I stopped by Fort Logan National Cemetery yesterday to pay my respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to this great nation. As always, it was a very emotional visit for me but one that I believe is required of every American. General George Patton said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” That is a fitting statement as we are forever in their debt and acknowledging these brave men and women is the least we can do.
I may be old fashioned but when I see our nation’s colors flying, I can’t help but get a patriotic feeling. I think back to the places that flag has been, the things it has seen, the hope it brings to people across the world and of course the men and women who have sworn their allegiance to it and served under it.
Throw in a typically gorgeous Colorado sunrise and have that flag flying at Fort Logan National Cemetery and your heart skips a beat. My dad is interred there, as are thousands of others, and while each visit is special, moments like this one this past Saturday make it just a bit more special and poignant.
These unusual facilities dot the landscape across southeastern Wyoming and northeastern Colorado. It always seems a bit odd to find these silos out in the relative open. On one hand it is pretty cool to see but also a bit disconcerting when you think about what is inside and what could happen in a worst case scenario.
For every 10 silos there is one underground Launch Control Center (LCC) where two officers have primary control of the missiles. The LCC is what you oftentimes see depicted in Cold War era movies with the monstrous blast doors and the two guys that have to ‘turn the keys’ to launch.
If you ever find yourself in central South Dakota, check out Minuteman Missile National Historic Site where you can actually go down inside an inactive LCC and view a silo whose top has been removed. It is absolutely fascinating.
Before making our first stop on our photo excursion today, my daughter and I stopped to visit my dad and a few thousand other heroes. Hard to believe it has been five years. Miss him so much still.
General Norman Schwarzkopf famously said, “It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.” Today, Veterans Day, we honor the brave men and women who wrote that blank check to Uncle Sam, payable with their own blood.
From the birth of our nation to a devastating war that would pit brother against brother and threaten to tear the country apart, veterans have served.
From a time when a cowardly attack at Pearl Harbor woke a sleeping giant, to another, similarly devastating event 60 years later on our shores in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC, veterans have answered the call.
Not all have served in combat but they have served with distinction and honor. These men and women are the real “1%” – the ones who have stood up for something greater than themselves.
They chose not to whine or cry about the hand life dealt them nor did they sit idly by and blame their failures and inability on others. Instead they saw an opportunity to serve the greater good. They donned the nation’s uniforms proudly and bettered themselves, served their fellow man and defended freedom across the globe.
The legacy of these men and women is seen not only in the peoples they liberated and protected but also close to home.
I am honored to have served this nation and, more so, am humbled at the deeds of those who came before me, those I served with, and those who continue to serve today. They are my brothers and sisters in arms – my shipmates – and I thank them all for their service and sacrifice.
Happy Veterans Day!
These birds fly a bit faster and higher than the ones I normally photograph.
With the US Air Force Thunderbirds in Denver, Colorado this past weekend for the Rocky Mountain Airshow, I of course had to snap a few pictures. Okay, I took more than just a few, but here is a look at some of my best images of this amazing aerial demonstration team.
This was the first time photographing high-performance military aircraft for me since I was in the Navy so it was a bit of a challenge but lots of fun.
I know these aren’t the typical kind of birds I post pictures of but they are the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds? after all. Taken today at the The Rocky Mountain Airshow? here near Denver.
Here, the two solo birds come together, one inverted. You’ll have to indulge me for sharing some of these images in the coming days.
I was in the Navy and worked on jets during my time in the service so aviation is something that has always been of great interest to me. Granted, I am partial to the U.S. Navy Blue Angels? but since neither team has been to the area in so long, I was ecstatic to get a chance to see one of them again. ?
After work I raced out east of Denver where there is a major airshow this weekend in hopes of catching the Air Force Thunderbirds practice. Found a great spot to watch other than the fact the performance smoke was blowing right at me making for a good bit of haze.
Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun to watch. After I got out of the #Navy, the last thing I wanted to do was see more planes. Now that time has passed, I finally can once again appreciate these amazing machines and the extraordinary people that fly and maintain them. I do kind of wish this was the Blue Angels though. 😉
Marble headstones mark the graves of our nation’s veterans at Fort Logan National Cemetery. Each of these represents someone who has served, some who have made the ultimate sacrifice giving their lives in service of this great nation.
As Americans we have given our own blood – our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers – for our freedom and for the freedom of others. When He comes to call, we mourn their loss but sadly we all too quickly forget. Memorial Day serves as a catalyst to ensure that we do not let their sacrifice be in vain, that we always remember what these brave men and women have done.
As I watched this man at Fort Logan National Cemetery this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder who he was there to see. He was clearly moved as his eyes went between the grave and the flag.
Perhaps a grandfather that had served in the Battle of the Bulge and demonstrated extraordinary heroism against an enemy onslaught?
A high school buddy who he went to Vietnam with but whose life was cut short in a God-forsaken jungle?
Perhaps a son, daughter, niece or nephew who went to a foreign land seeking vengeance against those who dared harm our nation on 9/11?
I saw many people there today while I visited my dad and a few others I knew. All of the visitors undoubtedly have stories to tell about those buried on this hallowed ground, just as I do. It is humbling to walk among those who have served and sacrificed in defense of our great nation. May God bless the United States of America.