Saturday, June 29, 2019

One week from this evening will find me asleep in a pup tent somewhere in Illinois. Crazy and silly but the start of an exciting adventure. Dad and I will be continuing his Ride Around America to document Veteran's Memorials. He has done the ride on a motorcycle for over 110,000 miles, but this year it is a car for him because I am tagging along.

March 3, 2019 - I spend most of my off season time researching the names of the fallen. Trying to uncover the details of their service; where they deployed, what their units accomplished, and how the particular service member fell and who may have gone down in the same incident. The procedure is a stroll through many forms of archived materials. Usually it's a written report published in an old newspaper or military unit log. Sometimes I am able to locate an audio or video recording that generally describes the action or the battlefields. It can bring a smile, empathetic tears, and always a good measure of admiration for my fellow veterans that marched off in uniform and never marched back. 

World War II civilian propaganda and entertainment recordings stand apart from the field reports and battle assessments of the era. They often reveal some disturbing facts about the attitudes held by the ninety-nine percent of our population that has not served. They understand, sometimes, that they benefit greatly from the service and sacrifices of those in uniform. But, to say in a slightly vulgar manner, it's obvious their ass isn't on the line and their appreciation of that fact is difficult to objectify.



July 17, 2018 - I have not posted anything to this journal for a long time. I was taught as a youngster that journals were not to be treated as diaries. They were records of significant events or moments that deserved to be recalled with accurate detail. Sometimes, when they are not properly recorded in the moment, the details fall through the cracks of time. That doesn't mean they were not important, only that a once sharp brain has been beaten and abused by a life full of significant moments and simply can't recall them. Hence, the importance of a journal.

At dawn on this date fifty years ago I paused a moment to enjoy the summer sunrise as first light crept through my east facing window. For several years this had been my daily summer routine - look out to the sun and determine if it would be a lazy day around the house or another opportunity to enjoy the freedom of youth and a life dominated by a large freshwater lake and a few close friends.


August 20, 2017 - I toured through Middlesex County early Sunday morning and I had the opportunity to visit the Minuteman statue without interference from many other tourists. A toddler or two whisked across Old North Bridge and past the monuments without reverence, stopping just long enough to disturb the ghosts of liberty before running on up the hill to the old manse. For a moment I was alone, or as near to alone as one can be in a venue of this nature. 

In my travels I have walked upon the first battlefields of colonial insurgency, stood beneath trees where some of the insurgents were subsequently hanged, and sat to overlook the monuments that honor and remember them all. Here at Concord is where history says it really began, at a short bridge over a small creek. 

The creek and the bridge, and all of the other places of combat are insignificant, they are just venues that can be represented anywhere by stage sets and movie scripts. It is the people that were here that create the moments of history that are unique, that are important to us. We cast their images in metal and etch their words and deeds into stone in the hopes that their efforts will last as long as the environment that is the battlefield. 

August 15, 2017 - The last real stop today was Bangor, Maine. I did manage another quick one a few miles north, but I had already shifted into "find a camping area" mode. My mind just wasn't into much else but finding quiet shelter and a night of sleep. A completely organized person would visit the last memorial well before dark and dedicate at least a couple of hours for searching and setting up. I'm not that disciplined. 

I figured there likely was a number of commercial campgrounds along US-2 as it wandered along the Penobscot River toward Lincoln. I was wrong.