Thursday, January 28, 2016

Space Shuttle Challenger

    It's been 30 years now since that fateful day, January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just after take off. Remembering those lost on that day:

  • Francis R Scobee, Commander
  • Michael J Smith
  • Ellison S Onizuka
  • Judith A Resnick
  • Ronald E McNair
  • Gregory B Jarvis
  • S Christa McAuliffe

   One of those moments where you "know where you were at that moment". I was living with my mom. Out of school, but not working. My best friend had just been killed a few months earlier. I was in a constant state of depression, either crying or sleeping. I was sleeping at that moment. Mom was at work, a kid's clothing store at the local mall. There was an electronics store just across from them. The launch had been playing on all of their televisions out front. Mom saw it and called me. I will never forget that phone call. "Wake up! The Space Shuttle just blew up!" I couldn't believe it. Turned on the tv and watched in disbelief. I was obsessed with the Space Shuttle. Did a full science fair project about it in like 3rd grade, had the models, photos of myself with one of them when they flew through and stopped in Houston. It was pain on top of pain.

   This is the memorial for the Challenger astronauts at Arlington National Cemetery, taken in June 2003.

  We will never forget them, not the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'tough the face of God'

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

P-38 Lightning

Lackland AFB
   On January 27, 1939, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning took its first flight. Nicknamed the "Fork-Tailed Devil", this particular P-38 is on display at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
    P-38s were used extensively during World War II for everything from reconnaissance to bombing to combat fighting. Production of them only went on during the war, ceasing in 1945 with the surrender of Japan. They were still used until being retired by the Air Force in 1949. Many were then sent to Italy and other countries air forces. Eventually most saw the scrap yard.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Audie Murphy

Arlington National Cemetery
   Audie Murphy was born June 20, 1925 in Kingston, Texas. He tried to enlist after Pearl Harbor but was rejected by all branches for being underage and too small. Sounds like Captain America doesn't it? His sister forged papers for him and he was finally taken into the United State Army.
   His first tours of duty were in the Mediterranean, where he was promoted all the way to platoon sergeant and received a Bronze Star for helping take out a German tank in Italy. His platoon eventually took to the European campaign through southern France. Near Ramatuelle, he advanced on a house alone that was occupied by German soldiers, where he killed six, wounded two and took eleven of them as prisoner. For this he received the Distinguished Service Cross.
   He received his first Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel on September 15, 1944 in L'Omet, France. Over the next month he helped attack and capture more German held areas and prisoners and was also shot in the hip. He was back with his unit by January 1945, in the Colmar area of France. Near the town of Holtzwhir, the platoon came under attack and he was wounded in both legs. Despite his wounds, he was made commander of his company.
   On this day in 1945, January 26th, his company was forced to take position in the woods after the Germans had destroyed one of their tanks, though he remained at his post. He alone fired upon the Germans and directed artillery fire at them. He climbed on the destroyed tank, fired the massive machine gun mounted on it, and killed a squad of Germans who were crawling toward him. He killed or wounded nearly 50 Germans, only stopping when he ran out of ammo. He had been wounded again in the leg. He insisted on staying with his platoon. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Two weeks later he would be promoted again and removed from the front lines.
   Murphy was one of the most decorated combat soldiers of World War II. He would go on after the war to be a Captain in the Texas Army National Guard. He also starred in nearly 40 movies including playing himself in the film "To Hell and Back".
   He died on May 28, 1971 when a small plane he was riding in crashed in the mountains of Virginia. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Real Mayberry-Mt Airy, North Carolina

The Real Mayberry-Mt Airy, NC
   Birthplace of tv actor Andy Griffith, it is believe that he based the town in the show "Mayberry RFD" on Mount Airy.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow Day, Not Exactly a Blizzard

Snowing in Smyrna
   We don't get lots of snow here. And yes, we kinda freak out when we do. I desperately want to live somewhere that two feet of snow at all times is normal. Forgive me for taking a day away from travel photos to post something extremely local. I'd love to get out and take photos around town, but (a) we don't have anything interesting to photograph in the snow and (b) hubby took the Rogue and I'm not driving the little truck on these roads! Sorry.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Forgotten Friday-McFadden Farm, Murfreesboro

Old McFadden farmhouse
   When I first moved to Rutherford County in 2002, one of the first places we explored was the Stones River Battlefield. One of the tour stops is known as the McFadden's Ford. It was in this area on January 2, 1863, near the McFadden's family farm, that the Confederates attempted to cross the Stones River from the southeast to attack the Union forces entrenched on the hills. Cannons pounded and the Confederates were killed by the hundreds.
   Currently at this tour stop you will see a monument, cannons, a small family cemetery, and you can walk down to the river where fighting occurred. But when I first visited(with my non-digital camera) in 2002, there was an old abandoned farmhouse. I took only this one photo of it, thinking I would take more in the future. And then one day it was just gone. I asked a park ranger who said it was removed because it wasn't original to the site. And that is rather sad, because it was still clearly a quite old home.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Astrodome

    Took this photo most likely in 1994. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was in town, and I was apparently on the Ferris wheel at the time. I love the Dome. Opened in 1965, home to the Houston Astros baseball and Oilers football teams. I went to so many Astros games that I didn't know what it was like to watch a professional baseball game outdoors! It wasn't until I saw a game in Tiger Stadium in Detroit in 1999 that I experienced pro ball the way most people know it! I pray that they never tear the Dome down. It was the first of its kind and deserves to be preserved.