Sunday, May 31, 2009

Canyon Offerings........

The past several days we have had the most amazing storms roll into the canyon. On friday we had two or three rain down pours that actually turned into 'pea size' hail. Hearing the thunder and lightning brings "joy" to my soul. Growing up in the midwest made me appreciate all the moisture and the storms from mother nature.

But.........for us here in the canyon the threats that a storm can bring can be very dangerous. First of all we are always in a drought. Thus............dryness, so when it lightnings that means "fire" in the park and in the mountains of our little town. Two years ago at the 4th of July celebration the fireworks set the whole mountain on fire and I actually had my car loaded and was ready to evacuate. That pretty much ended the "best fireworks show in the state".

The second threat is the sudden down pour of rain. We have alot of deep canyon hiking trails and this means that when the rain comes fast and swift the bottom of the canyon fills up fast. This means that you are deep in the canyon and the only way out is up. I can't tell you how many past "rescues" and "deaths" we have had in past years.

So the joy of the storm is needed for the moisture and yes, I love the beauty but the dangers are often sorrowful.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Holiday

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their grave. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, and organization of former sailors and soliders.

In 1966, the federal government, under the direction of President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, New York the official birthplace of Memorial Day. They chose Waterloo - which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866- because the town had made Memorial Day an annual, community wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soliders with flowers and flags.

It is now observed on the last monday in May.

It is customary for the president or the vice-president of the United States to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of The Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery. About 5,000 people attend this ceremony annually.

'Flags In' - Memorial Day

Today, as on each Memorial Day, there are flags flying in front of every grave at Arlington National Cemetery. The Army calls it "Flags In" day.

It's a big military operation, conducted by the 3rd U. S. Infantry - known as the Old Guard, based at the nearby Fort Myer.

About 3 p.m., when burials are finished for the day, trucks bring out big wooden crates and drop them off at each section of gravesites. The crates are full of flags. The flags have a sharp point on top and are pushed into the ground by hand, about a foot away from the front of each headstone.

About 6 p.m., an officer hears the faint notes of a bugle and calls his company to attention.

Taps is being played as part of a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, on a hilltop at Arlington National Cemetery. By tradition, soldiers stand in respect at this sound.

On Tuesday, before Arlington National Cemetery opens to the public, members of the Old Guard will retrieve the flags and put them into storage for next year's Memorial Day.

Soldiers of the 3rd U. S. Infantry continue 'flags in' mission at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 60. Awaiting headstones, Soldiers killed on patrol in Baghdad flank a group burial site for four members of a World War II bomber crew whose remains were identified through mitochondrial DNA.
In the distance from my view of Arlington House you can see the Columbarium section where my father in "Inurned".

The graves to the left were the first soldiers to be buried beside General Lee's beloved "Arlington House" to make sure that the home would never again be occupied by the Lee family.

Straightening the Stones is done on a regular basis.

A view of Arlington House from the winding road below.

Services at Arlington

In August of last year my mother and I visited Arlington and there were several services that passed us along our journey to visit my father's resting place. As I read now on the web site there are approximately 25 to 40 burials a day. If you figure 365 days a year that would be about 14, 400 burials a year. Observing these ceremonies was an experience that I simply could not have imagined. There is a great stillness and sadness. It takes you to a place that one could never imagine without having known the reality of it. It left me at times nearly as if "I could not breathe".......and for a moment it felt as if "I were choking". The tears were rolling down my face.

God Bless all who have served and are now serving that we as "Americans" can continue to live a "free" life. Let Freedom Ring.................

In April of last year my mother had my father "Inurned" at Arlington National Cemetery in an area known as the "Columbarium". He is at the top and 3rd from the right. This is a beautiful new area that they have recently established. The requirements for a ground burial and the limitation of space have become so "restricted" that they have decided to expand above ground burials. We feel so blessed that dad has been placed here and that he is surrounded by alot of his military buddies.

My father is resting here, surrounded by others who have also served
their country faithfully and with great honor.
My father "faithfully" served his country as a United States Marine from November 2, 1948 to September 10, 1952. He participated with the "Assault and Seizure" of Inchon, Korea during the Korean War conflict in September of 1950. He also participated in the Capture and Securing of Seoul, Korea; the Wonsan-Hungnam-Chosin Campaign and participated against enemy forces in South and Central Korea.

My Uncle, Donovan Patterson was in the 2nd Marine Corp. Division and served during World War II. He served his country faithfully from Sept 3, 1942 to December 9, 1945. He served in the Asiatic-Pacific Area. He participated in action against the enemy at Tarawa, Gilbert Island in November of 1943; Saipan, Marianas Island June to July of 1944; Tinian, Marianas Island July and August of 1944 and Okinawu, Ryukyu Island April of 1945.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Family Weekend

This weekend I was so blessed to be able to have my kids and their families here. We had the best time just hanging out, visiting, relaxing and touring the park. Every now and then it's nice to play "tourist".

I am grateful every day for my many blessings.

I am always sad when they go home..........

Baby Girl

Nana's Little Princess

The "Watchman" mountain in the background.

Riding the Bus

Yes, my hat and skirt are matching.........
And I am just too cute!

My Buddy

Lukas sitting on his favorite rock where he tried to catch lizards for 2 days.

Waiting for the bus.....

It had been a wonderful day in the park and we were all very hot and tired.

Baby Henli loved riding the Bus...

Zion Shuttle

My Cute Kids!

But we are missing one son-in-law who was hunting in Wyoming.

Beautiful Zion Lodge


And so she slept..............

Monkey Business

The kids had the best time chasing two wild turkeys all around this tree.

What a Backdrop!

Joe and Mackenzie

Mother and Daughters

Mackenzie Setting Up House

Check out the Virgin River

Layni and her Nana