|Army helicopter pilot Mark Clotfelter.|
Jimison’s family story was first published in the October 2005 issue of Vietnam Magazine. She hopes to keep the memory of her two family members alive by telling their stories and preserving their legacy.
|Army helicopter pilot Mark Clotfelter.|
|“Orphans of Apollo” Filmmaker Michael Potter.|
“This film is an enthralling glimpse into space, and into the minds and hearts of people trying to get into it. Footage of rocket launches and of life on Mir is interspersed with interviews with the key players about the technical challenges, political wrangling, and business plans. We feel the excitement (and fear) of their project and get a sense of the mood in Russia and the U.S. after the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Janet D. Stemwedel, Ph.D., wrote on her blog, Adventures in Ethics and Science, soon after the film debuted.
|Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface. Photo by Neil A. Armstrong, 1969.|
|Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO|
|Falcon 9 rocket lifts off at Cape Canaveral, Fla. (NASA / May 22, 2012)|
The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 is easily the most historic launch in 2012 and will probably be viewed as one of the most historic space launch events of the decade.
|Nellie M. Chase, March, 1862|
|Carolyn Poling Schriber|
|A view of the Twin Towers nine days before September 11th.
Photo by Anne Wainscott
Like everyone in my generation, I remember exactly where I was when the planes hit the Twin Towers 10 years ago today. I was at home preparing for my work day when my phone rang. It was a good friend who worked at NYU, urging me to turn on CNN. My sister and I watched in disbelief with the rest of the nation as the reality of what was happening in New York, the Pentagon and in the skies above a patch of Pennsylvania farmland came into shocking focus. We learned as a nation that we are vulnerable to attack.
|My friend Rebecca and I at the 2001 US Open.|
Nine days earlier I was in NYC for the US Open with a good friend from Mississippi. I remember how beautiful the sky was and how much fun it was to be visiting the Big Apple — a place I had come to know well while living in New Jersey.
On Sept. 2nd, my friends and I took the ferry to New York from New Jersey, and walked through the massive lobby of both the North and South towers to find where to stand in line to go to the top. As a group, we decided it was too beautiful a day to wait in line for two hours. Instead, we headed to Central Park. Who knew that was the last time we’d ever have a chance to see Windows of the World or to glimpse New York City’s skyline from the Towers? In retrospect, I am glad I didn’t go up as I would have relived the horror of the trapped people in those offices until my dying day.
A lot has happened to our country and to our view of the world in the decade since 9/11. We have seen many more Americans pay the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against terrorism. We have seen the mastermind of 9/11 brought to final justice. At the same time, the events on that Tuesday morning were a wake-up call that we cannot escape from. We will never look at air travel the same way as we did before 9/11. We are more cautious and more watchful. But the essence of our country is intact — the American spirit — to live our life — and to ensure our children can live their lives — in liberty and freedom.
I pray for everyone who lost a loved one on 9/11 and to those who continue to serve our country, whether as soldiers or as first responders. This is a day for us to pay tribute to those who lost their lives, to be thankful for our communities and our families, and to renew our sense of unity and commitment to our country. God Bless America!
|Lake 26 from the Sargent family cabin deck. Photo by: Anne Wainscott-Sargent|
3,000 miles. Four states. Nineteen cousins. That’s what my family just completed – a Midwest roadtrip that took us from Atlanta up through Tennessee and into the Midwestern US to spend time with family.
My husband and I had planned for this vacation for weeks and were excited to be underway. Our van was loaded to the gills – I had healthy snacks and plenty of DVDs packed to keep the kids entertained in the car, as well as my own cadre of books to read during the long drive. My husband serves as volunteer chauffeur during our road trips – preferring to drive than having to deal with incessant demands and chit-chat from the backseat – “Can I have a drink?” “I want something to eat.” “Ryan hit me.” “Are we there yet?” “I need to go to the bathroom” (usually about 10 minutes after giving in to the first request).
In spite of the interruptions, I welcome my time in the passenger seat because I get to sink into my favorite pastime – reading – and can finally make a dent in the pile of neglected books that sit on my nightstand at home. For this trip, I brought an eclectic mix of non-fiction and fiction, including Manhunt: The 12-day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson; and Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen’s historical novel about life on a circus train during the 30s.
