Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm proud to claim the title...

…of United States Marine.

Sgt. Dakota Meyer, somehow just saying Semper Fi doesn’t seem like enough. How do you say thank you to a man credited with saving three dozen fellow soldiers (13 Americans and 23 Afghans)?

That there is the picture of a hard, hard man.

For those of you not familiar with Sergeant Meyer's story, he received the Medal of Honor from President Obama today, becoming the first living Marine to be so honored in almost four decades. He got it for willingly running back into a withering enemy fire not just once, not twice, but five times to rescue his fellow warriors during a battle in Afghanistan on Sept. 8, 2009. The last time he went back, he went to recover the bodies of three Marines and a Navy Corpsman who’d been killed in the ambush.

That is what being a Marine is.

If you want to read more about Sergeant Meyer,
go here.

With a humility that's difficult for any Marine to summon, but is easy today, "Thank you."

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By The United States Marines.

– Marines’ Hymn, Third Verse

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Memorial at night

Living as close as I used to to the Pentagon, I thought it was strange I'd never been to the 9/11 Memorial. I'd ridden past it countless times, but I'd never stopped to take it in. So Friday night I changed that.

It's pretty moving.

One hundred and eighty-four benches and reflecting pools dedicated to the men, women and children who died there. It's an amazingly peaceful place considering what happened.

The memorial is filled with symbols representing those lives. The wall surrounding it begins at 3 inches eventually rising to a height of 71 inches, the ages of the youngest and oldest people to die: Dana Falkenberg, 3, and John Yamnicky, Sr., 71. The benches are arranged so if you're reading the name of someone who was aboard Flight 77 you look up into the sky, and if they were in the Pentagon, you look at the building's south facade.

As I said, it is a powerful place. Here, let me show you.

As you walk in, the first bench you come to is dedicated to Dana Falkenberg, age 3, who was aboard Flight 77. Because they're arranged by age, Dana's bench sits by itself.

As you move deeper into the memorial, the benches become more numerous.

As the 10th anniversary approached, many had small tokens placed on them.

One thing about the memorial, the 184 reflecting pools - combined with the week of rain beforehand - made for some condensation on my lens. I kept clearing it off but, in the case of this picture, it made for an interesting effect. I particularly like this shot.

Another example of the moisture on my lens working with the light to create an otherworldly effect.
Looking back across the memorial toward Pentagon City.

This one took me a couple of tries to get right. Trying to focus on something a good quarter-mile away, in the dark, isn't the easiest thing in the world.

For some more pictures, check out my Flickr page. The link's at the right.

It's been a week of remembrance in D.C., New York, across the country and around the world. I was in Texas getting ready to go to work covering the Army on one of the biggest bases in the country. Little did I know how interesting, exciting and, yes, tragic that job would become.

How do you remember that day 10 years ago?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ummmm, salty

According to Time: "Today Ben & Jerry's announced their newest ice cream flavor—which might not immediately sound appealing. Schweddy Balls, an homage to Saturday Night Live, is vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and a huge scoop of cheekiness."

Yep, Schweddy Balls...balls of malt and rum covered in fudge.

I can't say it any better than the folks at Time already have.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Definitely not like tears in the rain…

As anyone who’s ever read this little corner of the interwebs knows, I’m a sucker for just about anything that has to do with human spaceflight. The video below comes to us courtesy of NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and shows some interesting pictures of the moon’s surface. Specifically three of the Apollo landing sites – take that moon landing conspiracy theorists!

According to NASA’s website, LRO carries
six instruments, one of them being the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera. This camera, “…[R]etrieves high resolution black and white images of the lunar surface, capturing images of the lunar poles with resolutions down to 1 meter, and imaging the lunar surface in color and ultraviolet. These images provide knowledge of polar illumination conditions, identify potential resources & hazards, and enable safe landing site selection.”

Just another way of saying some pretty cool pictures.
Like this one, of the sunrise over Tycho.

With that thought in mind, let’s go to the video. These shots are of the
Apollo 12, Ocean of Storms (one of my favorite place names on the moon), Apollo 14, Fra Mauro, and Apollo 17, Taurus-Littrow, landing sites.

For a non-chopped off version of the video, go here.

I know why it is, no wind or weather, but isn’t it amazing that 42-plus years on you can still see the tracks the astronauts left in the regolith?