Yeah, yeah, I know.  It’s not summer yet but it sure felt like it.  The Memorial Day weekend was mighty fine.  I said to the family that it was as though we had been in a winter time warp;  then someone pulled the switch and we fell out into last August.  Bagels from the Bagel Shack; three trips a day to Murphy’s to get the food items we forgot to get earlier; fisherman and crabbers at the foot of the street;  flip-flops lined up at the beach entrance; surfers and beach walkers; the ice-cream guy’s bells; roller blades on West Avenue…

We enjoyed it while looking anxiously over our shoulders, half expecting the nice weather to be pushed away.  But, it didn’t happen even though we all remember wet, cold, Memorial Days in the past.  Clearly, the season has begun and we’re pleased that neither spring nor summer have forgotton how to do it right.  The Purple Martins know it; they returned to their condos a few weeks ago.

The celebration day was beautifully clear at Beach Haven’s Veterans’ Bicentennial Park, ready for the ceremony at the gazebo. 

The parade was “down-home” with the Mayor, our friend Professor Commissioner Nancy Davis, the Boy Scouts, the antique cars, Missy and John Maschal in their early 20th C., wood-sided Fudge Truck , the fire engines and first-aiders, and a super marching band.

During the service, veterans were invited to gather before the podium.  Feeling inadequate in the presence of those who had been in harm’s way I went up anyway, proud to have served my country.  I never fired a shot in anger but I served, helping to maintain our defense establishment with the Atlantic Fleet Seabees in Morocco, Spain, and Puerto Rico.  Here’s Bergie and his construction company of Seabees in front of a completed vital defense structure (a base commissary ;-))  (For this I had to master navigation and seamanship??)

The Memorial Day Pig Roast was fun and filling.  Fun also to see old friends again to begin the season.

Other signs of the seasonal change are here.  There’s usually a tiki of some sort nailed to the top of a post along the boardwalk from the street to the beach.  Here’s this year’s…whimsical and endearing.

And, just by that walkway are the beach roses, Rosa Rugosa, sometimes called Nantucket Roses, which are most lush and prolific at this time of year:

This is also the season for the exotic, beautiful mountain laurel blossoms.  The reddish cast, a departure from the usual light pink, is rare for the area, and is seen mostly in the nearby pine barrens.

And, finally, the regal,delicate ballerina, the iris.

The G&T?  Oh, yeah, we had a couple.


I have greatly enjoyed photographing the wildflowers and other spring appearances here on campus but I have been feeling more and more a need to get to another topic…to get off of the trails as it were.  Then I learned that there was to be an airshow at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst last weekend so we drove over and  joined a couple hundred thousand others there.  It was exciting and fun.

Thirty years apart.

Shortly after arrival these late 1930’s  SNJ-2’s split the sky above the tail of a 1969-design C-5 Galaxy transport.  A good contrast with which to begin.

Here’s that C-5 Galaxy, about the width of my living room and arranged for a walk-thru.  One apparently carries one’s own baggage aboard.

There were thousands who came out for the excitement.  I was impressed with how well base personnel handled the traffic to the parking lots.  I was sobered by the body scanning station backed up by men carrying automatic weapons at port arms, and with side arms strapped to their thighs. 

You were there, too? I didn’t see you.

Then we had a show of smoke-trailed aerial acrobatics by the SNJ-2’s.  The group calls itself the Sky-typers.

Yet another group, this time  circa 1950 T-28 trainers,  entertained us with acrobatics and pseudo dogfights.

I had thought I’d be disadvantaged since I didn’t have my 400mm telephoto with me.  I saw a couple in use but I decided that my 105mm worked fine, enhanced at times with some cropping.

The air activity also included some frightening passes by F-18s and a B-1, as well as marine paratroopers launched from one of those C-5 Galaxies, and some helicoptered troop insertions.  In addition there was a lot to see on the ground including this WWII star, the B-25.  Sixteen of these were launched from the USS Hornet to bomb Tokoyo in April, 1942.  This was largely a propaganda gesture but an important one.  As only President Roosevelt could do, he glibly referred to the attack as having been launched from Shangri-La.

I was also able to tell an Army Air Corps historian at the show about the time one of these crashed on the beach in Margate in June 1942.  We ten year-olds scoured it for souvenirs before the army arrived.  (I think my 50 caliber machine gun went in last fall’s estate sale.)

The day’s finale was a magnificent, stirring performance by the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds, presently flying F-18’s.  Words and still shots fail.

It was a great day to celebrate our armed forces.  It was inspiring and encouraging.  I enjoyed flash-backs to my navy days.  I was proud to have been a part of it then, and proud of, and grateful for,  our service people today.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

(If you want peace, prepare for war.)

Attributed to the 4th or 5th century Roman writer, Vegetius