November 11

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I grew up in times that were complicated for the American military. We were trying to forget Vietnam, and you only went into the service if you didn’t know what to do with yourself or if you were a screw-up.

After I had already started college, things began to change. The GI bill made the military appealing to those willing to sacrifice a few years in order to get money to go to school – this was a major reason why my brother went into the military. Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to not have to worry about him seeing battle duty. In the 80s, we weren’t at war, so it really was a different world.

Of course, since Operation Desert Storm in 1990, America – and its military – has not been the same. Coincidentally (?), the great guilt over treatment of Vietnam vets overflowed. Americans vowed never to treat our men and women in uniform the way we did in the early to mid-70s.

Being raised in the Midwest, I also had a cultural upbringing regarding the American civil war. It was just a standard history lesson, with no real impact on my life. I pretty much just knew names and dates, and the fact that the Midwest was part of the underground railroad.

Now that I live in the American South, the civil war becomes a little more real. Nearly everywhere I look, there’s a memorial of some sort to the confederate army.

This picture was taken in April, 2016, in Raleigh. Walking through the tombstones, it’s easy to realize how families and lives were ruined as a result of war. Battles are honored, as are the fallen – and the survivors, too.

I think it’s good to remember the major issues that create the world we live in today. The good, and the not-so-good. Most importantly, we need to learn from our mistakes and ensure we take steps to improve.

Godspeed to everyone who served in the military – regardless of when, why, or how.

Godspeed also to those who didn’t – regardless of when and why not.

Goin’ to Mt. Pilot, Paw!

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Mount Airy, the home of the Andy Griffith show, lies in the shadow of Pilot Mountain. In fact, I understand that little Opie said at least once to his paw, that he was headed to Mt. Pilot.

This mountain is unique in that it has a big ol’ nub that sticks out, and you can see it for miles. In fact, coming South on I-77, you can see Pilot Mountain from Virginia – about an hour away!

From the top of Pilot Mountain, you can see a gorgeous view of Winston-Salem and the farmland surroundings. Pilot Mountain is one of the most notable views in the state of North Carolina.

The Cross

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My mini obsession with photographing churches started in 1990, when I lived in Germany. The medieval cathedrals fascinated me.

St. George Church in Dinkelsbuhl was always under construction when I visited, but it was an amazing building. The Neresheim Abbey was just as fascinating. St. Lorenz in Nuremberg, The Cologne Cathedral, the list goes on and on. Seriously. On. And on.

When we moved to Las Vegas, there were churches, sure, but the Southern tip of Nevada prides itself on re-building itself, and rebirth. One would hope to see dusty, windswept, creaky old wooden churches, but there were surprising (or not) few.

This doesn’t mean that there were no churches in the Southwest – earlier, I posted about El Sanctuario in New Mexico. Santa Fe also had some really beautiful churches. Of course, there is also the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona.

Back here on the East coast, though, we have some of the richest  American history. And our country was essentially founded on religious freedom.

Fortunately for me, this means churches!

One of my goals now that I’ve completed school is to do church photography in the Southeast. The photo for this weeks’ post is the church in Corolla, North Carolina, near the Currituck Beach Light. I love the cross on top, and the one immediately underneath, above the door. This church is the original church in Corolla, but it’s obviously been renovated relatively recently.

Have you run across any cool or unusual churches in the Southeast? Let me know, so I can add it to my list!

Corolla – the town, not the car

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Spending a week in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is “something North Carolinians do”- Like Michiganians go “Up North”, and Las Vegans “stay away from the strip”…

We’d get up at 6am each morning, and walk the two blocks to the beach. Once we hit the sand, we’d kick off our sandals, and dodge the crabs that quickly ran into their hiding holes.

There were a handful of other people up and down the beach, and we’d watch the tide begin to roll in – in big, glorious waves, making criss-cross patterns of water at our feet. We would watch as the sky went from dark blue, to light blue, then pink and orange. The temperature was perfect, and the water was still lukewarm. The perpetual OBX winds were rather quiet, perhaps reflecting on the day ahead, as were we.

We combed the beach while – as Laurie Anderson has put it – “the sun came up like a big, bald, head”. The waves crashed, producing the soundtrack to our scanning the beach for unique gems of the sea.

Each morning, we saw the best sunrise of the day. And later on, we would sit on the back porch and watch the sun set beyond the trees, into the sound.

But from this now 7am point of view, we had the task of a full day ahead of us, filled with the urgency of reading, swimming, and relaxation.

Freshly armed with the infusion of freshly extracted vitamin C, we dodged the crabs again as we picked up our sandals, and followed the boardwalk back to the fortress of Lasting Impressions.