Lincoln Memorial (Washington DC)

“IN THIS TEMPLE AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS ENSHRINED FOREVER.”

– Inscription set behind the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial (Washington DC)

Lincoln Memorial (Washington DC)

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An afternoon in Arlington National Cemetery

“This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

A few years back we spent a few days in Washington DC and spent an afternoon in Arlington National Cemetery. As the day got later and the light grew softer I saw a headstone with an American Flag embedded in front of it so I set the tripod up at the base of it and shot that grave in the foreground with the thousands of others splayed out around it. Walking that cemetery really makes you realize the sacrifice soldiers have made, and continue to make, for this country in their effort to free us initially and to keep us free ongoing.

Arlington National Cemetery – Washington DC

Arlington National Cemetery - Washington DC

“I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.” — Wendell L. Wilkie

Enjoy the weekend!

Iwo Jima – Washington DC

Over the weekend I watched a few specials on the History channel on World War II. Given the 70th anniversary of D-Day it seemed appropriate. Watching the highlights of the ceremony that they held in Normandy with all the WWII vets was both happy and somber since this is likely the last time any of those that stormed the beaches and turned the war for the Allies get to see that beach leaving little doubt that they were our greatest generation.

Iwo Jima Memorial – Washington DC

Iwo Jima Memorial Washington DC

The Iwo Jima Memorial celebrates another great victory from WWII when the US captured a major island in the Pacific in what was another high casualty period of the war. We visited the newly opened WWII museum in New Orleans, LA a couple years back when we were there and are likely to make another trip at the end of this month when we are there for a weekend.

Jefferson Memorial

Over the right shoulder of this memorial the panel reads:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We…solemnly publish and declare, that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states…And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.

– Declaration of Independence

I’ve been catching up on some DVR over the weekend and one of the things I recorded back at the beginning of summer was the HBO mini-series – John Adams – which really brings the birth of the nation alive. The mini-series was originally shown back in 2008/2009 but I didn’t have HBO at that time so the re-airing of the series was something that I was happy to see (I’d prefer to watch on my TV then on HBOGo on my laptop and haven’t set up the streaming options yet).

Photo of the Day – Jefferson Memorial

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I also started reading the Lost Symbol by Dan Brown this morning – which is apparently set in Washington DC (yes, I’m apparently taking a step back to 2009 as this was also released then) – so I felt it was appropriate to post a picture from our trip to DC about a year ago.

Memorial Amphitheater

The Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater hosts three memorial services a year – Easter, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Most of the military organizations host annual memorial services in the amphitheater to oversee all the deaths within the branch of their respective organizations.

The following, from President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is inscribed above the stage:

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,”

Above this entrance to the amphitheater the quote says:

“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,” (“It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”)

– Horace, Ode III (65 BC – 8 BC)

Photo of the Day – Arlington National Cemetery

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Library of Congress in Washington DC

A few weeks back highly talented photographer and photography teacher Scott Kelby held a webcast for beginners on photography. I wish something like this existed when I first started. I have watched many of his tutorials at kelbytraining.com as well and found all of them to be helpful (and well worth the membership price that I paid when learning). Offering something like this for free and such an extended version (around 90 minutes long) is great. Definitely check it out if you are just starting out and what to get the basics down.

Photo of the Day – LOC in DC

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Here’s hoping the Spurs close out the Heat tonight. I’m not an NBA fan at all but do hate the Heat so I’ve been watching more basketball the past two weeks than I have in years.

Remembering those that Served

Memorial Day in the USA is today so take a moment to reflect on those that have served and made the ultimate sacrifice to allow us to be free. Here are some interesting facts that I found while doing some reading on the history of Memorial Day:

– Memorial Day originated in 1866 in Waterloo, New York. The original intention was to honor those that died in the Civil War.

– Memorial Day is always celebrated on the last Monday in May

– 3:00 PM local time is the ‘official’ time of remembrance every Memorial Day

– Before noon all flags should be flown at half staff, but at noon all flags should be raised fully until the end of the day

– Critics of Memorial Day blame the placement of the holiday on the last Monday in May as the reason the day has lost the ‘Memorial’ and instead turned into the ‘official’ start of summer for most with BBQs, alcohol consumption and partying. Historically (pre-1980s), it was always celebrated on May 30th thus not always providing three-day weekends.

Photo of the Day – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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I found this online as well and can’t dispel the accuracy of it but thought the numbers were sobering so take a minute to remember the reason for the party.

U.S. War Casualties
Civil War – Approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops and the Confederacy about 260,000.

World War I – 116,516 Americans died

World War II – 405,399 Americans died

Korean War – 36,574 Americans died

Vietnam Conflict – 58,220 Americans died

Operation Iraqi Freedom – 4,466 U.S. service members have died

Operation New Dawn – 66 U.S. service members have died

Operation Enduring Freedom – 2,219 U.S. service members have died as of May 21, 2013