Memorial Day for me is about reflection, it is about honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. I find myself thinking of our service members almost daily. I’ m extremely thankful for all who have served, all who are serving and for the sacrifices those families make as well.
It’s June 1953 and Dwight D. Eisenhower graced the Oval Office of the White House. This installment of “History Past” takes us into my collection of historical images, as these 3 iconic Kodachrome’s were taken while on a tour of the White House.
A typical dreary afternoon on Monday October 23rd, 2006 here in the Southern Tier. Josh Blay and I were out and about looking for something of interest, something cool to photograph. It’s now late afternoon and we had given up, threading our way east along route 17C from Waverly. We were talking about who knows what, and not really paying much attention to our surroundings. Suddenly my eyes became as big as saucers and with a few expletives we were witnessing a low flying helicopter above the Tri-Cities Airport in Endicott. With our new found excitement Josh and I are now rapidly approaching the airport to get a closer look. A screeching of the brakes, doors flying open, camera gear spilling all over and upon closer inspection we excitedly discover this piece of magnificent machinery is the new Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel “V standing for VIP” (US101 Marine One) Presidential helicopter prototype doing what I’ll call Touch N Go’s…
Hands trembling with excitement as I fumble for a new roll of film, finally my camera’s motor drive begins to hum like the rotors of the VH71, I was elated. I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to photograph such an amazing subject despite the dismal weather conditions. Shortly after our excitement had settled Josh and I figured we should promptly leave before someone really takes notice of us and throws us out.
The VH-71 Kestrel program was canceled in 2009 and recently the United States has entered into contract for 23 new Presidential helicopters. The new, initial contract awarded to the American defense contractor Sikorsky, is valued at $1.24 billion. Under the terms of the new contract, the U.S. military will take delivery of two prototype helicopters—based on the Sikorsky S-92 medium helicopter–in 2016. Another 21 fully capable helicopters will follow.
Today is Memorial Day, a day where we as Americans reflect on those who have served and who are serving this great nation of ours. A day where we say thank you not only to our military but to their families who also bear the sacrifice of loved ones far from home and in harms way.
So as we plant our flowers, open our pools, light that charcoal lets take a moment to say thank you to all who have made this possible and continue to do so without reservation. Thank You!