Sunday, September 11, 2016

GOD BLESS SGT MAJ STRICKLAND - 9/11/2016

Greetings to my Blogging Pals. Those who have been with me a while know about my participation in Project 2996. I began my participation in 2009 and plan to continue this as long as I am able to do so. I ask each of you to take a moment to remember what happened on 9/11/2001. Even if you read my tributes previously, please read them again. It's important that we see this as an individual, personal event... not just something that happened in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania over a decade ago. It affects us all and will continue to do so. I do not see the 12th Anniversary as any different from the 2nd, the 19th, or the 100th. The pain for the families is the same. But this is a tribute to their loved one!! Please read about this wonderful gentleman.
*** This was posted in 2009 as my tribute to Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland. I repeat it here as I will continue doing so on each anniversary of 9/11 as long as I am able. There are a couple of notes and updates from 2010 in italic.

Please meet Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland. He was 52 years old, born in Washington State, and had a Bachelor of Science degree. He had served our country in a lot of places including Germany, Washington State, Washington DC, Texas, and Virginia. He had many awards and decorations. Most devastating for me to learn was his plan to retire upon completion of 30 years of service... at the end of September 2001. After all of his service, he was close to spending more time on his hobbies (fishing, hiking, gourmet cooking, and needlepoint) and especially looking forward to spending more time with his family. SGM Strickland left behind a wife, Debra, who was the Garrison Command Sergeant Major of Fort Belvoir, VA. at the time, three adult children, and one grandson who will never know his grandfather as he was only a year old when SGM Strickland was taken. His parents also were left to deal with the untimely loss of their child.

NOTE: I posted a note to the family at Legacy.com and received two emails.

One was from SGM Strickland's son-in-law and read, in part:

"I came across your blog today while searching for SM Larry Strickland. I am lucky enough to be married to his daughter Julia and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for caring enough to research this remarkable man. Everything you read about him and his character is true. He left behind an amazingly strong wife, a beautiful daughter, his two sons, and his grandson. His grandson was 4, not 1 as many newspaper articles claim, so he does remember his grandfather, and fondly."(I was SO happy to read that his grandson did remember his grandfather and wanted to share that with you all! MNC)


The other email was from SGM Strickland's daughter and read, in part:


"Mary, thank you very much for your kind words. I am Larry's daughter, and it is wonderful to know that though it's been 8 years, remembering him and this tragic event is still as important now as it was the day it happened. He was truly a wonderful man, and the best father anyone could ask for."


SGM Strickland headed out to work that day at the Pentagon as there were some meetings he deemed important enough to attend even though he could have skipped them. He had annual leave built up that needed to be used or lost. He chose to go to work. If you knew nothing more about him than that, you would know the character of the man. It was that character that had him in his office on the second floor when the wing he was in was struck by American Airlines Flight 77.

But this is a tribute to SGM Strickland's life. And I've got to tell you the things said about him and written about him are absolutely glowing!! What a wonderful thing... to have those left behind remember you so well and so lovingly. It's not just family. These were friends, co-workers, people who knew him on a "business" level where, many times, the feelings are not so great. I would suggest you take a few moments today to review three different web sites where there are tributes (and from where I gathered much of the information I am sharing with you). It really won't take that long and, thankfully, most of us did not actually know anyone who was lost that day. Perhaps it would be good to learn about at least one of them. I know it gave me a very new perspective.

Pentagon Memorial Fund - Names of the souls lost at the Pentagon are alphabetical by last name. Scroll down and click on SGM Strickland's name to read about his service career.

Columns - The University of Washington Alumni Magazine- Read a really great article here about SGM Strickland's personal life. Sounds like someone we would all like to have known.

The Washington Post - This project is a database of all of the souls lost that day and has a very nice tribute to SGM Strickland.

Legacy.com - This is where folks can leave notes for the family. Many folks were positively impacted by SGM Strickland. Some commented here about their appreciation of the man. I invite you to take just a moment to leave a note here to let the family know the loss of their loved one is something we all remember.

9-11 Heroes - This is another site where a note can be left. Again... take a moment to leave a note on at least one of the sites. You have no idea how much this can mean to family members.

Thank you, SGM Strickland, for your service, for your honor, and for your character. I'm glad I got to know you.

We should never forget.

GOD BLESS MAJ RONALD MILAM - 9/11/2016

Greetings to my Blogging Pals. Those who have been with me a while know about my participation in Project 2996. I began my participation in 2009 and plan to continue this as long as I am able to do so. I ask each of you to take a moment to remember what happened on 9/11/2001. Even if you read my tributes previously, please read them again. It's important that we see this as an individual, personal event... not just something that happened in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania over a decade ago. It affects us all and will continue to do so. I do not see the 12th Anniversary as any different from the 2nd, the 19th, or the 100th. The pain for the families is the same. But this is a tribute to their loved one!! Please read about this wonderful gentleman.

