Presidents Day

In honour of Presidents Day this year I thought I would post a couple of pictures I have regarding Presidents of the United States.

Brad Hales, me, Anna Badger, and Jeana Stuart

Brad Hales, me, Anna Badger, and Jeana Stuart

Bush and Cheney Inauguration in 2008

Bush and Cheney Inauguration in 2008 in front of the US Capitol

George Washington statute by the Turnbull Commission of Five.  Adams, Jefferson, Washington, all became Presidents.

George Washington statue by the Trumbull Declaration of Independence.  Adams, Jefferson, Washington, all became Presidents, in US Capitol, Washington, DC

Martha and George Washington tombs

Martha and George Washington tombs in Mt Vernon, Virginia
Washington Equestrian Statute with Jefferson standing in front

Washington Equestrian Statue with Jefferson standing in front in Richmond, Virginia

Washington as a Mason in Alexandria, Virginia

Washington as a Mason in Alexandria, Virginia

James Monroe tomb, Richmond, Virginia

James Monroe tomb, Richmond, Virginia

Plaque on James Monroe's tomb

Plaque on James Monroe’s tomb

John Tyler Grave

John Tyler Grave in Richmond, Virginia

John Quincy and Louisa Adams' tombs

John Quincy and Louisa Adams’ tombs in Quincy, Massachusetts

John and Abigail Adams' tombs

John and Abigail Adams’ tombs in Quincy, Massachusetts

Thomas Jefferson's tombstone near Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson’s tombstone near Charlottesville, Virginia

That is pretty much the closest I got to any of these Presidents, that I can prove.  I have also been the resting spots of William Howard Taft, Harry S Truman, John F Kennedy.

Remember, Remember

Despite also being popular for Guy Fawkes Day which recently passed, Remember, Remember also relates to Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, or as we treat it in the United States, Veterans Day.  As an American, the day is more a holiday than a solemn occasion of reflection or remembrance.  Nevertheless, I thought I would honor it this week.

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov 2005

Interestingly, we find many people signing up for secession from the United States.  I find it interesting that Guy Fawkes Day and Remembrance Day are so close on the calendar and their memorable phrases start with the same repetition of the word “Remembrance”.  We seceded from the empire of Great Britain (which used to celebrate Empire Day on 24 May) and won the battle so secession became a legal right in the new colony.  Then part of that new colony seceded and lost the battle so secession was no longer a legal right.  The battle over secession is 1-1 on our soil but the latest precedent is against it.  Our Declaration of Independence is not a legally binding document, but it certainly underlines the presumption of which the nation was founded, and overturned in the Civil War.

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov 2005

Either way, we honor the veterans on both sides of those conflicts in this nation.  It just depends on where you live for which side you might feel a little more inclination.  Here in the west, we really acceded into the United States rather than won our right to be a part of this nation.  The French and Indian, 1812, and Civil War don’t mean much to us in Idaho.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, Nov 2005

When it comes to the world wars of our century, we have a part to play.  Plus it certainly helps to have people we personally know who served and fought in these battles.  Most of us know people who lost loved ones in these two wars.  Hence these wars and accompanying veterans are more honored at present.  In these wars we fought against forced accession into whatever nation was seeking to obtain.

World War II monument, National Mall, Washington, DC, Nov 2005

Then we found ourselves during Korea and Vietnam in what is named the Cold War.  We fought against forced accession by nations we did not agree with (we ignored the rest) but also sought to help other nations secede and ultimately become free and independent.  We helped win that battle with the freedom of nations that were under the control of the United Soviet Socialist Republic.  Elsewhere in the world, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and the United Kingdom continued to allow other nations to become independent and we supported that movement.

Anna Badger, Jeana Stuart, and Brad Hales at the Iwo Jima monument in Arlington, Virginia, Nov 2005

American policy and law is less than clear on what exactly our position is on secession.  The national mood towards our veterans does not even seem to be as clear cut as it has been in times past.  A divide continues to build.  I am not really sure over what.  Whether we are for or against secession, those who are willing to fight for that right, rightly or wrongly, deserve our honor.  After all, far too many of them gave the greatest sacrifice a person can give.  We find it much more noble when a person voluntarily gives their life (whether they live or die) than those who are not allowed to choose to do so (but not to diminish their sacrifice).  I honor our veterans because of what they give and those who give their all.  Remember, those who live beyond the conflict still have to live with it the rest of their lives.  May we honor all veterans who fight for their cause (are terrorists veterans?).

