Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Not Exactly

Recently we spent a couple of days in Lee's Summit, MO visiting my wife's brother and his wife.  Lee's Summit is a south east suburb of Kansas City.  One morning we took a drive downtown and I took the opportunity to capture a few images of the old buildings that have been re-purposed into a thriving retail area.


This cast concrete sign was set over the side entry to one building.  I know that this is not the original location for this sign, but I am glad that someone saw fit to save it and give it a new home.  I love this type of signage.
My favorite find of the morning was this old Methodist Episcopal Church.  I love the brick details and the cast stone decoration.  You just don't see this done anymore.  Following are a few details.

If you ever see the term Paladin window, this is basically what they are referring to.  Almost any grouping of three arched windows, especially with columns makes up a Paladin window.  Just look at those brick details..


I think that every entry into a church should remind us that it is a place of prayer and worship.  I love the headers over these doors.

The Chamber of Commerce now occupies the old Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot.  The caboose is a reminder of the original purpose of this structure.  Too many of these buildings were demolished when the railroads discontinued passenger service.

Shifting from cast stone, here is an example of terra cotta, which tells me the building was probably built in the mid twenties or early thirties.  Again, you just don't see this kind of detail in newer buildings.  We are seeing more decoration/details in some newer structures, but nothing to match this level of craftsmanship.  Well, that's all I have from Lee's Summit, MO.  Have a blessed day.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Inspiration Thursday

What inspires you?  Do you see a human interest story on the evening news that is inspiring?  What about hearing a speech that was meant to motivate or inspire others.  It seems that the older I get, the more difficult it is to be inspired about some things.  I don't wash and wax the car as often as I once did and I am usually found at the car wash instead of dragging out the bucket and hose in the driveway.  While I love college football but I may never again venture into an 80,000 seat stadium and fight for my 18" of bleacher seating, and then fight the traffic after the game.  I prefer to stay home and watch it on cable.  One thing that has always inspired me is music.  I don't play an instrument or read music, and I don't sing well, but I have always had a love for music.  I grew up listening to Ray Charles, The Everly Brothers, The Temptations, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.  In my 20's I listened to Gordon Lightfoot, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Elton John, and Lynard Skynard.  In my 30's it was The Eagles among others.  By the early 90's I was listening to Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, but the Eagles were still there as well.  With all of that said, there has always been a thread of inspirational music in my life, even when I wasn't the most spiritual person around. I grew up listening to Tennessee Ernie Ford and I sang the Hymns in church.  Today, inspirational music is what I listen to most.  I love the hymns, Southern Gospel, and Contemporary Christian music.  I find myself inspired by these songs.
The hymns are where most of us first learned that "Jesus Loves Me" and scripture is easier to memorize when it is set to music.  The Bible tells us to hide God's Word in our heart in order that we may resist sin.  Furthermore, God tells us that,"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God my be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16). Proverbs 22:6 tells us to "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  He may wander off into the ditch occasionally, like the prodigal son, but if a child is grounded in scripture He is more likely to return to those teachings as an adult than to continue into destruction and I am an example of this.
Now, I find inspiration in God's Word, and I find it truly inspiring when set to music.







Okay, I'm inspire now. How about you? Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ruby Tuesday/Wordless Wednesday - Strike up the Band

Recently we attended a drum corps competition at the local high school stadium.  Drum Corps International has come to town each summer for the past several years and my wife and I try to go to the competition each year.  The drum corps consists of a drum line, and percussion section, brass instruments and a flag line.  There were eight drum corps competing this year and it was a great show.
These are not high school bands. The drum corps consist of volunteers between 16 & 22 years old, that come together each April for practice and then go on the road to compete through the summer.  The finals are held in Indianapolis each year.  The members pay a fee and audition to become a part of these teams.
 This year the competitors came from all over the country, including Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Missouri.  The uniforms are always colorful.

 Oh yes, and there are props.  This corps had probably the most colorful and interesting props of all.  I also thought that they had the best integration of props and flag line.



The group below is The Carolina Crown and they are always one of the three best drum corps in the country.  On this night, they were the best in the competition.
The role of the traditional flag line is stretched to the max by some of these groups and they are almost always the most colorful part of the show.


Below we see The Carolina Crown thinking outside the box when it comes to their flag line.
I think that the award for the most colorful drums should have gone to this drum line from New Jersey.
 

I really like the precision that most of the groups display when entering the field.  Like I said, it is quite a colorful night of music, dance, and precision marching.  If you get a chance to see one of the competitions, by all means go.  You will enjoy the spectacle.



