Liberty Memorial

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This 217 foot tall memorial and adjacent structures were completed in 1926. It was dedicated after the conclusion of WW I and is considered the American national memorial to the Great War.

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It stands on a hill across from Kansas City’s Union Rail Station. Generals and presidents from across the globe attended the commemoration ceremony along with over 100,000 local residents and visitors. This monument was refurbished and reinforced between 2000 and 2002. A world class museum was added underneath.

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There are four protectors of peace which depict guardian spirits that watch over the memorial as designed and carved by Robert Aitken: honor, courage, patriotism and sacrifice. When created and for many years thereafter, there was a plume of illuminated steam which bellowed out of the top. This was quite dramatic to view from miles away and appeared to be flames of gas.

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The next image is a sideways upper view just to reveal how tall 66 meters is when standing at its base. An elevator takes viewers to the top external walkway. I love the architectural lines and curves of the cylinder.

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There are two concrete sphinxes which represent memory and future…hoping that this will be the last great war. The “future” sphinx faces west away from Europe and towards the future while “memory” shrouds her face from the past. Such is the symbolism as we are told.

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Winter Winds

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The late November wind blew through my yard like a hurricane blitzes through a tropical region. No stopping it nor slowing it down. They both blow ‘till they run themselves out of energy.

In the meantime, I must steady myself as I tend to yard work in preparation for Winter’s fury…more wind plus freezing temps. How I hate that combination. I like snow. I don’t mind the cold but put the wind behind them and I absolutely can’t tolerate that duo of freezing temps and wind.

Some folk never experience what I just described while others live it much of the year. The later either like it, adapt to it or simply don’t know anything else but the Winter Winds. How they endure it I really don’t know. Yet, many thrive regardless of the harsh conditions.

I suppose those fine people in the rain forest don’t mind the sweltering heat and humidity along with the insects and snakes and predators. Adaptation seems to be the order of survival regardless of the circumstances. Besides, what else do they know?

Fast forward to areas with urban, suburban and country settings. Each assemblage have their own survival skills. Most of these skills are taught or simply learned by trial and error to stay alive. They are not so far apart from the Amazonian and the Arctic peoples of Planet Earth. They just live within a different set of circumstances. A bit more moderate, perhaps.

Along with geographical differences come traditional differences, as well. What may seem odd to one group of folks is normal to another and vice versa. Diversity among the human race is one of God’s crowning achievements, similar to the animal kingdom. Yet, ignorance often breeds contempt and misunderstanding which is sad. Rather than go off on a tangent about the negatives, I choose to celebrate the glorious and positive variety among God’s creatures. I’m so glad these differences exist…it would be rather boring if they didn’t.

For those in the parts of our world where the sun doesn’t shine so much, bundle up, as this winter seems to be starting off on the colder side of the thermometer. Cheers!

Time to Wake Up

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Wake up ! Not just to sunrises, but to the injustices and corruption taking place in DC and other governments. To the violence and poverty in Chile, Haiti, Brazil and beyond. To the ravages of war all across the globe. The abuse of the elderly, the weak and the little ones. Global warming (regardless of the causes). The loss of human rights in many countries and cities. Greed which knows no boundaries. Poverty.

Also, wake up to the many wonderful people and acts of kindness and generosity taking place throughout the world. People ignoring old prejudices and bringing about harmony. Pulling someone out from the gutter. Speaking up for shared and well-grounded values. Loving one another regardless of differences. Honoring God. Putting others before self.

We must be aware of what is going on around us and become agents for change. We can all make a positive difference. Watch another sunshine and wake up to another day full of opportunities. Certainly challenges await, but as Winston Churchill stated, “Never, ever give up”. Defeat is not inevitable. Victories in so many areas will and are being won.

Bless as you have been blessed. I certainly have been. I seek forgiveness for not doing more, but I still have more life to live to make amends. Pressing on.

Pain

cell 2-26-15 007 Ever hurt so badly that even the pain of hurting someone you love more than life itself, and which pain was caused by self, becomes a numbing sensation?                                                                          Like the chiseled wooden man on the bench, he feels nothing…or so it appears. Man knows pain, and fear, sorrow and regret. Does this sculpture feel any of those emotions?                                                                                  It appears not, but at some point in time someone put the ax to him, and then the chisel. What was once a tree now sits a man. Was the metamorphosis painful? Only the wooded man knows.                                                                             I  know the numbness of my pain as I have chiseled away at the lives of others. Maybe you know this pain, too. One thing I have learned in life is this: tears come in the night, but rejoicing returns in the morning. I long for morning because some nights last a long time.

Point of Light

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Like a projectile moving at quantum speed it enters your eye. Before you blink or squint your optic nerve has been blasted by this thing we call “light”. Like a dart hitting the bulls eye this light has hit its target and temporarily blinds you.

I thought this morning what’s the point of this post? Play on words intended. I realized I didn’t know what the point is. I just liked the photograph. Is that a good enough reason to post something…because you like it? Maybe.

Certainly, this image tells us several things worth noting. Sunlight can be extremely intense. Autumn has arrived as the leaves of our maple tree can attest to by their change in color, and dropping to the ground in droves. I like trees and nature. I enjoy color. I like to see the unusual and snap it with my camera-even if no one else sees the result.

Fall is such a wonderful time of year. Nature displays her beauty in unique and vibrant ways. The warmth of summer begins to change to the cold of winter. The days are shorter. School is in full swing. Football is halfway through its season while baseball is winding down via the World Series. Hunting season starts. Wardrobes change. Even food choices change.

Perhaps the point of this post is simply to express myself. You should do the same as it is rather fun !

Cohesion

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Molecular surface tension creates the astounding effect of water literally holding its shape on a myriad of surfaces. Due to this dynamic, water globs can even be rolled around on certain materials, making for an enjoyable exercise and sight.

I recently stained and sealed my deck so the coated wood boards and caps had just the right characteristics to create a vibrant scene of sorts. What strikes me is the seemingly simplicity of the water droplets standing on wood, all-the-while the science behind this occurrence is rather complicated.

When I contemplate that all the water which exists in our world will never increase nor decrease I stand amazed at its resiliency to return to the form we know most: liquid. Water can take on the form of ice upon freezing or steam after boiling. It can be found flowing rapidly down a mountain stream or slowly moving along the path of an old river. It can become a torrent of waves during a severe storm and jetted through a fire hose or sprinkler head. Water can be found on a placid lake or in a family pool. It can even cut steel.

Some parts of the world receive less than a cup of water a year while other areas receive so much rain that it can’t be accurately measured. Finally, consider the amount of water which makes up a large part of our bodies, and the bodies of most of God’s creatures. Humans can’t last even two weeks without in-taking water. A rather valuable resource, don’t you think? We sure could use more cohesion among the human population !