The first weekend of our journey was split between my two brothers, who live about 5 hours apart – one in northern Ohio, the other in Chicago. Both my siblings have three children – including new infant sons, 9 and 6 months of age. In Ohio, our kids played together in my brother’s backyard; in Chicago, they swam in a heated outdoor poor on the fifth floor of my brother’s condo in MuseumPark. The pool was warm but the air was brisk as we felt the wind from surrounding skyscrapers buffet us from all sides.
|Cousin Kristen and her dog, Lizzy, with Sarah, Ryan and Jeff.|
From there, we visited cousins in Indiana on both my and my husband’s side of the family, picking up a speeding ticket along the way while driving through a stretch of highway surrounded by Indiana corn fields and other farm land. It was fun to meet Kristen, my husband’s cousin – a free spirit and animal lover, who took us to a nearby lake and took time out to color my hair! The kids fell in love with her dog, Lizzy.
All day during our push into Wisconsin – my first to this beautiful state of lakes — temperatures were in the 90s – too hot to spend the night in a cabin that lacks air conditioning. We decided to stay in a hotel at St. Croix Casino in Danbury, courtesy of Brian and Stephanie’s mom, who had a room voucher. After a brief visit with Brian, we first drove to Johnson Yellow Lake Lodge for dinner. Unbeknown to us, a series of fast-moving storms were brewing. The storm system spawned supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes as it moved from southwestern Minnesota northeast across the state and into Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.
We had a 30-minute wait in the crowded pub known for its view of the lake. We had just started eating dinner when the first cell hit – winds created a whirlwind of lake water that was blinding. The wind was so fierce that large trees overlooking the water blew down like matchsticks. The crowd in the bar uttered a collective “ahhh” when the trees went down. Then, a tree hit the deck just to the right where we were seated and the restaurant went dark. We spent the next 40 minutes in the pub’s dank basement along with other locals and vacationers. My husband kept trying to reach his cousin, knowing that his house did not have a basement. We connected later, and were immensely relieved to hear everyone was okay.
We had to wait for trees to be cleared before making a run for the casino, which was running on an emergency generator when we arrived. As we drove away we saw the sky behind turning black again and were glad to be going in the opposite direction!
|The Georgia and Wisconsin Sargent cousins.|
The next day we made the decision to go to the cabin – even though there was no electricity. Jeff had come too far not to see the place. Brian met us at the hotel, cracking a joke, “Welcome to Wisconsin,” as he picked up supplies on our way to Lake 26. The devastation from the storm was evident everywhere – trees were blocking part of the roadways and in some places, there were downed power lines. We made our way slowly until we arrived at the driveway leading to the cabin, which was blocked by several downed trees.
|Catching a fish on Lake 26.|
Over the next three days, we made the best of things and got to know each other, talking late into the night by lamp and candlelight. The lake was a godsend – it was clean, serene, beautiful. My son and daughter caught their first fish at Lake 26; they took their first kayak and canoe rides; and they enjoyed picking blueberries and roasting marshmallows by fire.
|Fourth of July in Webster, Wisconsin.|
The cabin slept 13 in total – and we all got along remarkably well given disrupted sleep schedules, a baby, and toilets that needed an infusion of water from the lake in order to flush. All of us from Atlanta got a healthy appreciation for Wisconsin flies (they bite), and the state’s voracious mosquitoes who take over outdoors during the witching hour of twilight. On the fourth of July we drove into Webster and enjoyed a small-town parade, fire hose water contest, ice cream social and bingo.
Two hotel stays and four books later, I found us rounding the turn into our subdivision in northern Atlanta , happy to be home with our functioning but empty refrigerator, air-conditioned house, running water and our Goldendoddle Missy. I am thankful for the time we spent with all our family this summer, especially my husband’s cousins on Lake 26 – where we now share much more in common than just a last name — but have a collective experience of being together in the aftermath of Wisconsin’s summer storm of 2011.
|Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, Callaway Gardens
Pine Mountain, Georgia
According to Callaway’s website, “nature’s beauty floats gracefully through the air at this glass-enclosed conservatory.”
Home to 50 species of tropical butterflies, this center offers the perfect venue to linger along paths surrounded by exotic tropical plants and fluttering butterflies, or to sit quietly, taking photos and journaling.
I’ve been to Callaway twice — first on a wedding anniversary getaway weekend after Christmas, where my husband and I enjoyed the warm glow of Fantasy in Lights®. These photos were from a second trip –a women’s retreat through my church held in the spring. A major highlight was a stop at this beautiful butterfly oasis!
There is a lot written about butterflies and their symbolism, including this Welsh website devoted to the Butterfly House in Aberystwyth, Wales.
Ron Gagliardi, in his thesis on butterfly and moths in western art and design, wrote butterflies and moths are ‘nature’s canvases with the gift of flight.”
