Monday, May 21, 2007

The Vietnam War Memorial Wall Came to Central Texas

The Dignity Memorial® Vietnam Wall™, a 3/4 scale replica of the Vietnam War Memorial, came to the Texas Veteran's Cemetary. It arrived on May 17 and was assembled. It opened to the public from Friday, May 18, through Monday, May 21, 2007. I have attached two photos from the The Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall's web site showing how the Wall is assembled, along with one showing the wall after it is assembled.

Assembling The Wall
Assembling The Wall, another view

My family and I went on Sunday afternoon. Our children were amazed that there are over 58,000 names of soldiers who died in Vietnam, or as a result of wounds they suffered in Vietnam, appear on the Wall. What followed was a long discussion about the Vietnam War, including the history starting from the Eisenhower Presidency through the Nixon Presidency, the effect on a whole generation of American young men and women, the military draft and the Federal government's failure to provide timely help for Agent Orange exposure and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

The Wall, assembled

I was amazed at the tremendous lack of respect shown by the visitors. Here in central Texas, men routinely take off their hats when the Amreican Flag is presented or passes in a parade. However, in total disregard of the signs indicating the need for respect, very very few men took of their hats. I wonder if it results from lingering resentment over the Vietnam War itself.

The last photograph is from the National Parks website. It shows the actual Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Beautiful Spring Day

It was a beautiful spring day! Unfortunately, we had a ditch to dig - by hand, no less! We have a leak in a buried PVC water pipe. It is probably a six-inch longsection, but it is somewhere in 500 feet of pipe. Net result, we have to dig up the pipe to find the leak. The pipe is buried anywhere from a foot to two feet down. It is slow, sweaty work and there is no shade. This is one of the reasons I wear a cowboy hat - it is portable shade that keeps the sun off of my face and neck. I may be a redneck, but I do not have a red neck!

In the process, we are digging up rocks - lots of them! Rather than put the rocks back when we are done, we have a better use for them. We are using the rocks to fill in some holes in the driveway. With all the rain earlier in the spring, some potholes opened up. Now, its time to fill them up.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

This year we did something different. We took a weekend and went to San Antonio. San Antonio is in the southern central part of Texas. It is the home of the Alamo, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Sea World, and too many dog-gone people. Over the years we lived here in Texas, the population of San Antonio has exploded, generating an unbelieveable amount of suburban sprawl.

On Saturday, we went to Sea World. That was the first day of their new water coaster, Journey to Atlantis. It is a leg up on their cross-town competition. They have Power Surge: a large boat is pulled up the grade, roller-coaster style where it rides around, finally dropping down a steep ramp into a watercourse. This new ride is Power Surge on steroids. You go up much higher. The track has two turn-tables which turn the car around. Finally, its down the hill and drift back to the loading platform. Becasue it is early in the season, there was no crowds and virtually no lines.

On Mother's Day, our son laid the plans - we planned to visit a museum and then walk on the River Walk. Unfortunately, our daugher fouled it up. She did not get ther project fininshed before we left. This project is equivalent to a major test grade. Net result, we had to cut the day short and come home early.

When we left the motel, instead of hitting one of the usual breakfast places, we tried something different. We went to a Mexican restaurant for breakfast! No, it was not one of the major chains - but that is part of the fun of doing something different. The food was great!

The museum our son picked was the Texas Transportation Museum. We should have known - it is heavy on the trains. Check it out: Included in the $6.00 admission fee is a train ride pulled by their Baldwin diesel-electric. We rode in the transfer caboose shown in the photograph.

In addition to this loco- motive, they also have another diesel- electric and two steam locomotives. Neither is currently operating.

They also have a small O guage, a large HO guage and a large G guage model railroad layout. In addition to the trains, they also have a number of antique cars and trucks, including two firetrucks and a tractor. The museum is very much a work in progress. The staff is all-volunteer and very knowledgable.

After the museum, we headed toward home. We did stop for dinner at a unique restaruant - Green Mesquite Bar-B-Q Restaurant. I say this is unique for three reasons: 1) It is in s strip mall. 2) This is the first barbeque restaurant we have been two that offers table service, insead of cafeteria style. 3) They offer a "family dinner" for four that put a huge tray of meat in front of us. Best of all, the price was very reasonable. We may well stop there again.

Yes, our daughter did get her project done. But for the next few weeks, she will be in the dog house, at least in momma's eyes.