the late 1970s. He "invented" the "Sack Dance" way before sacks were even counted as stats and before the Lambeau Leap was even a possibility.

He talked with us for a bit after giving us his picture and a write up from the February/April 2003 Packer Report. I asked him about his health as so many of the older players didn't have the contracts they do today nor the medical  care as technology was not what it is now. He said that he was basically ok except for knee issues.

Dave seemed like one of the kind of guys you would love to meet down at the bar to have a few and listen to his stories. I sure wish we would have been able to do that instead of just a parking lot chat but he did tell us where the Cheeseheads hang out for games during the season in case we are there then. He even said he stops in every so often.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Roller

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Realities of Medical Care on the Road and That Damn Georgia Pollen!

Just some updating on real life on the road and the things that you don't necessarily think of when you are finally able to leave on your big adventure. Normally people do this when they have Medicare so it is somewhat easier to not only find medical care but to also pay for it. We knew it would be more difficult to get care on the road as when we started we had BadgerCare which is only good in the State of Wisconsin. . If you've read my previous posts you see what a challenge it was at one time to get my meds.  Now that BadgerCare is a moot point -- thanks Scott Walker! -- we have to sort of patch things together and roll with the punches as we go. I may dislike Walmart's ethics intensely but hey, when you are short of money their $4 prescriptions just can't be beat. The biggest challenge has been finding a chiropractor that charges $50 or less and who doesn't require recent x-rays. I got lucky a few times, especially in Las Vegas where I found a coupon for a free initial consultation and adjustment that was expiring the next day!


I guess in all we have been somewhat lucky since leaving except for Bill's little 4 hour/$7000 visit to the ER in Casa Grande Arizona for his kidney stones. We had to pass up our dentist visit in Algodones Mexico this year as Bill has to leave Arizona on January 2 to be in New York and I wasn't about to cross over the border by myself although Algodones is rather safe unlike Juarez or Tijuana. So wouldn't you know that I started having problems with one of my teeth on my right side toward the front when we were near Philadelphia. It got so painful that I called around to the two dental schools in Philly when I finally couldn't take the pain and the swelling had gotten up to my right eye. I wasn't able to get in at all as you need to be at the university at 6am to even get in line and come to find out the clinics are not really in the best areas of town....I didn't want to be driving around in Philadelphia in pain and have the truck jacked or something! So I woke up Bill as I found a dentist who would get me in right away. Come to find out my tooth is totally split and they wanted to take it out but because of the infection they were sending me to a oral surgeon....hmmmm, not in the budget?!? So I paid their $70 and got a prescription of antibiotics and am just being careful with it until I can find out if they can save the tooth at all somewhere else. This dentist says no but I really don't want a gaping hole in the front side of my face.


Fast forward to this week in the Atlanta area. I am not sure what it was that bloomed but one thing is for sure -- it did not like me. I woke up Tuesday morning with my normal allergy eyes that I have once or twice a year in Wisconsin. During the day it progressed so far that my left eye was swollen entirely shut and when Bill got up I told him I had to go somewhere as the burning was something horrible. So he asked the guys at the office where a walk in clinic was and I learned another lesson -- I will no longer let him do the recon work for emergency medical runs. The first clinic we drove to -- and the farthest away I might add -- was closed already. The second one has shut down permanently. The GPS listed the nearest hospital as being 50 miles away which we know NOT to be true. Finally I told him to look at the door and there was a sign with a phone number for one of their still open locations. He called and we headed back to almost near the campground we had left in the first place!


Obviously this walk in clinic has been burned before on getting paid as before they would even let Bill fill out my information -- I couldn't even see enough to do that so they had to deal with his chicken scratching -- we had to pay $111. Then once I got back in the room the doctor wanted to give me a prednisone shot as the reaction was so bad that some of my airways had started closing. So Bill had to go back out in front and pay another $40 before they would even do anything else. One prednisone shot in the butt, a 5 day course of the drug from hell and some free samples of Claritin, nasal spray and eye drops and I was out the door in all of 20 minutes. The only reason I am taking the prednisone is because I was in that bad of shape. It was on this wonderful pharmaceutical invention that I gained 35 lbs in 3 months after my car accident. Of course the doctor failed to mention that one little side effect! It is only today that I can finally put my contacts back in and look outside without wearing Bill's dark wrap around sunglasses. All this and I was taking a nightly Benadryl already....what the hell is in the pollen in the South??