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington, VA, Nov 2005

Traveling to Virginia Day #4

The Sabbath has now passed.  So I thought I would share a little update before we get going on the road today.
We ended up staying for sure with Andy and Becky Hughes.  They have been more than kind to us.  Keeping us up, visiting with us, and providing some wonderful food.  Breakfast of waffles and such, with dinner of homemade lasagna.  All very good.

Went to church in the Branson 2nd Ward.  It was good to see so many old friends.  We ran into Gary & Kathy Freeman, Sheila Dutton, Marty & Cindy Hughes, Ryan & Carina Hughes, Gary & Lena Hughes, Adam & Vikki Hughes, Merrill Osmond, Jason & Mara Hughes, Steve Arvig, Doug Lowe, and many others.  It was great to be back in town.  The opening hymn was absolutely powerful.  All the hymns were sang in faith.  What a refresher.  The closing hymn was America the Beautiful, and most of the families have performed this show before so it came out in 6 part harmony in Sacrament Meeting.  It is amazing how music changing the power of a meeting.  It was Testimony Meeting, which was good, despite the usual missionary field-interesting ones.  All of church was great, especially to see so many old friends.

After church we came home and dressed more comfortably and chatted for a while.  We were scheduled for dinner with the Lowe family.  We went over and had a wonderful dinner.  The missionaries were there, one of which Amanda graduated from school with.  Anna Badger, Lee and Korinne Hamblin, and Kayli also had a friend.  Dinner was patriotic and tasteful.  I ate way too much.

After visiting with the family, Kami Lowe, and Anna Badger we headed to visit with Terry McCombs.  We ended up being there for several hours discussing physics, resonance, the build of the vocal instrument, and Zion.  It sure was good to visit with him again.

We returned to Andy and Becky’s, visited for a few hours, and then crashed for the night.

Today we head off to Lexington, Kentucky.  Hopefully all goes well.

Thanksgiving

I know, I know, I have not been keeping this as up todate as I could.  Oh well, things are going very well.  I am enjoying life and have had a great refreshing break.  Just a few more weeks and then I am done and headed back to Utah for graduation, marriage, and happily ever after.
For Thanksgiving Break Anna Badger, Brad Hales, and Jeana Stuart all came to visit for the holiday.  It was great to have them here and I very much enjoyed their presence.  It was quite the adventure.  They arrived on last Friday and I took all of them back to the airport today for them to fly out.  I assume they made their flights and are all safely at home now.  With most of which I write, there will be photos to go along in the Thanksgiving Gallery.
In preparation for their coming, Genny in the office got them tours at the White House, Capitol, Library of Congress, National Cathedral, and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.  They went and saw several other museums and various other things around Washington DC.  Last Friday night we went on a midnight visit of some of the monuments.  We went to the Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, FDR, and other things around Washington.  I showed them the main buildings and gave them a sort of feel for the overall layout of the area.
Saturday we went to the Washington DC temple.  We also paid a little visit to Georgetown and went to Arlington National Cemetery.  Sunday we went to church and the Washington Memorial Masonic Lodge.  Monday through Wednesday they went on their tours.  Monday afternoon I met them at the Library of Congress and went on that tour with them.  It was amazing.  I really appreciated the beauty and time that obviously went into the building.  Very impressive building.  I took them back through the tunnels to Russell from the Library of Congress.  That was quite a bit of a walk through the house buildings, Capitol and back.  They enjoyed it.  Tuesday I gave them their tour of the Capitol and tried to sneak in some extra perks for them, however, with another couple on the tour we did not get to show as much as I could have.  Wednesday I got off work at noon and went and met them at the Museum of American History.  I enjoyed that.  I could have spent quite a bit more time there.  I enjoyed the science aspect, nuclear, transportation, First Lady, and Presidential exhibits.  I could have spent a few more hours in the building.  I will have to pay them another visit.  There are a few museums I still have not seen.  I want to see the Native American, Modern Art, Printing and Engraving, and spy museum.  Sometime I will have to pay them a visit.  I suppose there is always a time in the future.
Thanksgiving was great.  We enjoyed a trip to Mt. Vernon and had a great time.  You can see the pictures from that adventure.  Yesterday we trekked to Monticello and Montpelier, but due to circumstances and preference, we did not get into either.  At one it was “too cold” and the other we were “too late” so what was to be done.  However, I stumbled on another little town I would love to move to some day and spend the rest of my life.  Orange, Virginia, an amazingly beautiful little town.  There are a few of them in my life.  Ashland, Kansas; Blair, Nebraska; Quray, Colorado; and now Orange, Virginia.  It was amazingly beautiful.  I hope some day I can organized a piece of property into something so magnificent so as to add to the community to which I belong.  We all loved the beautiful well kept estates that lined the roads.  Orange was particularly beautiful.
We all come to understand each other a little more, we come to see and understand our weaknesses and strengths a little more, and hopefully we will have learned from our close interactions.  I sure enjoyed their company and the opportunity to entertain guests.  More importantly, it gave a little more initiative to get out and see some of what I am surrounded by.

