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)

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

Unfilled Dreams

“Cemeteries are full of unfulfilled dreams… countless echoes of ‘could have’ and ‘should have’… countless books unwritten… countless songs unsung… I want to live my life in such a way that when my body is laid to rest, it will be a well needed rest from a life well lived, a song well sung, a book well written, opportunities well explored, and a love well expressed.

– Steve Maraboli

Photo of the Day – The Rows of Arlington National Cemetery

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Last year we spent some time in Washington DC and walked through Arlington National Cemetery. We watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and were overwhelmed with the amount of tombstones throughout the military cemetery. To think about all of the unfulfilled dreams in that cemetery – those that died too young and sacrificed their life so that people like I can sit here and chase my dream without worrying about anything getting in my way. We are all very thankful for those that have served.

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC was built to honor Abe Lincoln for his wonderful contributions to the United States in killing Vampires being the 16th president of the country. It was completed and dedicated in his honor in 1922. The building is modeled after a greek temple and the pillars surrounding it are enormous. You can see a person sitting on the ledge to the left of the President which should hopefully provide some scale to just how huge the memorial is. I looked up the measurements and found that it is 190 x 120 feet on the perimeter and 100 feet tall. It dwarfs, as Lincoln did throughout most of his life, the other buildings in its immediate vicinity.

The memorial has been the backdrop of many famous and historic speeches (MLK’s I have a Dream) in the past hundred years. Surrounding the top of the memorial are the names of the thirty-six states that were in the Union during the time of Lincoln’s presidency.

Photo of the Day – Dusk at the Lincoln Memorial

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This was taken just before dusk as I waited for the sunrise during a visit to Washington DC. Since there was hardly anyone out during this time I was able – without any nuisance from the guards – to use my tripod around and even in the Lincoln Memorial. I understand why they don’t allow tripods during the day but I’m glad they use common sense in the evening and early morning hours and don’t overreact as long as you seem to be acting in a respectful manner. Much appreciated National Park Serviceman!

Towing the Line in Washington DC

Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.

Aristotle

The picture below is a piece of the FDR Memorial in Washington DC. We were there last summer and unemployment in the US was above 8% so I took a few pictures of the ‘line’ from the great depression. My grandfather spoke often of the depression and I couldn’t imagine what those men and women were going through. While our latest recession was ‘bad’ there really is no comparison to what happened across the country during the late 20s – early 30s.

Photo of the Day – The Line

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A short post tonight – I’m in Long Beach, California. Spent the day flying to a client meeting. The meeting is in LA but I spent the afternoon at La Jolla taking some pictures. The weather was pristine – mid 70s and sunny with not a cloud in the sky until about 6:30 (just before sunset) when a THICK blanket of fog rolled in and ruined my sunset pictures. I was pretty bummed as the California coast looked more like the Irish coast. I still think I got some good pictures. Drove the 90 miles to my hotel and stopped at the Queen Mary Haunted ship docked in Long Beach to get some shots of that at night. I’ll wake up early tomorrow and try to do some sunrise pictures before making the drive into LA for my meeting in the morning.

It is also my three-year wedding anniversary tomorrow – hard to believe it has already been three years! I’ll post more about that tomorrow and while I feel bad not being home on our anniversary I love how my wife never once made a fuss over it. It is ‘just a day’ and we will celebrate this weekend. Chalk another reason up on the board for why I married her!!