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hot Times in Georgia

We arrived back to Atlanta just in time for a hotter than normal June as well as frequent, unpredictable thunder storms. We had found a campground called Atlanta West which was in Austell about 4 miles from the Family Dollar that Bill and Junior were completing. The place was an absolute dump. I would say it was one of the top two in worst campgrounds that we have ever stayed in. Standing water in the women's bath/shower room, only one working shower with a 3/4 torn off shower curtain, no hot water in the sink, downed trees not cleaned up, trash all over, non working swimming pool fenced off with a broken fence....you get the picture. The campground was full of people like the picture of our neighbor here....down on their luck and staying somewhere cheap until better fortune would arrive. I do like his ingenuity with the air conditioner and the floor lamp. He also had TV as we could see it through the tent walls at night.

Still, the area did not look so bad until I was reading up on an accident we had seen the previous day. I then found out that Cobb County, although mostly rural, had had 3 homocides that week.........yes, that WEEK! Needless to say we decided to head up towards Gainesville as they were going to work on the owner's house again the following week. We checked into Old Federal Campground in Flowery Branch as we had been there for a weekend the last time we were in Atlanta. It was not busy then but it sure is now! With Bill never knowing until the last minute where he is being sent we can't make reservations at busy campgrounds so it is fortunate that I have the Access Pass that gets me the handicapped sites that are not reservable online. It also gets us half price camping so instead of $32 a night for a site on the water we only have to pay $16. That definitely helps quite a bit.

http://lanier.sam.usace.army.mil/




And you can see that Dozey sure likes camping!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Warning! History! Philosophical Discussion! Confederate Cemetery Marietta Georgia - Warning! History! Philosophical Discussion!

As I stated in a previous post, being in the East and the South somehow makes history seem so much more real to me. I have been both fascinated and appalled by the Civil War and the fact that in some areas of the South it seems to be alive and well even today. Growing up in Northern Wisconsin the Civil War was no more real to me than 70 degree temperatures in January. Again, I believe my fascination now is directly related to the fact I am now visiting places that before were only words in a textbook (or in country music songs!) - Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga, Chattahoochee.




I have been thinking about the causes, outcome and reprecussions of the Civil War and actually got wondering why soldiers or commanders, such as Robert E. Lee, were not tried for treason or were not considered traitors. After visiting the Marietta Georgia Confederate Cemetery where everything refers to "heroes" of the Confederacy I felt compelled to do some research. I had initially, and erroneously, remembered that the Civil War was only about the ability to own another person based on his or her skin color. I now realize that the reasons went much deeper than that -- something that I unfortunately did not pick up from my high school textbooks.


It appears that Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and other high ranking Confederate officials were indicted due to their participation in the confederacy but the charges never escalated to treason except in Davis' case,  due to their being pardoned by President Andrew Jackson before he left office.


"After the American Civil War, no person involved with the Confederate States of America was tried for treason, though a number of leading Confederates (including Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee) were indicted. Those who had been indicted received a blanket amnesty issued by President Andrew Johnson as he left office in 1869."  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason


One argument that any trial of Lee for treason would no doubt have not been successful was because it was the North that actually declared war upon the South. Another is that there is no provision in the United States Consitution that says that the individual states cannot secede from the Union. Some argue that the Confederate States were only utilizing the principle set forth in the Declaration of Independence that states if "....any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...." and obviously from the point of view of most Southerners, not including the blacks, the Union had become destructive to their way of life and it was only their duty to secede and form their own separate country.


http://www.helium.com/debates/156157-should-robert-e-lee-have-been-tried-for-treason


http://cwmemory.com/2009/01/06/the-death-of-robert-e-lee/


There are many essays and opinions written about the treason issue which then begin to involve States' Rights, limited Federal Government and allegiance to one's homeland. It seems that during the era preceeding the Civil War one's allegiance was more tied to what state one was from rather than allegiance to the United States. This only makes sense to me as at that time the country was less than 100 years old. Old ties die hard. At that time we as a nation had also not lived through many unifying incidents such as the Depression, World Wars I & II, the Korea Conflict, Vietnam, and most recently 9-11.  Many people believed at the time that the Constitution of the United States called for strong states' rights and a weaker, limited federal government than what they saw to be evolving. Somehow that does not seem to be so farfetched from what we are experiencing as a nation right now politically - the Tea Party wants extremely limited federal powers while the Democrats would like to see a stronger federal government. It is both heartening and disillusioning that these very same arguments have existed for over 200 years. It is also disillusioning to remember that at one point in time we as a nation were not able to civilly and amicably resolve our differences so that all sides could live with the concessions and decisions. Somehow discourse falling into outright war does not seem so farfetched when you look at the political climate today. Politicians seem more interested in blaming the other side and are not willing to give and take.