Interesting Days

It is strange how coincidence seems to play into our lives. Even I, a low staffer, an Idahoan, who is of very little importance in the realm of all men who have walked upon the earth have the privilege of meeting such amazing men. There are giants around us and we very seldom realize it. Most of those will never be  recognized or accredited for what they do. However, today I wish to pay tribute to the common man (men and women, you know what I mean…man is not without the woman, and woman not without the man). There are souls around us who affect us so deeply that they forever change our course. Most of them are the every day run of the mill who humbly go about doing their duty. Many men do what they can to get by, others in service to others oblivious and often doing more damage, but then there are those who know what they need to do and do it well. Those who seek to do what they do well, live their lives to the best of their capability who influence the most.This week I met a man by the name of Mehmet Ali Talat. He paid a visit to Senator Smith. He is the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It definitely is not every day that we meet the President of a small country. What is more, one that is a bit more questionable in the eyes of many nations. Besides that, he is a very powerful man. He came with his entourage and sat in the office for a while (the Senator was meeting with the President of Starbucks…how ironic) and then left to visit with the Senator in his office. I do not know the culture, I do not know the man, but he seemed very deliberate and almost unhappy. The whole group seemed almost dire in many ways. While I can boast that I met the man who leads another nation, he left little or no influence upon me.

The same day, I met a man named Bob Livingston. A representative from Louisiana that served in the house for over 20 years. If I remember right, he was even Speaker of the House of the United States for a short time. A powerful man in the United States who served for a third of most people’s lives. (While there are hundreds of people in the U.S. government and I have come to learn it is just another job, it still holds a mystique) He sat with me for a few moments and was so concerned about his blackberry he couldn’t even visit for a whole five minutes. Another man who influenced millions of lives, but in lasting tribute will have little more than name recognition to go with his face in my life. Do we recognize the influence we could have on people, but due to our own concerns and selfishness do not take the opportunity to reach out more often.

If you would not know it, I was giving a tour this week and while explaining the Capitol Ceiling (which is always accompanied with my looking around while explaining rather than peering up a dozen noses) and I recognized a man sitting on one of the benches on the outer parameter. I excused myself from my tour group for a moment to go say hello to the Governor of Idaho, my beloved home state. I walked over, shook the hand of Dirk Kempthorne, and introduced myself. He looked pensive and contemplative. I somewhat regret having visiting with him as he seemed almost melancholy, but I was thrilled with the opportunity. Here was a man who took a few moments to say hello and learn a little about me. He did not brush me off and seemed somewhat interested. This man, while definitely with his own thoughts, took a few moments out to focus on the one. He will have a much more lasting influence than the President of a small nation or Speaker of the House. Nevertheless, many don’t like the Governor, but he seemed much more willing to care about other people than the first two.

In that tour group that I excused myself from was a former Senator of the State of Oregon. Neil and Mary Bryant were a different breed though. They were engaging, willing to share of themselves and learn of others, and even reached out to meet others. They and their friends Neal and Linda Huston were fun to take on the tour as they were so willing to get along and be a part of society. They are good individuals who loved to learn. He tried to stump me on historical facts of the United States of the Pacific Northwest (which my knowledge is not very good, I just got lucky that I knew his answers). They were by far the best people I met that day. While not as impressive in stature of the world, they left an impression that will be much more lasting.

With all that said, I want to recognize some of those who have affected my life the most. Colleen Jonas. Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ. Milo Ross. Sandra Jonas. Amanda Hemsley. Brad Hales. Kathy Duncan. Ted Tateoka. Kevin Orton. Nicole Whitesides. Laurel Hepworth. Marie Lundgreen. Kathryn England. Anna Badger. Chris Horsley. Megan Duncan. Dustin McClellan. James Cazier. Tom Kunzler. Altan Hardcastle. Warren Crane. Gene Hansen. Lorn Duff. I am sure there are more, many more. Thank God for good souls who reach out and connect with people. Who care more for others than they do for themselves. May God forever bless those who have affected my life and may I return the favor to all I come in contact with.