Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

My roommate and I were driving home from a friend's house Saturday night.  When we turned off of 7 we saw an ambulance coming down the street followed by a fire marshal truck with their lights flashing (no siren though).  Like a good, obedient drive I pulled off to the side and waited for them to pass... they stopped at the house just across from us.  I looked at my roommate, she looked at me and said, "whats going on, should we be concerned?"  And then who do you imagine stepped out the ambulance?...  Yup!  That's right! Santa Claus.  One of the firemen got on his bullhorn and announced "SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN." Kids came running out and 'Santa' handed out candy.  Luckily I had my small camera with me.

You better watch out!
You better not Cry!
Better not pout!
I'm telling you why!
Santa Claus is coming to town!

And apparently he's upgraded from a sled to an ambulance.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Dragon known as Fluffy...

My parents inherited an iguana.  Found him abandoned in one of their rentals.

I'm not sure how he ended up with the name Fluffy...  I think it was David's fault

They couldn't find any one to be an iguana-sitter so they decided to bring Fluffy with them in his 'small' traveling cage (it was 3' by 2' by 2 or something like that)

They should have had a poster in their window that said Have Iguana, Will Travel

Personally I think he's a pretty lizard.  Very much like a mini-dragon.  Not very friendly like.  He's fine if you're only watching him...but get close he'll puff up and whip his tail.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Remembrance Day 2010

On the 19th of the November 1863 the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg was dedicated.  President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg address.  On the Saturday closest to Nov. 19th Gettysburg memorializes this event through Remembrance Day.  It includes parades, parties and the placing of flags on the graves of the fallen.

Mel's masters program alma mater - Norwich - has a group that gets together for a tour and discussion about the battle and to place flags.

Again this year, like last, my parents were able to come with us.

Greg, an alumni, professor, Air Force Capt., and tour guide walks us around a small part of the battlefield and gives us an overview of the battle.

Remembrance Day is kind of the last hurrah of the reenactors for the year.  They come out in full force in all their finery.

 Greg had us put US and Vermont State flags on the graves of the Vermontians who died during or shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg and are buried in the National Cemetery.

 Greg told us as they are always learning something new as they continue to research the events and people of the Battle of Gettysburg.  One thing they found is that some of those buried in the National Cemetery were in fact Confederate Soldiers.  They marked these graves with the Confederate flags.  It's great statement to the reality of a civil war.  They fought each other and died and now they rest side by side, equal in death.
This is the 3rd time I've gone with Melanie to Remembrance Day and I enjoy it every time and learn something new.  If you happen to be in the area the Saturday closest to Nov. 19th I high recommend taking a little time for a trip to Gettysburg.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Europe Memory Lane - Ferry to Greece

Part of Jess' family is from Greece.  We wanted to see Greece and had the excuse to visiting Jess' family to speed us a long the way.  You can get to Greece by land and air, but really?  If you're going to visit an island you really ought to take a ship.
We pretended we were on a cruise.  It was about a 23 hour ferry ride.  They had a dining hall, bar/dance hall, pool, and etc on the ferry.  Very much like a mini-cruise.  I decided that I like being on a ship.

The most impressive part was the sunset.  Pictures never does nature justice, but it will give you an idea.

It was kind of amazing to realize how quickly the sun sets.  I thank God for the beauty of this earth!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"We can't all be heroes...

some of us get to stand on the curb and clap as they go by" ~ Will Rogers

On Saturday November 6 we had the great opportunity of doing something you NEVER get to do these days…go past airport security to the gates without a 'valid boarding pass!'  The reason for the unusual privilege?  Welcoming a group of World War II veterans to the Nation’s Capitol to view the WWII Memorial.  Mel’s grad school’s local alumni association was asked to participate in welcoming an Honor Flight from Southwest Florida.  The flight had 184 passengers including 73 veterans, their escorts, the event planners, & some medical support staff. 

We got to Reagan National Airport about an hour and half before the flight arrived to get boarding pass like documents that allowed us to go through the airport security to the boarding area.  They decorated the arrival area with red, white, & blue balloons and all of the service’s flags. 

As we waited, we made some new friends from among the alumni.  Aren’t the kids so cute?!?

I was impressed with how they were able to recognized the greatness of the men they were about to meet.

They also had a live band come & play for the veterans as they disembarked the aircraft.  It was a bit of a challenge to get their instruments through security but it was worth it.  They played such songs as The Star Spangled Banner, The Armed Forces Medley, Stars and Stripes Forever, In the Mood, & other songs from the 1940s.  Several of the veterans danced around to the familiar tunes, as did some of the welcoming committee & grounds crew as we waited for the flight to arrive.

Once the plane was connected to the jetway & the plane’s door opened, the band played our National Anthem.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the waiting area. 

As they left the plane they were greeted by active duty soldiers standing at attention & saluting.  Once they left the jetway they were met by others cheering & clapping & the sounds of the music of their youth. 

Many of the veterans were touched by the welcome, overwhelmed even by the outpouring of love & thanks being expressed by those of us who had the privilege to be there. 

The veterans were so cute! 

They all seemed so happy to be there. 
Don’t you think he looks like Elder Perry?

After the veterans had left the airport & were boarding the buses to head in groups to the WWII Memorial & to Arlington National Cemetery.  Mel & I decided to head downtown to the Mall to see some of them as they viewed the actual memorial dedicated to their generation & what they accomplished.  The memorial dedicated to those of their friends who did not make it home, who gave their all & who are represented in the field of stars.  At the WWII Memorial we also ran into another group of WWII veterans from Columbus, Ohio. 

Watching these men view this memorial was touching.  Watching them remember drew to mind the beautiful epitaph written by John Maxwell Edmonds: “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow we gave our today.” 

There were lighthearted moments as well as the veterans interacted with each other and with the men and women currently serving in our nation’s military. 

(Seriously…doesn’t he have beautiful eyes?)

One man, a Vietnam veteran, was challenged by a couple of the World War II vets to do 30 pushups…he did. 

It was a beautiful fall day that became even more beautiful by our opportunity to remember the sacrifices made by our grandparents’ generation.  It became even more special due to the unique opportunity presented to us to thank a group of men (& 2 women) who had served our great country during times of such uncertainty and fear.  If they are not truly the greatest generation, they must be pretty close. 

Happy Veteran's Day

(this post was provided courtesy of ghost writer MLG)