So to wrap up my rambling the question is - Could this nation ever again be drug into a civil war? In my opinion probably not such a civil war as occurred in the 1860s. But I do believe that we could end up in a class based "war" or revolution much like what has been occurring lately in the Middle East and other places around the world. What the rich don't seem to understand is that their smooth and orderly way of life is dependent on the peons being happy also.  And right now there are quite a few discontented people who have been denied the American Dream much as the African Americans were denied the American Dream before the Civil War.

Are you one of them?

Disclaimer - these thoughts are entirely my own and written down while I was quite sober thank you. Any wine based beverage that you would like to supply will evoke further musings both on and off tangent.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Home Again

We have noticed that when we have been to an area when something happens there it is more real for us than previously. For example when the tornado demolished the Lowe's in Sanford, North Carolina. We had just boondocked in the Walmart right next door to that very same Lowe's. We had been in parts of Alabama and we were in St Louis when the tornado hit Joplin. I had worked Joplin in the fall of 2009 while Bill was working in Coffeyville Kansas at Amazon. It seems like the cycle was broken as in the last few weeks there have not been any violent storms following us.

The week before Memorial Day actually found us in the Chicago area. Bill did not have to be in Atlanta until June 5 so he enthusiastically and I reluctantly decided to go home for a week. I really didn't want to spend a week at home during the summer as for me it would be just that much harder to leave with my unattended gardens calling out my name.

On our way through Chicago on Thursday May 26 we came upon this sight. Now we obviously knew that smog existed in large cities but had never seen it so up close and personal. You are looking at downtown Chicago believe it or not -- you just can't see the skyscrapers very well or wave at Oprah.















Once home we again were able to fit in a fish fry, this time at Jekyll & Hyde's in Pickerel. For those of you who are familiar with the area it is the old Cowboy's. And boy do they have excellent perch! We thought they are a close second to Wendt's. We have searched constantly since moving up north to find a location that had that good of perch as Bill won't eat any other kind of fish. Hopefully they continue doing what they are doing so that we can visit every time we manage to get home.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jekyll-Hydes/147095848681633?v=info&sk=info#!/pages/Jekyll-Hydes/147095848681633?sk=wall

Speaking of returning home, we had hoped to be somewhere near Wisconsin during the middle of July as we had found a flyer for the Cadott Rock Fest and were wanting to go. Rob Zombie on Thursday night, Kid Rock on Friday night and Sunday! Jackyl, Tesla, Heart and Def Leppard.....but seeing as it looks like Bill is being sent to Mississippi for 12 weeks, it looks like we won't get back until October when I have to meet with my doctor.

www.rock-fest.com

Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales

As I mentioned in the previous post about the Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour in St. Louis, I have always loved the Budweiser Clydesdales. But after visiting the three locations in St. Louis I am now a Clydesdale groupie! Quite frankly, the Clydes were one of the first stops on the brewery tour and it could have ended right there for me as I had seen what I was interested in! In fact, the tour guide gave everyone the option of returning to the hospitality room after seeing the Clydes and the Dalmatians so I guess I'm not the only one who feels that way.


There are now three units of Budweiser Clydesdales that travel the country for appearances. Two Clydes are called a "team" and anything more than two are called a "hitch". Each hitch travels with 10 Clydesdales and their gear in three semis - the first semi will have 2 Clydes and all the food, meds etc that are needed on the road. The second semi will have 6 Clydes and the third semi will have the last 2 Clydes and the harnesses and the beer wagon. The hitch based at Warm Springs Ranch in Boonville Missouri serves the West Coast, the hitch based at the St. Louis Brewery serves the Midwest and the hitch based in Merrimack New Hampshire serves the East Coast. Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri is also now the base of the breeding program after being moved there from Southern California a couple of years ago.