An apt description of these unique gifts of nature.
|Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
Photo by: Thanh Cat
Few places match the majesty of Denali National Park and Preserve, created in 1917. Located near the top of the world, Denali National Park is home to more than six million acres of extreme wilderness and the tallest mountain in North America: Mount McKinley. This magnificent sub Arctic area is slightly larger than the state of New Hampshire, reports Frommers. Many have found this unique place an inspirational setting for writing. On July 26, a group of K-12 teachers will gather at the park to explore science and writing through a unique professional development program offered by the Alaska State Writing Consortium and Murie Science and Learning Center.
Whether it’s to inform, entertain, unify or defend, speeches are a critical form of communication. Good ones know how to grab and keep the audience’s attention, and great ones change thinking and inspire action. This Memorial Day, I share examples of great patriotic speeches delivered here and abroad that made a lasting impact on the public during times of trial and times of healing.
Winston Churchill was among the great orators whose war-time speeches rallied both his country and the world. In his Suite101 post, Churchill’s Greatest Speeches, blog contributor Michael Rowland noted that Churchill’s “ability to motivate entire nations through the spoken word proved crucial in guiding the Allies to ultimate victory in World War II and saving Western civilization from Nazi tyranny.”
In June 1940, Churchill told his people and the world, “Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!”
Voices.com offers these top 10 U.S. Presidential Speeches that transformed America that were given in times of war and peace. Topping the list is of course President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which was delivered on Nov. 19, 1863, four months after the bloody battle, and was intended to honor the fallen on both sides, who “gave the last full measure of devotion.” The president also hoped to heal the country and unify it. Lincoln’s conclusion resolved “that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
FDR’s famous Pearl Harbor speech following Japan’s premeditated attack on our naval forces in Hawaii rallied the country in a way that few speeches by U.S. presidents have before or since. President Roosevelt words, carried over radio, began with, “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
Toward the end of his speech, FDR declared, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounding determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech delivered during the March on Washington D.C. in August 1963 was a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1999, it was ranked the best speech of the 20th century in a poll of scholars of public address.
Rev. King urged America to “make real the promises of democracy,” saying, “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
I conclude with a lesser known speech given on Memorial Day 1884 by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who survived the Civil War with three wounds as a member of the Twentieth Massachusetts Infantry. Holmes would serve 30 years as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. He captured the spirit of Memorial Day in these words of remembrance for fellow soldiers gone but never far from the hearts and memories of those left behind:
“But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least–at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves–the dead come back and live with us.
“I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.”
|The Gardens at Hampton Court, Herefordshire, England.
Photo by Jeff Sargent.
This is my second Friday post themed around “Places that Inspire Your Inner Writer.” Three summers ago my husband and I vacationed in England. Hampton Court, Herefordshire, is a castle on the meadows of the river Lugg, backed by a steep wooded escarpment and surrounded by woodland and grounds of 1,000 acres. Founded by King Henry in the early 15th century the castle has been completely restored.
The Gardens at Hampton Court are spectacular. Along with St. James’s Palace, Hampton Court is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by Henry VIII. The renaissance garden, which Henry VIII made here in the 1530s, was converted to the baroque style between 1660 and 1702.
According to Tudorhistory.org, Henry VIII spent three of his honeymoons at Hampton Court, as did his daughter Mary I when she married Philip of Spain. It was at Hampton Court that Henry VIII was told of the infidelity of Kathryn Howard, which would eventually lead to her arrest and execution (and according to some, why her ghost inhabits the Haunted Gallery.) Henry also married his sixth wife, Katherine Parr, in the Holyday or Queen’s Closet at the Palace, adjoining the Chapel Royal.
The beauty and peace of this setting make it an ideal place to journal.
|Photo by: Jeff Sargent.|
Every Friday, The Writing Well will showcase places that inspire creativity and ‘your inner writer.’ Enjoy this visual journey of destinations designed to give you pause from the daily grind, think outside yourself and reinvigorate your spirit.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
Lilburn, Ga., USA
I journeyed this week to this beautiful BAPS Hindu Mandir in Lilburn, Ga., with a group from my church. Mandir is the name for a Hindu place of worship and prayer. The components making up the word, Man and Dir, mean mind and still. Therefore, a mandir is a place where the mind becomes still; a place where we experience peace from worldly problems. For centuries, it has remained a spiritual, educational, social and physical cornerstone of Indian society. The ornate carvings found throughout this structure are breathtaking. The mandir is open to the public and people of all faiths are welcome to visit, learn about this sect of Hinduism, and take in the incredible architecture and stone carvings of gurus and deities of the Hindu faith. I recommend this mandir as a destination for anyone seeking a change of pace and a peaceful respite where you can journal or just rest.