In Honor of VE Day 1945

Today we honor the many sacrifices that were made seventy-seven years ago, when on May 8th, 1945 VE Day, Victory Europe was declared. The end of WWII in Europe had begun with the German surrender and while the war continued on in the Pacific and peace was not entirely secured yet in Europe, the end was in sight. Today is an important day to remember that hard-fought victory and the many sacrifices that were made.

WWII changed the lives of everyone. It was the second time in the same century that the world was engaged in conflict and sadly it was not the last time that nations were fighting each other. Kids and adults had to fight to secure peace. It was not an easy victory, it took time and many lives. As we go through these uncertain times now, let us not forget the past and most certainly not repeat it.

Seven years ago, I had the privilege to document the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, in which 52 aircraft flew over the nation’s capital in honor of the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Over 800 veterans and 30,000 people were in attendance at the national mall. The Texas Flying Legends Museum brought eight aircraft in support of the flyover. This is what it was like for them.

Spring Time Clouds Are Back!

Spring in the Rockies is such a fun time of the year. The days are longer and warmer but the storms are still moving through so the afternoons can be filled with some great cloud-filled skies. I know I’ve talked a lot about clouds before but they do add more unique elements to landscape photos than just a blue sky. Not only that, but when you have a nice lake reflecting that sky, all the clouds add more patterns to the water’s surface making that lake look more interesting. On top of all that, there is something peaceful about a nice calm spring afternoon outside.

Spawning Colors

Certain times of the year are better for fishing than others because the fish have changed color and are more “beautiful” to catch. I put that in quotes because from a sheer enjoyment factor, every minute out is fun but photographically we are always looking for more color or vibrancy that makes the subject pop and stand out from others. Rainbows are in their Spring spawning phase and in smaller streams, it’s common to find reds that are filled with eggs. It is important to be extremely careful around these reds as a footprint can destroy them and thus destroy future generations of fish. Once you catch that one specimen that deserves a little extra time, keyword there is little, be sure to keep it wet while taking a photo and focus on the smaller details and the whole specimen. The cheeks and eyes caught my attention on this cut-bow which is why I focused closely on the face. It put up a good fight, so it was fast in and out of the net.

10 and 80, How Time Flies!

You might have seen that title and wondered what the heck I was talking about. 10 years ago I went to Grimes Field in Urbana, OH for the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. It was an event like no other and it cemented my love of aviation. There were 20 of the flying B-25’s in the world at one place at one time, it was the most ever seen together since WWII. Better than that four of the last surviving Doolittle Raiders were in attendance, along with Carol Glines an honorary raider, and one of the survivors of the USS Hornet CV-8 (I’m sorry to say I don’t recall his name at this time). Since then, Edward Saylor, Dick Cole, David Thatcher, and Thomas Griffin have all passed away with Dick Cole being the last of the raiders to go. Today marks the 80th anniversary of the raid that made them all famous.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, Roosevelt went to Congress to ask to declare a proclamation of war against Japan. Congress agreed and soon after Japan and Germany declared war on the US with the US declaring war on Germany. This would set off the United States’ involvement in WWII. Roosevelt went to his military leaders to come up with a strike against the heart of Japan in response to Pearl Harbor. A submarine commander came up with the idea of launching bombers from a carrier to attack mainland Japan. It was a bold and highly dangerous plan in which the precious American fleet would have to go well into the domain of the far superior Japanese fleet. 16 B-25 bombers launched from the USS Hornet on April 18th, 1942, and bombed mainland Japan before flying further onto China where the planes were to be handed over to American allies in China for further use in the war. This did not happen as all but 1 plane crashed due to bad weather and nightfall. The one surviving plane landed in Russia and was confiscated. The history of the raid is fascinating and many historians have spent a lot of time researching and interviewing survivors from all nations. This blog post hardly does it justice. You can read an older post of mine here to learn a little more but I would advise you to pick up Carol Glines, the Doolittle Raid for a more in-depth account of events.

Lastly, while the anniversary of the Doolittle Raid has always been about the brave men that took part in the raid itself, being able to remember and honor those folks wouldn’t have been possible without volunteers like those of the Children of the Doolittle Raiders, National Museum of the United States Air Force, all the private museums that fly and maintain the B-25’s and all the folks that are involved with these planes, the veterans and honestly those just helping to make these events function.

Remembering Pearl Harbor 80 Years Later

80 years ago today marked the beginning of four years of turmoil for the United States. While the rest of the world had already gone to war the US had stayed as neutral as it could be without declaring war. On December 7th, 1941 the US Navy was attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese government. The next day Roosevelt asked congress to declare war on Japan and shortly after Germany. This launched us into World War II and for many December 7th is the day that will never be forgotten. Nor should it be.

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The events of Pearl Harbor have been studied for eighty years and new pieces of information are still being discovered. What happened there has for some become an obsession. It wasn’t just a military operation but a political statement that is as analyzed as any other major event. For those that haven’t studied the attack, it can be summed up much more easily, the day we went to war. The Japanese Zero, as seen above, for a long time was hated but now is treasured as a rare piece of history. The Zero was the primary plane launched by Japanese Carriers to bomb Pearl.

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Among the Zero’s many adversaries, the P-40 Warhawk was an early contender at Pearl and in the Aleutian Islands. The later contender the FG-1D Corsair fought in many battles over the Solomon Islands, up and done the slot.

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But one can never forget what happened that day and the many lives that were lost. While little remains of the Battleships and buildings that once covered Ford Island, Barabara’s Point, Hickam Field, and Pearl Harbor, the stories have lived on. If you’ve ever met a Pearl Harbor survivor then you’ve met someone who has lived through something that no one else can understand. Take a moment today and say thanks, for it would be a very different world today if not for the events that happened on December 7th.

Falls Come and Gone

Fall has yet again come and gone. It was an amazing year with some truly gorgeous colors in the Cottonwoods and Aspens but with one good storm, it’s back to the bare bones of the soon-to-be frozen ground. As always I didn’t get out nearly as much as I would have liked but I did manage to get a few good photo trips in this Fall and am greatly looking forward to what Winter has to bring.

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