Tuesday, May 26, 2009

EMPS: Scenes From Memorial Day 2009

For Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #39: Memorial Day, my first thought was simply to visit my mom's cemetery, something I hadn't done in ages. I did go there eventually, but first I made a few other stops.

From Memorial Day in Tucson, 2009

Let's start here, at the corner of 22nd St. and Kolb Rd. in Tucson, AZ. Carly asked for a picture of a flag, preferably with a frame around it. This shot I framed and then added a stars cutout effect.

Now this is a huge, huge flag, probably one of the biggest in all of Tucson. It amuses me greatly that this display of ostentatious patriotism is at a Toyota dealership. I guess in this case, love of country does not equate with the sentiment, "Buy American!" Then again, there's probably at least one Toyota factory in the U.S. these days. But isn't all this kind of emblematic of this country? It's big and brash, heterogeneous and inconsistent, but all the better for trying to be too many things at once.

I was actually at 22nd and Kolb to buy a couple cheap McDonald's cheeseburgers for myself and the dogs. The flag was a happy accident, although in truth there are a lot of car dealerships in town that display large flags.

Anyway, from there I headed south on Kolb to the Boneyard. This is the nickname of the local aircraft graveyard, formally called the Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Center, or AMARC. I've photographed bits of the Boneyard a number of times before, but it's a huge place that goes on for miles and miles, and rewards repeat visits.

I have strongly mixed feelings about AMARC and the husks of old warplanes to be seen there, hundreds and hundreds of them. I certainly approve of the recycling aspect of it, to the extent that sometimes one of these planes or helicopters gets pulled out of mothballs and returned to the air, or is dismantled for parts, or broken up for scrap. And I do realize that the military needs planes to do all sorts of things, transport and reconnaissance and rescue and such. On the other hand....

For a while, years ago, hundreds of recently-retired B-52 bombers lined the road, each one essentially a killing machine, mostly used in Vietnam. I'm not going to argue the merits of wars in general or that war in particular. It just makes me sad, that's all, to think of all the people killed, on all sides of every war. I'm not deriding the morality or bravery of anyone; I just wish nobody had to die over religious, political, territorial or economic conflicts, anywhere in the world. One thing I especially admire about today's military is a nation-building aspect of what they try to do. Unfortunately, even that can be a terminal occupation.

Near AMARC is the Pima Air & Space Museum, which features a whole barracks building devoted to a particular WW II squadron. I've been through the museum's indoor and outdoor exhibits three or four times over the years, but mostly I end up swinging by when they're already closed for the day. Years ago, it used to be possible to pull into the parking lot and take pictures through fences of some interesting aircraft on the museum's periphery. But now it's fenced off when the place closes at 5 PM. Still, I wanted to make another attempt at a good picture of the "Beauty of Flight" monument at the parking lot entrance.

You may be relieved to learn that I didn't take a single photo at Reid Park today. Neither the dogs nor I felt like hanging out there for long, although we did go briefly.

From there we headed north and east to East Lawn Palms cemetery, where my mom is buried. The dogs, of course, had no clue what the place was, but they knew it wasn't a dog playground, and behaved tolerably well. The entrance drive was lined with flags, as I knew it would be. I was there on another Memorial Day years ago, and took pictures then too. The difference is that on that occasion I was there earlier in the day, and an employee gave me a free flag for my mom's grave as I drove past.

My mom was not a veteran, but her mother was. My dad is a World War II vet, but he's alive and well, thank you. I did make a courtesy visit to my mom's grave, and momentarily felt like crying when I realized I was singing a song my mom wrote, which I quoted from on her grave marker. But mostly I was looking at Memorial Day remembrances: flags, red white and blue flowers and so on.

I have a bunch more photos of the Boneyard and the cemetery, and things to say about some photos that I won't be posting in this blog entry. Let's not overload this blog with image files, for once. If you click on any picture above, it will take you to a Picasa album of the day's shoot, with captions on a number of the photos. I especially like the one of two graves marked by flags and a teddy bear.

And now, having been at work on the photo editing and this blog entry for nearly 6 hours straight, I'm going to post this and go to bed. Catch you later!



Carly said...

Hi Karen

Honestly, I will never really understand how airplanes stay in the sky! LOL. Military planes are always so awkwardly shapped, strange thing aerodynamics. Good to see the pups went with you.


Suzanne R said...

My dad and my husband both loved planes, although my husband was the flyer. Dad was a navigator on a B-49 in WWII; Steve flew private airplanes. I think they both would have been especially interested in this entry. Nice to see that the dogs were included.

Jama said...

That's a lot of planes! we only have a few of those old planes here in the air force museum, kept for historical purposes. With such a small island, space is a big problem to us, so mostly big things like this are usually disposed off quickly.

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