During our visit some of the mares were still pregnant and some had already had their foals for the season. A baby Clyde, if you can call it a "baby", is born weighing around 125 pounds and measuring 3 1/2 feet in height. Our tour guide told us that normally the mares give birth very fast. In fact she said that one mare had started giving birth at 2pm during the afternoon tour the previous week and she was done some 12 minutes later!
Unfortunately, this little guy here named Cyclone lost his mother at 2 months of age to a twisted gut. Because they don't want the foals to imprint too much on humans and because Clydes are such a social animal they had to get the baby a companion. They went to a neighboring farm and brought him a goat to be in the pen with him 24/7. Our tour guide told us that they groom each other and play together constantly. The goat even cries for Cyclone when they take him out of the paddock for exercise!

In order to become a member of the hitch a Clyde must be a gelding, must stand at least 18 hands (6 feet) high, must weigh between 1800 and 2300 pounds and must be at least 4 years old.The Clyde must also have the recognizable markings of a Budweiser Clydesdale : bay coat, 4 white stockinged legs, a blaze of white on the face and a black mane and tail. Each Clyde is able to pull twice it's own weight so a 2,000 pound horse can be pulling 4,000 pounds. There are eight horses on each hitch and each horse not only has it's own 130 pound harness made to fit him exactly, each horse also has it's specific place on the hitch. The bigger, stronger Clydes are called wheelhorses and are placed next to the beer wagon while the showmen or the horses that best play to the crowd as well as being agile, are placed in the very front to prance and entertain the people.

The hitches are on the road some 10 months per year as they are only allowed to travel 500 miles per day. Each hitch will stop at various pre-determined stables along the route to the next appearance so that the horses can rest and be exercised. The horses are washed and groomed daily when not performing and when they do get ready to perform it takes the trainers 5 hours to get the Clydes ready, from bathing to braiding the red and white ribbons in their manes and tails.

I would definitely recommend the Warm Springs Ranch Tour if you are in either Kansas City or St. Louis Missouri. The ranch is located about half way between the two immediately off of I-70. You do have to make reservations for either the morning tour at 10am or the afternoon tour at 2pm as they only take a limit of 55 people at one time. The tour does cost $10 and there are no complimentary beverages afterwards like with most Anheuser-Busch attractions.



Of course you know they say the grass is always greener!


The other Anheuser-Busch animal themed vs beer themed attraction we visited in St. Louis was Grant's Farm. It is located practically in the city but has acres of land and works with the conservation over 900 animals from 100 different species. The farm was founded in the 1850s by Ulysses S. Grant but was purchased by the Busch Family in 1907. Besides conservation the Farm runs educational camps for kids.  This is the only Anheuser-Busch attraction that was not sold to ImBev when the company sold out a few years ago. In fact, the Busch Family still has a house on the grounds that is fully staffed and ready for any family member to visit. I especially loved the petting zoo with the baby goats where anyone could get a bottle of milk to feed them.


http://www.grantsfarm.com/



video

The Budweiser.com website has a listing of the schedules for each of the three hitches for each month. Please take a look and see if you can go and support this outstanding PR program and see some of the "gentle giants" for yourself.

http://www.budweiser.com/en/world-of-budweiser/clydesdales/default.aspx#/world-of-budweiser/clydesdales/index

video






Thursday, June 9, 2011

St. Louis Missouri

When you think of visiting St. Louis as a tourist (something I NEVER would have done if not for traveling for Bill's job!) many people think of two places : the Arch and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. So of course when we were there in May we had to visit both locations. The neat thing was that both activities were very wallet friendly.


First, we visited the Anheuser-Busch Brewery located near downtown. Both the Arch and the Brewery were located near some not so pretty areas of the city. St. Louis has had the ugliest downtown areas that I believe we have seen since we hit the road in 2009. Granted other cities we have visited no doubt have ugly areas just like the area near the Arch and the river, we just haven't come across them like we did here.


http://www.budweisertours.com/toursSTL.htm


We decided to do the free tour which is mainly an overview of the facility and the brewing process. There is also a Beermaster Tour available for $25 and Beer School for $10. We had actually done Beer School about 8 years ago at Busch Gardens in Tampa and it was free then....inflation inflation. The part that Bill and Jr liked best, of course, was the two free samples that everyone over 21 gets at the end of the tour. Anheuser-Busch has that freebie at all their facilities except for Cold Springs Ranch which will be described in my next post. (Hint: Lots and lots of Clydes!)


