Remembering the sacrifice

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Taps are played by the Florida National Guard at the National Cemetery in St. Augustine to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. (RonLin Photography)

Throughout the world, and history, there have been those who served honorably for the cause of freedom so our nations may have peace from conflict, enabling them to pursue and enjoy the rights bestowed upon each individual.  Let’s not let go of these sacrifices.

Although each nation does not have a perfect union I am thankful for the rights we hold dear today – and the sacrifice of those who helped make it possible to have a free society, allowing us to dream and follow those dreams freely.

Memorial Day is an annual, formal holiday in the United States to honor military service members who died in the line of duty.  The date changes each year but is held on the last Monday in May.  It was originally called Decoration Day, as the holiday was centered on decorating the graves of those who had fallen in the U.S. Civil War.

I want to highlight the U.S. National Cemetery in St. Augustine, Fla. as the 2018 emphasis to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

St. Augustine National Cemetery - VA Admin photo
The U.S. National Cemetery in St. Augustine, Fla. is managed by Veterans Affairs. (VA Photo)    https:/

St. Augustine National Cemetery traces its history back to a Spanish monastery founded during the 18th century.  Today, the cemetery perhaps is best known as the home of the Dade Pyramids, believed to be the oldest memorial in any national cemetery.  The cemetery also features a unique Spanish Colonial-style superintendent’s lodge designed to complement the historic architecture found throughout St. Augustine.

Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, the city of St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European city in the United States.  According to the National Park Service the land upon which the national cemetery sits was originally part of a Franciscan monastery that operated until the English took possession of Florida in 1763, converting the monastery into the St. Francis Barracks.  The Spanish regained possession of the territory in 1783 and held it until 1821, when Florida became a part of the United States; all the while, the site remained a military installation.

A portion of the yard at the St. Francis Barracks was set aside for use as a post cemetery, with the first burials occurring in 1828.  Most of the early burials in the cemetery were casualties of the Indian Wars, a series of conflicts waged between 1817 and 1858 as the United States forcibly removed Native Americans, notably the Seminole tribes, to lands west of the Mississippi.  Later burials include those of Union soldiers. Although Florida seceded in 1861, Union troops captured St. Augustine in March 1862 when the gunboat Wabash entered the harbor.

In 1881, the post cemetery was elevated in status to a national cemetery, as stated by the National Park Service.  “St. Augustine National Cemetery covers a 1.3-acre rectangular site at the edge of what was once the walled Spanish city.  The northern half of the grounds are enclosed by locally quarried Coquina stone walls, while a wrought-iron fence surrounds the southern half.  Four pedestrian gates, two each along the eastern and western walls, allow access to the cemetery.  Walkways connect each gate to its counterpart along the opposite wall, and a central avenue serves as the physical and symbolic link between the flagpole at the north end of the grounds and the Dade Pyramids at the south end.  Also at the north end of the cemetery is the superintendent’s lodge.  Built in 1938 out of Coquina stone, the lodge is in the Spanish Colonial style, like much of St. Augustine.  The nearby rostrum is also composed of Coquina stone.”

The cemetery is a solemn and appropriate location to recognize those who championed freedom through the ages.  The public gathers annually for the Memorial Day ceremony.

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Representatives from various veteran and military organizations parade their colors to begin the annual ceremony at the National Cemetery in St. Augustine. (RonLin Photography)
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World War II veterans who remain continue to show their respect for those who served and died.  (RonLin Photography)
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Honors are presented to remind those present that we will not forget.  Providing the honors is typically done by the Florida National Guard, Florida Department of Military Affairs, local law enforcement and veteran organizations. (RonLin Photography)
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We salute those who died serving on behalf of a grateful nation to help secure and maintain the freedoms we hold dear today.  (RonLin Photography)

Let us take time around the world to recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nations, including their families.  Where would we be today had it not been for them.

