Friday, August 5, 2016

Travel Infected !!

Reposted from November 17, 2013 - (Just in case you might want to catch up.)

The White House viewed from Lafayette Park. Yeah, that was me.
If I had to pick a date, time and place to become infected with the bug to travel, this trip might have been "IT".

I was a member of the now defunct, Ambassadair Travel Club through American Trans-Airlines. Every couple of months, we received a magazine exploring all the available trips available for members to take. All the arrangements were made by picking up the telephone, giving them your membership number and your credit card number. The travel club would send you all the necessary information complete with airline gate number and boarding information.

Times were easier then. It was autumn, 1994.  There was no Dept. of Homeland Security, no TSA, no full body searches and x-rays, at the airports – just smiling faces wishing you a pleasant flight and best wishes for a good time on your Day Trip.

Of course, I had my cameras and nobody pulled out my film to see it if was a bomb. Just smiles and wishes for a pleasant journey. Ahhh, those were the days.

We boarded the brilliantly painted Boeing 727 for the two hour flight to Reagan National Airport. I love the window seat and my date was only too happy to avoid the windows at all; her nose buried in some light paperback reading. The flight was smooth on this superbly sunny and cool autumn day and in virtually no time at all we touched down in Washington, D.C.

The travel club had tour buses already waiting for us at their own terminal gate. Since this was only a day trip, we had virtually no luggage with which to contend. The plane emptied and the buses filled. It was just as smooth as a military operation on a good day. The tour guide was the last to board as she picked up the microphone for the intercom system.

“Ladies and gentlemen. I hope you had a pleasant flight and will also enjoy a wonderful time in our city, the nation’s capitol. Our first stop will be the Arlington National Cemetery. We’ll see the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns and visit some other notable residents along the way.”

Arlington National Cemetery - Tomb of the Unknowns
These men volunteer for this duty and are rigorously selected for spit, polish and military bearing at all times. It is truly an honor to be an Honor Guard. The crowd must maintain strict silence at all times being mindful and respectful. This is no place to “party”, if you know what I mean. During our visit, the crowd kept its respectful decorum, but I’ve seen other videos where the Honor Guard has had to stop, face the crowd at port arms and chastise the people for their loud behavior. I expected no less and neither would you. I’m sure.

Continuing on, we visited the tomb of President John F. Kennedy.  Senator Robert F. Kennedy was buried nearby, but his grave is marked with a simple white cross as he wished. These assassinations occurred in my lifetime and as still a high school and young college student in Indiana. Those were turbulent times in our country’s history. Thinking back on those times makes me sad, but it makes me glad to sit here in the future of those times and say that America – The United States of America – is still here.

Final Rest for John F. Kennedy.
The tour of Arlington was very nice, but once again, we boarded the buses across the bridge and toward the Lincoln Memorial, the Mall and Washington Monument. I still couldn’t believe I was there. This was the capital city of our nation. At times, I choked up, teary-eyed at just being there. I’m sure others in our group thought me a bit over-emotional. Perhaps I was, but I was born on July 3rd, so all my life I’ve been aware of what living in America means. I also had almost all my family birthday parties on July 4th because of the holiday. How cool it was to have fireworks for my birthday party every year.

You can't go there, without coming here.
This is a fitting monument for the president who did everything he could to keep the United States united. It was a tough job and the Civil War killed more Americans than any other war we’ve ever fought. Why? Because the soldiers were ALL Americans.  I guess American history means a lot to me.

Don't let politics jade you, America is a Great Country.

The Reflecting Pool from Lincoln Memorial.
There are many more photos I should like to add, but space and time – at the moment – are not at a luxury. The last two I want to add are important to me and I never tire of seeing them. Even in photos they are powerful, but blow me away in real life.

Symbols of soldiers from my generation and it's war.
With these two images, I’ll close-out this blog for the moment. After this trip, I resolved to travel to as many of these important and historic sites whenever life allowed. I’m tired of waiting for life to allow it. I just want to go.

I had chills at just being near the the Marine Corps Monument.
There are other places I want to go. Lots of things to do. Some of the places I’ve seen urge me further along this quest. Others, not so much, but interesting just the same. I will guarantee you this, before I left on any of these travels, I took good care to see my hometown first.

In fact, for my vacation one year, I took my young children on a vacation trip to see that hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana – its monuments, horticultural gardens and it’s places of historic interest. Sadly, those images have been lost in my lifetime and are unrecoverable. It is truly my loss and a very sad one at that. Those images represent a life and the lives of those around me at that point of my life. Although I remember them, clearly I cannot share them in photographs.

Wherever you go, take your camera. Film is still IN and digital is pretty good too, these days. Enjoy your Tar Trek.


-30-

4 comments:

  1. btw I thought of you on your birthday just didn't get the opportunity to tellya. Glad to see you're blogging again, I've always been a fan of your scribblings, always will be. Gotta love a guy with a sense of humor and good grammar skills ha!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank-you for the birthday wish. Celebrated alone. It rained anyway. Appreciate the complements of the stories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I figured Steve would have taken you out for seafood, haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah. I had not been good company for several days. Nobody takes a wet blanket to dinner. Besides, I don't do seafood. I'm a Cancer - the Crab. It would be like eating my friends and neighbors. Ha-ha.

      Delete