Embarrassing to admit…but in all the previous years, yours truly has been a major contributor to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day. But that changed a few days ago after meeting another kindred spirit who loves NYC and photography. She’s attended and captured the celebration at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial for the past three years. “Would love to have you join me if you can.” Well that only took a second for me to say, YES!
Hoping to wake up to an overcast day, well…it wasn’t meant to be. Full sun, no breeze and let me tell you…hot as hell even in the early morning. You know the kind of heat with high humidity that makes your make-up run down your face, your clothes stick between your crack, your camera lens fog up…yep, that kind of heat.
So let’s start with location. A short walk from my apartment building is the Memorial. One of thousands of reasons why this city is so incredible is its history. Not a history buff at all, but boy do I love to look and experience it. In 1900 the monument was built to pay homage to those who served and gave their lives in the Civil War.
The service was attended by all ages…all walks of life…many dressed for the occasion.
(Many in wool and flannel!)
My heart went out to those in uniform. Did I mention it was hot as hell?
This year’s observance focused on “The Return” by recognizing the immense sacrifices of the men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to signify our support for them and their families in the adjustment to civilian life. Two of the many speakers really captured my attention. Captain Justine Cabulong, an Afghan veteran and Commander Laura Bender, Chaplain for the Wounded Warrior Regiment. Both spoke about the return to civilian life and the struggles involved.
Lots of music…the Scottish pipes, playing of the taps, and a beautiful voice singing America the Beautiful…each stirred the emotions in me…
Yes, it was hot…but I wouldn’t have traded the morning service for anything…a day for remembering and honoring those who served our country.
Before closing, a few days ago I shared this photo from my visit to the 9/11 Memorial.
Time was found during the weekend to research Ann Marie Riccoboni. Whether it’s a park bench memorial plaque or a memorial such as this, it’s important to me to learn about the person captured in my photography, if I can. A summary from an article found on the web:
Ann Marie Riccoboni, 58, of Astoria was a billings supervisor at Ohrenstein & Brown on the 85th floor of the north tower. Her remains were recovered within six months.
Sept. 11 was her birthday, and her family tried to talk her into skipping work that day. But she wouldn’t hear of it. “She loved her job,” said her daughter and “She loved working in the Twin Towers.” After she returned to work shortly after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, people would ask her if she was worried, but she would tell them, “I stop every day at the church and say a prayer. Whatever happens, happens.”
Oh how my heart goes out to all of these families who have lost their love ones…may we honor the memory of each and everyone of them.