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Jan 292006

I didn’t realize until Friday that yesterday was going to be the 20th anniversary of the Challenger disaster. I remember exactly where I was that day.

My mom and I had just moved back from Florida, and my dad was still there trying to sell our house. I had just started the second half of my sixth grade year at my grandmother’s school, and I had my hands full just trying to fit in and form new friendships. I had come out of the bathroom when I saw the school administrator rushing by. She glanced over and hurriedly shouted, “Brian, go to the cafeteria!”.

I had no idea why she was saying this, but I suspected something was wrong. When I got there and saw what was on the television, I knew I was right. I sat there for awhile watching the news reports while other classes were being escorted in to witness the tragedy repeated ad nauseum.

I remember thinking that the explosion didn’t look that bad on television, and I wondered if the people on the ground new what was happening. My stomach sank as I thought about the crew and if they were alive after the initial explosion. Reading about the events twenty years later still gives me that same feeling.

I’ll always remember Ronald Reagan’s speech later that evening, specifically the last memorable paragraph.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”

Busy Week

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Dec 182005

Pretty busy week for us.

On Monday, Monica and I attended a luncheon for my Mom’s retirement. There’s not too many photos here yet, but there will be as soon as I get the pics from my Mom’s camera. We ate lunch at the Olive Garden and my Mom had to give a speech (she did a great job). It was really nice hearing her coworkers laud her with compliments, and her boss presented her with a few gifts and awards. On Tuesday, an admiral presented her with several awards from the Navy.

On Friday, Monica and I attended a luncheon for Marlene’s retirement luncheon. We ate lunch at the Marriott, and then listened as coworkers and bosses of Marlene told us what a pleasure it was to work with her. The special agent in charge of the Norfolk field office presented her with several gifts and awards, and then friends and family gathered at her home to enjoy food and drink while celebrating Marlene’s retirement.

On Saturday, Monica and I headed off to Williamsburg once again to check out the Christmas decorations. We bundled up as it was a bit cold, and the town was decorated very nicely, if a little subdued (just as it was back in colonial times). We even got to meet Thomas Jefferson.

Today, we joined my family at my Mom’s house to celebrate Christmas because we will be with Monica’s family in New York on Christmas Day. I’m still full from all the food I ate, and everyone was more than generous in their gifts. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful family.

Now it’s time to relax and go back to work.

Pearl Harbor Day

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Dec 072005

It seems a little weird to call today Pearl Harbor Day. I mean, we don’t call 9/11 Twin Towers Day or Pentagon Day. It’s been so long since 1941 that most people can’t really relate to what Americans went through back then, but there are the inevitable comparisons to 9/11, so I imagine most people were pretty upset. When you read about how events transpired though, you realize that most people didn’t really understand the extent of attack until almost a year later when photos and full accounts of that day appeared in newspapers across the country.

A very good book to read on this subject is game of which we shall not speak ever again, and then the most unlikely of endings. Let the suck-fest continue.

Sixty Years Ago

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Aug 062005

I’m sure some of you have seen the recent polls which state that 60% of people think the U.S. was justified in dropping the bomb on Japan. What are those other 40% thinking? Do they not know their history? Anybody with an ounce of common sense knows that countless American lives were saved because the bombs were dropped. It’s that simple.

To say otherwise is revisionist history.

Colonial Content

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Jul 052005

I discovered something yesterday that I thought was pretty neat and rather timely. It’s the Colonial Williamsburg podcast.

They just started podcasting recently, and I’ve already listened to all the episodes that are currently posted, and I can’t wait for more. They had a special episode posted yesterday which featured famous Thomas Jefferson interpreter, Bill Barker, reading the Declaration of Independence.

If you’ve never seen Bill’s portrayal of our third President, get thee to Williamsburg immediately. We’ve had a chance to see him in person and even on the History channel, and the guy is simply amazing. He just becomes Jefferson.

Foote’s Legacy

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Jun 292005

You might have heard lately of the passing of someone named Shelby Foote, and if you’ve ever watched Ken Burn’s epic The Civil War, you’ve no doubt seen him. I love that documentary because it just feeds my passion for history, and Shelby Foote’s commentary is a big reason I enjoy it so much. He just has a way of making things more interesting to listen to.

If you haven’t watched it before, be absolutely sure to catch it next time PBS runs it, or just go out and buy the DVD set already. I plan on rewatching it very soon.

I also just added Foote’s The Civil War: A Narrative to my wishlist. *hint* *hint*

A Second Raise

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Feb 232005

More history for you: sixty years ago today was the raising of the U.S. flag on Mt. Suribachi on the tiny island of Iwo Jima. You’ve probably seen this immortalized many times in a very famous photo, there’s actually video of the event that gets shown every once in awhile. Monica used to live right by the memorial depicting that event, which sits in Rosslyn, Virginia. We drove and walked by it many times, but most days never gave it much thought.

What you might not know, is that the moment captured in that picture was actually the second time a flag was raised there. For more on the story, read this article.


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Feb 202005

Amazing photos from Iwo Jima, an island of scorched earth where the United States fought one of the fiercest battles of WWII. For the soldiers involved, it was a month of hell on earth.

I stare at these pictures, and I am just in awe.