The grounds and buildings of the brewery were immaculate as they are at all of the Anheuser-Busch facilities we have visited. Lyon's School is now a National Historic Landmark as are several of the other buildings. The school was attended by all of the Busch children but was sold to the company in 1907 as having a school on a brewery grounds was not thought to be a good idea for obvious reasons!





We found some facts extremely interesting especially the lager tanks where the beer is beechwood aged. There were three stories of tanks stacked four wide with each tank holding 200,000 six packs. The tour guide said that if production would stop that day for the plant which primarily distributes to the midwest, beer drinkers would run out of Budweiser products in somewhere around 31 days. You do the math. Gotta love the Midwesteners and their love of their brewski!







Another day we decided to go to the St. Louis Arch, or the Gateway Arch as it is properly named. Here is the perfect example for checking online and signing up for emails and tweets or liking something on Facebook before going to an attraction or restaurant or what have you. I looked up the Arch webpage and there I found a link to a coupon for a free riverboat cruise just for signing up for emails.


http://mail.ezemailmarketing.net/phase2/survey1/survey.htm?cid=kdwilt


Also by purchasing tickets ahead of time online we got free parking in the parking garage next to the Arch. Because the tickets to go up one of the legs normally cost $10 and the riverboat cruises are $14 it was a very nice savings.


The Arch can be ascended in either leg normally but due to the recent flooding of the Mississippi River the north leg was closed. The south leg has displays of life in St. Louis in the 1800s when the westward expansion of the United States was booming. After going through a security checkpoint which includes an x ray machine and baggage scans you get in line to get into a little (and I mean little!) five seat pod that will take you up the 630 feet to the observation level. What is amazing to me about the structure is that it was built in the early 1960s before the age of computers and the most "engineering tolerance" or room for error was 1/64 of an inch or the two legs would not meet in the middle and all work was done at night to avoid the distortion from the sun's rays......an incredible with crude instruments.


I had pictured an observation deck that would be something like at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas..... ahhh nope! Upon arriving at the top you get out on a set of stairs and enter a small, cramped little room that curves forward and has small little windows on each side.

Depending on the temperature that day the room can be very confining and not so fresh smelling. The Arch is also built to sway 9 inches in either direction in an 150 mile an hour wind so on a windy day like the day we visited you can definitely feel it move. The view is interesting as on one side you can see westward and quite a bit of the city.
While on the other side you have a view of the Mississippi River and Western Illinois.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_Arch

After descending the Arch we crossed over to where the riverboat, the Tom Sawyer, was docked.

The cruise took us up river to the Eads Bridge which was the longest arch bridge in the world upon it's completion in 1874.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eads_Bridge

Just to imagine how high the water was that day, 27 feet over flood stage, you only have to look at this picture. There is a statue in the middle right of the picture that commemorates Lewis and Clark's Journey of Discovery.

http://www.lewisandclarktravel.com/index.php/site/lewis_clark_statue_underwater_near_st_louis_arch/


Although St. Louis appears to be attempting to clean up the downtown and riverfront areas, there are other sites that are not so nice. There appeared to be a settlement of homeless people living in tents on the riverbank.















And ugly, barren buildings abound. Hopefully economic recovery will spread to St. Louis and we will soon see a return to work and prosperity for both the buildings as well as the people living in shacks and tents along the banks of the Mississippi.

Friday, June 3, 2011

September 11, 2001

You may have noticed that I did not mention visiting Ground Zero while we were in New York. That omission was on purpose as I wanted to do a post that included the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania that we were planning on visiting on our way to St. Louis Missouri. Ground Zero, or perhaps we should no longer call it that as Faith, our tour guide, said that for New Yorkers the term doesn'treally symbolize how they look at the area any longer as they are focused on rebuilding, not just the physical structures but also their lives. Ground Zero was also not very interactive right now as we were not allowed to be on the site itself due to the construction of the new building going on as well as construction of a permanent memorial. Of course, this was the Thursday before the announcement that we had gotten Osama Bin Laden. We all so wished that we would have been able to be there that Sunday night instead of three days previously.