With Love, Ron


St. Augustine National Cemetery is located at 104 Marine St. in St. Augustine, FL.  The cemetery is open for visitation daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm; on Memorial Day the cemetery is open for visitation from 8:00am to 7:00pm.  No cemetery staff is present onsite.  For more information, please contact the cemetery office at 904-766-5222, or see the Department of Veterans Affairs website.  While visiting, please be mindful that our national cemeteries are hallowed ground.  Be respectful to all of our nation’s fallen soldiers and their families.  Additional cemetery policies may be posted on site.

Wow! Where was I?

Wow! Where was I?

Okay, have you been absent from something for awhile and forget where you left off, or what you thought, or your activity?

That’s me.  I can’t believe it’s been a long time since I last posted something on the blog.  When I starting writing it I wanted to express thoughts on a mother’s influence, life experiences and travels (primarily where most people have not gone).

But you know what?  Life does get in the way of our plans and intentions.  With various obligations writing became a back-burner.  Can you relate?  I’m sure most of you have plenty of time to share your thoughts on paper, right?

Well, I’m now entering a new stage of life where the “job” obligations are no longer and I have more freedom of thought – if I establish a sensible, time-conscious routine that doesn’t become a burden.

There are many places I’ve already visited – gathering images and information – but those images and thoughts just sit there.  I look forward to sharing them in the days, months and years ahead; of course mixed with more recent travels as well.

Maybe I’ll plan for one blog post a week, as long as I have something to say.  What do you suggest?

I appreciate those who have offered advice in the past to write “something” every day to stay in the routine, even if only for a few minutes.  I DO want to post meaningful thoughts however.

See ya soon.






Which direction are you going?

Which direction are you going?

When we speed through life we no doubt encounter many obstacles.  Aside from the obstacles come the signs that tell us to go this direction or that direction, stop, go, left turn, right turn, detour ahead.

The pic of the signs highlights the many options along our roadways and it certainly grabs your attention when you see so many bunched together.

What do you do when you are faced with so many signs that you don’t know which direction to take in life?

8140109156_9afd293683_bI would like to hear if you took the road less traveled or whether you took another route, or even a detour.

I suppose you can relate these signs to every phase of our being such as physical, mental and spiritual.  We encounter detours in our jobs, relationships and in our medical conditions.  There are times we have to take another route than the one we’re traveling.

Some roads have tunnels and some are covered.  Some overlap and intermingle, intersect and even dead end.

8140072995_fce58db2ee_kWe think we have the right solution spiritually until something grabs our attention and the right sign shows the way.  Are you on the right road that lasts through this life and then into eternity?

Let’s not get detoured with the distractions of life and miss the most important aspect – of having true life here and hereafter.


Who lives a shell-tered life?

Mickler Beach 151229-14

While strolling along the beach today at Mickler’s Landing at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, I looked upward and onward, hearing the roll and thunder of the three-to-four foot waves.  I glance down to see that which crunches under my feet, step after step.

I begin watching my steps and wonder how old these various size shells are and from where did they come to surrender to this part of the world.  I wonder.

Take a look.  What do you see?  Colors, sizes, shapes, forms, weathered, incomplete, complete, broken, unbroken, evidence of being tossed around by the waves.

I sort of feel sorry for these shells.  (Okay, I’m still sane believe it or not.) They are the remains of something that lived and now only the shell of a life exists.

When I step on them – what will become of them?  Will they become tiny fragments and no longer resemble the beauty they once portrayed?

How are our shell-tered lives?  I know many of us have lived sheltered lives when we were growing up and even into adulthood.  Have we ventured out?  Have we taken the risk?  Are we living or just existing?

Life in this current arena is too short for us not to enjoy every day of it while breaking from the shell and taking a little risk.  We have become un”shell”tered so to speak.   We are now responsible for our own decisions and success in life.

How about the shell we left behind?  At some point we must realize the shell has served its purpose and now exists for others to enjoy – yet we can apply the same mission to our own lives – to help others along the way and realize the greater meaning of our own lives.

I’ll share some more thoughts on this subject in the upcoming blogs.  I welcome your thoughts as well.