Category Archives: History

Memorial Day 2013 – Freedom Is Not Free

Freedom is not Free - Golden Gate National Cemetery - 2009

On this beautiful Memorial Day morning, I’ve been looking back at some of the earlier Memorial Days I’ve written about here.

Last year, I was reminded by the pastor at my Mom’s church that Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day – that it dates back to just after the Civil War and was a commemoration of the soldiers who died in that war.

Again today we remember both those who sacrificed their lives in service to our country as well as memories of those close to us.

According to Wikipedia, “Freedom Is Not Free” was first coined by retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, Walter Hitchcock, of New Mexico Military Institute and “expresses gratitude for the service of members of the military, implicitly stating that the freedoms enjoyed by many citizens in many democracies are only possible through the voluntary risks taken and sacrifices made by those in military. The saying is often used to convey respect specifically to those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.”

Once again this year, we remember them. Never forget.

The image above is from Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California – taken on an early January morning in 2009. Had it been taken on Memorial Day, small American flags would have been placed in front of each of the headstones – we can see them in our mind’s eye.

Happy Father’s Day 2012

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Even though Father’s Day is one of those “Hallmark Holidays”, it got me remembering this morning that ten years ago, in 2002, we took a wonderful family vacation to Norway – and to the original Loftesnes (spelled with just one ‘s’ on the end over there) homestead.

On June 18, 2002, we took a high speed ferry from Bergen to Sogndal – about a three hour ride up the largest fjord in Norway. A beautiful trip indeed! This photo shows my Dad (age 80) and me out on the bow of the ferry after we docked in Sogndal. Brings back lots of great memories about what a great Dad (and proud Granddad) he was.

Over the next few days, we toured the area around Sogndal and he had such a great time – his first trip to Norway. One of my best memories is sitting out on the lawn at our hotel watching the bonfires around the Sognefjord burn late on Midsummer evening. Dad was in his element!

Dad passed away just over two years ago and we miss him every day! He was especially one from the greatest generation!

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Memorial Day 2012 – Freedom Is Not Free

In the Snow - Korean War Veterans Memorial - 2005

On this beautiful late May evening, I’ve been looking back at other Memorial Days I’ve written about. At church with my Mom yesterday, I was reminded by the pastor that Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day – it dates back to just after the Civil War and was a commemoration of the soldiers who died in that war.

Today, we remember both those who sacrificed their lives in service to our country as well as memories of those close to us.

The image above is of the Korean War Veterans Memorial on The Mall in Washington, DC. It was taken in the middle of a late February 2005 snowfall by our daughter on a school trip. American soldiers on patrol.

Engraved into a wall of the memorial are the words: “Freedom Is Not Free”.

Indeed. Never forget.

A Revolution in My Pocket!

Celebrating in Tahrir Square - by RamyRaoof

There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom.

Wow, what a day for Egypt! Watching the events unfolding in Egypt over the last 18 days has been both compelling and seductive.

Thanks mostly to Aljazeera English, I had a seat on the edge of Tahrir Square in Cairo. AJE’s iPhone application brought me live video wherever I was – zooming me into the events in Egypt as they unfolded.

How amazing is all of this? First of all, the source – Aljazeera itself and its on-going presence in Cairo, in spite of the regime’s efforts to shut it down. This source was complemented by the incredible capability I hold in my hand with the iPhone that brings AJE’s video into my life wherever I am.

This feels like a really new world. Video from anywhere on the globe delivered into our hands in real-time. Amazing. Simply amazing.

I can’t imagine how this will influence world events in the years to come. The accelerating pace of change enabled by this technology is breathtaking, exciting and, I must admit, a bit scary. I’m reminded that “Freedom is not free” – but clearly the pace of its evolution is changing fast!

PS: Aljazeera has a campaign: “Demand Aljazeera in the USA” which they hope will result in the cable TV companies adding their content. Presumably they’d receive some sort of compensation from the cable companies? Frankly, I could care less about any of that. While it might be nice to watch AJE on my cable TV, where I really want to watch it is “in my hand”. And they’ve got that covered nicely with their iPhone app!

Photo of “Celebrating in Tahrir Square” by RamyRaoof.