9-11 was a turning point for me personally. I had been teaching in Wautoma Wisconsin and was not happy with it, or with my life in the Oshkosh bar scene. After this tragedy, I made the decision that I would not continue to do things in my life that did not bring me joy and happiness as life could be, as we all were reminded of so horribly that day, very short. I grew up with my dad absolutely hating his job and I made the decision that I did not want to live out my life in that manner, dreading each and every day that I had to go to work. So I went out and bought an RV, got myself a job on the Alaska Railroad and got ready to leave Wisconsin mostly due to 9-11. I was slated to leave in April and in January I met Bill. I always ask myself where he was ten, or even five years earlier so that we could have lived our dream for longer. But it is said that you are where you belong at each stage of your life.

In the video you will see a clip of The Trinity Root, the 10 foot tall bronze sculpture that utilizes the roots from the Sycamore tree that saved St. Paul's Chapel in New York as it took the brunt of the damage from the imploding World Trade Center. As our tour guide Faith said, "It symbolizes us as Americans as you can break our branches but you can't destroy our roots."

http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/webcasts/videos/history/september-11-2001/the-trinity-root

The trip to the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville Pennsylvania was done mostly on the back roads. It is much like Gettysburg to the south in that it is a quiet, tranquil area where you almost can not believe such horror and tragedy had occurred there. The memorial that is currently on the site is a temporary structure and construction on the permanent memorial is still taking place. It is slated to open on the 10th anniversary of 9-11 which is in September of this year.

http://www.honorflight93.org/





Inside the pole building there is a step by step accounting of the last minutes of the lives of the crew and passengers aboard. The most ironic part is that Flight 93 was running late that day and if it would have been just 6 minutes later the planes that were on time would have crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon which might have been enough time for Flight 93 to have not taken off at all. There are transcripts of the final calls made from the passengers to their friends and families. It was very hard to read the transcripts of all the calls but the call from Honor Elizabeth Waino was extremely hard as she was so worried that her family would be able to survive what was going to happen and gave no thought to herself. It is possible to write a message to leave behind and as I was browsing the messages written during that very same week I noticed that the parents of passenger William Cashman appeared to have visited two days earlier, the Tuesday after the SEALS had done the "Let's Roll" and had gotten Bin Laden. Their note told him that we had gotten him and that hopefully now Brian would not have any more nightmares. They signed the note "Love, Mom and Dad". I am not sure who Brian was but to have nightmares for almost 10 years must have been just one more awful thing to come out of this senseless attack.

http://www.elizabethwainio.com/main/bio.cfm

There have been over 40,000 momentos left at the temporary memorial which are collected every week by the National Park Service who runs it. They are keeping each and every one and they will be placed in the new permanent memorial when it is completed.

We should also remember the last words of Todd Beamer right before the passengers tried to retake the plane. "Let's Roll" has always been a phrase used to signify starting a project or an action. After 9-11 it has also come to symbolize bravery and heroism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let%27s_roll



The dedication frame at the end of the video it is bit difficult to read but I have dedicated this clip to the Rescuers, the 3,000 victims, the people of New York and most of all, to all of us Americans as a reminder that we can, and that we must, stand united despite our differences.


video

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gettysburg Pennsylvania

One of the pluses for me in being in the East is that history seems to be more real -- something that reaches out and touches you and makes history more alive. Now maybe that is just for me and no doubt people who were born and live in the East take history more for granted. It is just really strange to know that you are walking in the same footsteps that perhaps Abraham Lincoln had walked or in the case of Gettysburg, where so many Americans, upwards of 57,000, died defending their beliefs, no matter if they were from the North or the South.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gettysburg

Gettysburg is a quaint little town with some buildings dating back to the late 1700s. It is surrounded by beautiful woods, hills and fields as well as charming old farmhouses. The tour of the battlefield itself is very well laid out with signs showing which direction to go in as well as the placements and maneuvers of both sides during the bloody battle of July 1-3, 1863. 


There are statues and plaques dedicated to the various regiments from the various states both along the battlefield tour and in the National Cemetary.


http://www.gettysburg.travel/




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettysburg_Address


It is a very somber and sobering place, or at least it was for us. Even Bill had an agenda to see the spot where Abraham Lincoln had delivered the Gettysburg Address. I'd like to end this post by quoting the opening words from this immortal 10 sentence speech, "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

And I'd like to finish with the ending words in the hope that they remain to be the truth in the future with all the strife and infighting that is rampant in today's world, "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom… and that government of the people… by the people… for the people… shall not perish from the earth."
God Bless America.