“Proud to be an American…and a Photographer”

I had the honor of photographing a military graveside service on October 20th. This was definitely a first for me. The members of the American Legion asked if I would document the service for them and I was pleased to do it, although a little nervous.

I arrived at the cemetery, which was surrounded by yellow and orange trees against a beautiful sky. An American flag rustled in the breeze and I immediately noticed the members of the US Marine Corps near the back of the cemetery preparing for their part in the service. Two service members were standing guard at the gravesite awaiting the hearse.

When it arrived, members of the American Legion proceeded to bring in the flag-draped casket and the service began. According to protocol, the flag must be placed over the casket with the blue field of the flag at the head of the casket, over the shoulder of the deceased.

After words from the minister, the firing of the guns began. Seven service members lined in perfect formation and each fired three volleys. This tradition goes back to a battlefield custom. When a soldier fell during battle, there would be a cease in fighting. Once the shots were fired it meant that the deceased had been properly cared for and the fighting could resume.

Following that, an American Legion member began playing “Taps”. This song was written in 1862 during the Civil War and was officially recognized by the US Army in 1874. I always get cold chills when I hear this and this day was no exception.

Finally came the folding and presenting of the flag. I was amazed at how perfectly every detail was executed and I was very impressed by how the military handles the tradition of laying one of their own to rest. The officers moved in perfect, careful formation with every step and turn. I noticed at that point that I had cold chills again and not just from the chilly breeze that was blowing.

As I said, I was honored to have attended this service and to have taken pictures to document this tradition of laying heroes to rest. It made me proud to be an American…and a photographer.

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“Somebody Prayed”

You can store up blessings and favor by living a life of excellence and integrity that will affect generations to come. I know I am blessed today because I had parents who honored God. I had grandparents who prayed for me and modeled a life of excellence.

You are where you are because somebody sacrificed. Somebody prayed. Somebody served. And now God is honoring them by releasing His goodness in your life. None of us got to where we are on our own.”- Joel Osteen

This is something I’ve never given a lot of thought to, at least in that way, but it makes a lot of sense. I know my grandmother has prayed for me her whole life and still continues to do so despite her own failing health. My grandfather attended church every Sunday until he was too sick to do so. And I know my parents pray for our family as well. Even several generations back, there was someone building a foundation for the family that I have today. How comforting to know that those people were creating a faith-based future for myself and those around me.

I try to instill these things into my daughter as well and hope that what I am doing in my life as well as in hers, will continue to be a model for generations to come. When we believe and trust in God’s word we aren’t just bringing hope into our present lives but for those following along behind us. Think about this as you decide what kind of life you are living, how you are raising your children and what type of role model you are. Not just in your own family, but to all of those you come in contact with.

Also, don’t forget to remind your children how important their grandparents and ancestors are/were because despite the ever-present generation gap there is so much to be learned from them. When they are gone, a certain set of values and integrity will be gone with them, unless we continue to pass them on to our children ourselves.

And in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice” – Genesis 22:18

“Where Do I Go?”

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.

Life’s small worries and life’s bigger worries may sometimes weigh you down to the point where you are certain you can’t put the next foot in front of the other.

Where do I go…. but to the Lord?

Your days may not go the way you intended and you question it with WHY…WHEN…HOW?

Where do I go…. but to the Lord?

Anxieties, tension, and depression creep in. You may ask, “Is this all there is to life? When will it be my time?”

Where do I go…. but to the Lord?

Right now your future may not look as bright as you had hoped but it’s only because you can’t see the light God is pulling you toward. He isn’t finished with you yet. You are still a work in progress.

Where do I go…. but to the Lord?

Your days may seem insignificant in your own eyes, but in God’s eyes and those around you, your life has a beautiful meaning and purpose.

Where do I go…. but to the Lord?

Go to Him. He is waiting.