Just as I struggled with what photos were appropriate to take while visiting Dachau, I struggle with what photos from that visit are appropriate to share. What, if any, photo is respectful? Which photo tells the story of what happened there?
The bricks in this photo are where prisoners would be lined up before entering Dachau. Much of Dachau is reconstructed, but these bricks are original. They lie just outside the gate to enter the concentration camp. At least 188,000 people were imprisoned in Dachau. The persecuted were Jews, Romas (Gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, political prisoners, repeat criminals, and “asocials”. Asocial was a Nazi-created catch-all category encompassing alcoholics, addicts, the mentally ill, or seemingly anyone who seemed odd or weird. (Unfortunately, you won’t see homosexuals, criminals, and “asocials” recognized on the memorial at Dachau. But that’s a story for another time.) When we toured Dachau, it seemed most visitors focused on the camp’s iron gate and what lies beyond it. But I was drawn to these bricks, these bricks where thousands of feet last touched freedom.
The announcement was made over the intercom at Reagan National Airport. Anyone who would like to welcome World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans could make their way to Gate 67. An Honor Flight was arriving.⠀ ⠀ In May 2005, the first Honor Flight brought 12 World War II veterans from Springfield, Ohio, to Washington, DC. The veterans were there to see the National World War II Memorial, which had been dedicated the year before.⠀ ⠀ The flights were conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant in Springfield. He realized many of his World War II veteran patients weren’t able to visit the memorial dedicated to their sacrifices. ⠀ ⠀ After presenting to local pilots in Ohio the idea of flying vets to DC, Morse’s idea grew into the Honor Flight Network. Today, Honor Flights deliver veterans to DC to see the memorials erected in their honor.⠀ ⠀ Among the vets who arrived that day when we were waiting to board a plane at Reagan National was one who had fought on Iwo Jima. Another vet had just turned 100 years old. Some came with family members. Some came in wheelchairs.⠀ ⠀ The vets walked out to a military choir and an applauding audience. ⠀ ⠀ One vet walked off the gangway, approached the choir, and raised his arms. Then he began conducting. I forget the patriotic song being sung, but this vet knew it. ⠀ ⠀ I wondered when had this elderly veteran last led a military choir? I’ll never know. But for one day in May, he was able to do so again, if only for one song, only for one more time.⠀ ⠀ This photo was taken on May 20, 2017, at Reagan National Airport in Alexandria, Va.⠀ ⠀ Sources:⠀ – “Honor Flight Network – Honoring Our Veterans.” HonorFlight.org. Honor Flight, Inc.⠀ – “History & Culture.” World War II Memorial. National Park Service. NPS.gov
Happy #MemorialDay from the Barron family #farm in Womack, Mo. Mom and dad have owned these 35 acres since 1986. It’s where my brother and I grew up. As kids, we played in the creek that formed the property’s southern boundary, building dams of rock and stick that we knew would not withstand the first heavy rain. The barn and other outbuildings gave us protection while shooting invisible enemies, and the fields gave us room to hone our burgeoning baseball skills. (More so my brother than me.) As we grew older, we began to help with the garden. I hated pulling weeds and picking green beans, preferring instead to pluck ears of corn. Every summer we helped dad bale hay. Still today I can stack a wagonload full of hay bales, though seldom in my career has this skill been required. And though our parents asked less of us than what may be typical of other farm kids, my brother and I did occasionally help dad wrangle a calf or guide a heifer. Many of us have memories the production of which we failed to appreciate at the time. But today’s a day for remembering the past that made our present. Photo taken May 29, 2017, in Womack, Mo.
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