Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day: Lest We Not Forget

Before we began traveling to Europe, what we 'boomers' knew of World War I and II came from teachers and textbooks, historical novels, movies and television, and a few tales – that were seldom offered without great encouragement – from family members and friends who had lived through those years.

londonparisiceland2011 008
In recent years, our travels have in Europe have made real those snapshots of history that once were but words on a printed page or on a television screen.  We’ve visited cemeteries and stood before war memorials.

But often we’ve been reminded of war’s impact in the most unexpected of places.  . . like the pub in London – Shakespeare’s Head Pub on Carnaby Street – where a bust of the old Bard above the entry is missing a hand and a sign tells us it was blown off when a bomb fell, obviously, not far from where we were standing.

Or even as we descend deep into the earth to reach the subway, thinking of the many who once took shelter in these same tunnels seeking safety from those falling bombs. . .

We pause at every memorial for each tells a story about those who fought for what they believed, others who were innocent victims of a war taking place on their homeland and others who traveled to foreign soil to fight for freedom, putting  the call to service before self.

Their unselfish actions then, gave us the freedoms we enjoy today, among them the freedoms to travel. . .and to write.

londonparisiceland2011 016So on this Memorial Day, we say, “Thank You” to the many to whom we owe so much.
“Lest we not forget.”

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hanford: Unveiling its History and Mystery

Wind-swept Hanford
J. Smith, photo (c) 2010
I grew up just a hundred miles or so up the road from the wind-swept Columbia River Plateau; home to the secretive -- and for a kid back then -- scary place called Hanford.  I knew they made something to do with bombs there, I mean the high school in Richland, the town nearest this once-hush-hush place, is known as Home of the Bombers

Hanford's impact on nuclear history is now well documented.  Today it is an enormous hazardous  nuclear waste site.  The good news is that the Department of Energy, that agency managing, the site has a number of gargantuan cleanup projects underway.  The even better news is that they've been offering FREE public tours of the place since 2004. 

Control Room - B Reactor - Hanford Tour
j. smith photo, (c) 2010
Last fall I took one of those tours and was blown away - absolutely, blown away  -- by it. We traveled from those mysterious World War II years into the future in a matter of hours.

I wrote about the Hanford Tour and my article appears in today's Seattle Times.  Click the link to read it, then make a note to yourself to try and nab a spot on one of this year's tours. You won't regret it; and I can assure you, you'lll never forget it.


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