Gary Strader/gStrader Photography

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NC Vietnam War Veterans Memorial

With nothing much happening right now, I thought to myself;"Where could I go and do some shooting one afternoon, late in November?
  My camera was packed and I was already driving off in my truck,it comes to me at once:The Vietnam Memorial.

Tucked away along side a rest stop off Interstate 85 in Davidson County the NC Vietnam Veterans Memorial  site is almost invisible from view. Only road signs alert you that is here , and you do not see it from the highway, or the rest stop.

The Memorial is surrounded by earthen works that remind you of military earthworks from the many forts of battles from ages past. This one however houses the names of those who have fought their last battle,

Dedicated to the 216,000 from North Carolina that went to Vietnam, and to the more than 1600 who never returned, either killed in action, or MIA. Gone but not forgotten.

This plaque stands at the entrance to the memorial site.

The memorial was an effort to remember those that not only went, and did not come back, but also for all Vets from the Vietnam War.
The vets of Vietnam were never welcomed home from the War, as other vets from other wars were. This was due to the enormous opposition to the war in the mid-late 1960s, and early 1970s.

The Memorial Wall has bricks with the names of all servicemen who served from North Carolina.

The backside of the memorial contains a brick walkway, and is decorated with shrubs, trees and brick benches.

The design of the memorial is simple, and yet one can feel reverence while at the site. Looking at the rows of names on the wall.

As a subject to photograph, the memorial is not much to look at, or even be creative with, so no photographer would probably take much time to shoot photos here...

That is not the reason I came here, the reason I came was to capture the story that it tells.

The story it tells is of those who sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice even now for some, they can never return home, not completely.
As you can see, there were still names being added under the "Addenda" Brick at the far end of the wall.

How many ways can you shoot a brick wall?

These were the most creative shots that I could come up with. It was after all a War Memorial, and war memorials are not supposed to be seen in an artful, creative way.

A War Memorial is supposed to give honor and remembrance to those to gave of themselves.
This memorial is no different, it does give honor and remembrance to those who gave from North Carolina.
The Photo Shoot, and this blog was my part of giving thanks during Thanksgiving, for those Vets, who have never been properly thanked before.

Should you happen to read this at some point in the future,please remember those who have served our nation. If you happen to know a vet from the Vietnam war, go to them and say a simple "thank you". You will be surprised at how much it will mean to them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"I Am On God's Time"

Today's date is November 6th, 2011, and it is the day when the time changes from Daylight Savings Time to in my case Eastern Standard Time. When I awoke this morning, as is almost always the case my clocks are off by exactly one hour.

I never ever seem to have the foresight to "spring forward", or to "fall back", when the time changes. Now why is that? Perhaps I am just lazy, perhaps it just matters little what time the clock says it is when on a Sunday morning, things are so laid back at my home that I just do not worry about what the time is. The one thing I did know was that it was time to brew a pot of my freshly ground coffee!

Now while sipping on the morning brew, I checked the weather report on the TV, and as I had suspected it was a delightful, but somewhat cool  morning in the heart of North Carolina. As soon as I had finished my coffee I quickly dressed, and pulled my Nikon D7000 Camera body, and attached a wide angle lens, and put my camera strap on it. All prepared, I went out into the early morning light to capture the show.
Cool and brisk, the sun cast its warm glow down on me, and the brightly colored leaves on the trees. The thought came to me that it was a gloriously beautiful morning, and it felt great to not only be alive, but to be witness to the beauty that was about me. It seemed to me to be a real sin to have 5 or more cameras, (if I do not count those that I do not even use, or cell phone cameras), and to not make good use of one of them on this morning.

As I began to snap away at the scene that was before me, I remembered the words of my deceased father-in-law had once told me perhaps twenty-five or more years ago.  You see, I once had asked him about daylight savings time, and I asked him if DST really helped him as he was a farmer.
The words that he said were simple, and elegant "I am on God's time!" 

You see he had been a farmer most all his life, and as such, under normal circumstances he would arise early, before daylight, and as soon as the sun started to rise, he would already be at his job. He had animals to feed, he called them his "dumb brutes". After the feeding of the cattle, and the hogs, and chickens, he had hay to cut, and rake, or bail, corn to plant, or soybeans, or wheat to plant. He had farm equipment to repair, or to maintain. 

He always kept to the same schedule, up before dawn, and work until it was too dark to see anymore. This schedule he kept seven days a week, 365 days a year. The fact that Congress enacted a law that sprang forward the clock by an hour in the spring, and fall back an hour in the autumn, was without meaning to him, for he worked from daybreak, till dark.

Those words rang out in my head on this morning, as I too no longer care what time it is. I do not punch a time clock anymore, and as I will soon be 61, it dawned on me on this morning that I too, was on God's time.