This post would not be completed without a video of a truly precision drum corps.  The Top Secret Regimen consists of drums and flags only.  They are older than the groups above and they are truly a sight to behold.  Going to see them is on my bucket list.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Let Freedom Ring - Day 6

 Rockets Red Glare

There is something truly special about the celebration of Independence Day.  It is the day that this nation was born.  Fifty-six men signed a document that formed a "more perfect union" and gave birth to what would become the greatest nation on earth.  We have had our struggles.  We have had a very deadly family feud (Civil War) and we have not always done what was right, but the vision of our forefathers was to create a nation in which men were free to seek their fortunes and to raise their families according to their values.  In many ways we have lost that vision.  Too many in our country believe that the government owes them their fortune and the government should set the standards by which every child is raised.  It is my prayer that we re-visit the documents of our foundation and once again catch a glimpse of what this nation ought to be...One Nation, Under God, with peace, liberty, and justice for all.  Independence Day is more than beer, brawts, and boating on the lake.  It is an opportunity to remember how great this nation has been and can be again.  It is a time to realize that freedom is NOT free, but is paid for with the blood of patriots of every generation and as long as there is tyranny and terrorism in this world the ultimate sacrifice of patriots will be required.





Thursday, July 2, 2015

Let Freedom Ring - Day 5

 Grand Old Flag
Seeing the Red, White and Blue on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, & Labor Day makes the heart swell with pride.  There is no flag on this earth that represents freedom the same way that Old Glory does.



It seems as though we have lost our way somehow.  We are more interested in political correctness than being right.  We are more interested in our rights than our responsibilities as citizens and we believe it is the government's responsibility to provide us with life, liberty, and happiness rather than create and protect the environment under which these things can grow and prosper.  The result is that we, the people have left many of the things that made us great and have attached our hopes and dreams to politicians and programs that have never proven to be in our best interest.  The truth is, politicians did not make this nation great, God did.  Men from multiple backgrounds and faiths, led by the Almighty formed this great nation and authored the documents that established the Union. 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence. 27 of the were educated and trained as ministers.  Most of our forefathers were men of God.  Look at the political landscape today and it is not hard to see that we have left the God of Our Fathers.  Maybe it's time to return to the one who has blessed us far beyond our dreams.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Let Freedom Ring - Day 4

Vietnam 67-68

I was drafted into the Army in 1966.  After basic training, radio school and radio teletype school, I was sent to South Vietnam.  Most of my time was at base camp in Bien Hoa, just north of Siagon, providing communications support for various units.  At one point I was assigned to provide communications for the 199th light infantry and we wound up about seven miles from the Cambodian border.  I was fortunate not to be directly involved in combat and I have only my Heavenly Father to thank for that.
The Korean and Vietnam wars marked a change in the purpose of war.  We were no longer attempting to defeat an enemy, occupy their territory and bring about a complete unconditional surrender.  Instead we seemed to be content with containing an adversary and negotiating a peaceful co-existence situation. It didn't work in Vietnam.  I don't think it ever works.



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let Freedom Ring - Day 3



 My father served in the Navy during WWII.  He was stationed aboard the USS Bunker Hill. Here is a brief history of the "Fighting Lady".


USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)
CV-17 USS Bunker Hill was one of many aircraft carriers of the Essex class built in the early 1940s. Commissioned in 1943, the ship completed training and small missions in the Atlantic before being sent to the Pacific to help during World War II attacks on Japan, Rabaul and the conquest of the Gilberts.
Bunker Hill also supported the invasion of Saipan and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Two crewmen were killed in the battle with the Philippines due to a bomb that hit nearby, but the damage to the ship was minimal. She remained in the war with Japan through the majority of 1944 before being sent home for repairs and modernization.
She was quickly repaired and returned to the Western Pacific in 1945 to help with the Iwo Jima invasion and raids on the home islands of Japan. She was a flagship of Task Force 58 and was very involved in the Okinawa campaign. In May of that year, the Bunker Hill lost almost 400 crewmembers after two attacks by suicide planes.
Here are some images of the Bunker Hill after she was struck by two suicide plane on May 11, 1945.  Images like these make it very clear why someone who has never been to war will never understand what it is like.  We will never know how they felt, what they thought, or what they endured.
 
 




WWII vets are vanishing from our landscape at a very rapid pace.  My father passed away five years ago, at the age of 89.  I miss him terribly.  If you have a WWII vet in your family, cherish your time with them.  There will NEVER be another generation like this...ever.