Major Ronald Dutrell Milam was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and had a Bachelors degree from Eastern New Mexico University earned in 1991. He served his country in Germany, Korea, and Saudi Arabia. He had recently received his assignment as Military Assistant for the Secretary of the Army. He had also recently married Jacqueline on January 15, 2000. Things were definitely going well for Major Milam and his new family. His future was clearly a bright one and who knows what wonderful things he would have accomplished!

On 9/11/2001, Major Milam, who had just turned 33 the month before, was at work at the Pentagon. His wife, Jacqueline, five months pregnant with their second child and an Air Force officer, was also at her job at the Pentagon. Neither had an office in the area where Flight 77 struck that morning. Jacqueline was not terribly concerned immediately after the attack assuming they would connect in the parking lot. Major Milam had been attending a staff meeting that morning... right where the aircraft crashed into the Pentagon.

But this post is a tribute to a man who lived well, with honor and with dedication to his country. His college basketball coach had no doubt Major Milam was a leader and a role model during his years working with him. When Major Milam told his coach he had chosen the military as his career, the coach, who thought Milam should pursue a career in law, told the young man he supported him 100%. Major Milam clearly touched many lives during his own. What a great legacy to leave!! We should all be proud of this young man.

Take a few moments today to visit the sites below. If you can, leave a note for his family at either Legacy.com or at 9-11 Heroes. All of the sites below are links to get you there quickly.


Arlington Cemetery Site - If you read nothing else, read this tribute. Major Milam's wife recounts the events of that day and what has kept her going.

Pentagon Memorial Site - This site has a full obituary providing information on Major Milam's life.

The Washington Post - This site has a short remembrance from Major Milam's father about the Major's love of golf.

Legacy.Com - Take a moment and leave a note for the family here, if you wish.

9-11 Heroes - Or you can leave a note for the family here, if you wish.

Thank you, Major Milam, for your service, for your honor, and for your character. I'm glad I got to know you.

We should never forget.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

RANDOM PHOTOS

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Buddies!

There has not been a lot happening lately... so I don't have anything to "tell" you... but I always have my phone camera and there are some photos I have taken this spring/summer I will share with you now.

By mid-May, the tire garden was doing well with tomatoes on the way!


At the same time, there were some beautiful daylilies blooming in another area of the yard.



Mid-May was also a good time to hit the "all-you-can-eat" crawfish buffet at a nearby casino!!  This is the "bucket" you get to start your feast.  The gals I went with went back for second buckets to share!  YUM!


You may be a little tired of my morning walk photos but bear with me.  :)  I enjoy them so very much!

This little one was crossing one of the airport streets.  I almost didn't see it!  It blends so well... and the front of my shoe gives you the scale of the "tiny turtle."



On another morning, I glanced down just in time to see this little critter making its way across another road.  When I asked it to "please stay still so I can get your picture!", it stopped, raised its head a bit, looked toward me, and waited!  LOL!


During late June through July and into August, I am lucky enough to see HUGE groups of wading birds, primarily white herons with a few Great Blue herons occasionally mixed in.  I don't know for certain but I believe there must be a rookery fairly close by.  On some mornings, I see literally hundreds of these birds fly over... ranging from small groups of 2 or 3 birds to the huge groups I mentioned that contain more than I can count as they fly over!  My best estimate is about 300 birds that I have seen in one morning.  My guess is there are more I do not see... so I would bet totals in the 500-600 range.  At any rate, they are beautiful to see in the early morning light as they head out for wading and dining all day.


This morning, I was a little late returning from my walk... and spotted a rather interesting "sand trap" on the golf course.  :)  I'm not sure if you have to "play through the puppy dogs" or what?!?  They certainly seemed comfortable in the cool, damp sand.



Finally, I know I have posted "sky" pictures before but sometimes nature provides some pretty cool stuff.  :)




Ending on a humorous note, I pass this driveway every morning on my walk.  The newspaper that is delivered there is typically on the grass to either side of the driveway although it has hit the edges of the pavement, too.  Never see it dead-centered on the driveway.  So... Blogging Buddies... what day do you think was the day the newspaper was placed DEAD-CENTER on the driveway?  Why, the day after the driveway had been PAVED, of course!  Couldn't walk on it... thus the tape.  LOL!!  Never fails, does it?

As always, thank you for dropping by.


Until next post...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

HODGES GARDENS, PART IV - FINAL POST

Yes, Blogging Buddies... this is the last Hodges Gardens post.

So... an immediate caution.  REPTILE ALERT!!!!  There will be a few photos I am placing at the very END of this post that may be unsettling to those who have issue with reptiles without legs.  I will caution you again but I cannot control how much of this post appears as you scroll.  It is up to you now!

On our last day at Hodges Gardens, we decided to do a little more fishing.  We had wet a line or two the day before but with no success.  It had been a VERY long time since I had been fishing (we figured out August 22, 1995!) so I was hopeful to catch at least one!  The spousal-unit has very kindly been teaching me to fly-fish and we have done a little practicing a few times but it has been more practice than fish-catching.  :)  No luck at the small pond called Blue Hole which I have posted about previously.  You can visit that post here.


