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.

Let Freedom Ring - Day 2

 My great grand father fought with the union army during the Civil War.  He enlisted in the 19th Kentucky Cavalry.  He was born, raised, and died in Crittenden County Kentucky. 
Perhaps the most famous song to come out of the Civil war was the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."  One thing that most everyone has forgotten is that we do not live in a pure democracy.  We live in and are governed by a Democratic Republic.
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic", also known as "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" outside of the United States, is a song by American writer Julia Ward Howe using the music from the song "John Brown's Body". Howe's more famous lyrics were written in November 1861, and first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. The song links the judgment of the wicked at the end of time (New Testament, Rev. 19) with the American Civil War. Since that time, it has become an extremely popular and well-known American patriotic song.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Let Freedom Ring - Day 1

This week leads to the celebration of the Independence Day. If we learn anything from this celebration, it should be that freedom is not free. It comes with a price, and that price is the blood of men and women who stand in harms way to protect the lifestyle that we, all too often take for granted. I have decided to do a mini-music marathon in honor of Independence Day. I love patriotic music. More often than ever before, these songs bring a tear to my eye and fill my heart with pride. May we never forget the source of our freedom comes from our Creator and the instruments of that freedom are our men and women in uniform.  Enjoy the music, celebrate the day, and give thanks for the privilege of living in the greatest country in the world.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wordless(?) Wednesday

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but we haven't lived there in over 30 years.  However, we do go back a couple of times a year for various functions.  As a retired architect, Tulsa has a rich history of art deco buildings which I did not appreciate growing up.  My favorite building in Tulsa is the Tulsa Union Depot which I posted last week.  My second favorite building in town is the Fairgrounds Pavilion.
Designed by Leland I. Shumway and built in 1932, the Fairgrounds Pavilion serves as the gateway to the Tulsa State Fair.  It has hosted concerts, horse shows, tractor pulls, the ice capades and pro wrestling.  Several years ago the building was restored to it's original glory and it is a sight to behold.

 When someone says, "They don't build them like they used to", this is exactly what they mean.  It is unlikely that we will ever see terra cotta details like this again.

 These ram's heads are my favorite detail on the building.  There are several other works on the building, but these just fascinate me.

I love the agricultural theme incorporated into the art deco style.  It is a master piece in my humble opinion.  If you're ever in Tulsa, drive out to the fairgrounds which is now considered the Mid-town area of Tulsa and walk around this building.  You won't be disappointed.

Fun With Filters
Since the Ram's head detail is one of my favorite features on this building, lets mess with it a little bit.  First, I converted it to black and white.  It gives a real 1930's feel to the image and allows you to concentrate on the detail of the terra cotta without the distraction of color.  There is a drama in black and white images that just can't be duplicated in color.

 Next, I took the black and white image and applied a graphic pen filter.  I really like this filter.  This time I used vertical pen strokes instead of diagonal.  I think the vertical strokes render the brick and terra cotta details better.

Finally, I went back to the color image and applied two filters.  the first filter was a grain texture.  I saved the image with the grain texture then applied the horizontal distortion, which are the streaks that you see running through the image.  I think this just gives the image a whole new look.  It may not be a look that appeals to everyone, but I find it interesting.

  Well, that's it for this session of Fun With Filters.  See you next time.