We went to a couple of spots but our success was at the last one of the day (of course!).  Here is where we were:

There was no one else there so we were able to split up and put some distance between us.  I opted to fish off of a small barge-like craft tied to the shore.  The spousal unit was fishing from the little pavilion you see above.

He was the first to pull off a catch.  Very nice little perch.  It was "game-on!"



Not to be outdone, I felt a tug a few minutes later.  The spousal-unit had released his lovely fish back into the lake and made his way over toward me as I reeled in my catch!

We were now tied at one-to-one.  That was the end of my competition, sad to say.  But I didn't know it at that moment.

I removed the fish from my line and sent it on its way to tell its friends to drop by and grab my lure!  As the spousal-unit began making his way back to his spot, I called out to him to stop!  I had cast out as he headed away and immediately had another fish on!  I honestly thought it might be the same little perch again since it had just been released.  It wasn't.  As I reeled it in, I saw a lovely little bass at the end of my line.  It was small but VERY feisty and fighting hard the whole way in.  I began to lift it out of the water... and it simply slipped itself off of my hook and swam away!!!  Oh NO!  I told the spousal-unit, who was standing just behind me, to cast his lure out there.  He chuckled at me but did it anyway.  Guess what?!?  Yep.  Who would have ever believed it (except for those of us who have fished since we were little kids!)?  He immediately got a strike and reeled in this cutie... which, by the way, was IDENTICAL to the little bass that had just snuck away from me!  I am not kidding.

After we had a good laugh about all that, we continued fishing for a while.  We decided to pack it in and head to the casa.  The spousal-unit left his line hanging over the edge of the pavilion while we packed up my rod & reel.  When he picked his back up to reel it in, he discovered an itty-bitty "Stealth Perch" had taken his lure!!  That little critter was so light, it hadn't even made the rod move!!  The rod is on the shelf behind the fish.  We captured a photo before sending it back to the depths.  Too funny!!

REPTILE ALERT!!  SAY GOODBYE NOW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE THEM.



So... before we made it to our productive fishing hole, we had fished from a large pavilion at the other end of the lake.  Before actually setting up to fish, I had been walking one of the paths to capture another picture when a very bright green caught my peripheral vision.  I stopped and looked down toward the ground.  Well, it had stopped and was literally "looking up" at me!!  We were in a stare-off.  LOL!  I moved very slowly while talking very quietly, asking it to please stay where it was so I could get a good photo.  It was obliging and remained in its position while I snapped a couple of shots.  It was really very lovely... and when I was done, I walked slowly away while it crawled slowly away in the opposite direction.  A very nice encounter.  Look nearly center in the photo where the clover-looking foliage is...

As we were fishing from the pavilion, which was fairly high above the water, I noticed movement between an island a good distance away from us and the shore upon which our pavilion stood.  I watched it for a moment then immediately recognized it was one of my least favorite reptiles... the Water Moccasin or Cottonmouth.  I learned to respect these snakes at a very young age.  They are venomous, stealthy, and everywhere there is water in the south!  I pointed it out to the spousal-unit and we watched it swim quietly and quickly to our side, disappear into the thick vegetation at water's edge, then crawl slowly up onto the shore right beside our pavilion among the tarot plants.  Wow.  I leaned over the pavilion wall and watched the whole dance.  I took several photos including a zoomed-in head shot (below).  It crawled around a bit but apparently decided the "grass was greener" elsewhere, slithering back into the water and heading away.  We guesstimated the length of this specimen to be at least 5'.  My photo (2nd one below) was taken wide but the critter's length obviously turned the photo 90 degrees!  Sorry it will be hard to view but I want you to try to grasp the length.


Sorry that one didn't show up the way it was taken.  I was actually leaning over, looking down the white rock wall that is now to the right of the photo, taking the shot.

At any rate... that concludes our Hodges Gardens tour!  Hope you found some portion of the tour fun, informative, educational, interesting... ???

Until next post...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

HODGES GARDENS, PART III

Heidy-Ho, Blogging Buddies!

Yes, there are even more photos from Hodges Gardens.  I have shown you a few areas of disrepair.  Sad.  But there are some areas where folks are trying to keep up.  While small, they are delightful.  So... just want to offer you a few shots of some really great places within Hodges Gardens.









We still have tomorrow to look at so don't give up yet!  There are a few fun things yet to come.  It was our last day there and the "hunt" was on.  Stay tuned for that!

One of the fun things was the telescope that pointed to Texas!  I remember it as a child and begging my parents to stop and let me look through it.  I wanted to "see" Texas!!  Unfortunately, it is no longer functional... but remains as a reminder of a time long, long ago... before satellites and Google Earth allowed everyone the ability to "see" the planet from above.




So... just a slow drive around the Gardens will reveal a whole lot of things going on.  Amazing how it seems so quiet and remote but yet is managed by concerned individuals.  I can appreciate that.

If you are tired of the Hodges Gardens revue, know that there is only one more post to finish it.  :)  I hope you can stay with me for it.

Until next post...