TBT: Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall

Last year the Disabled American Veterans sponsored the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall in Lady Lake for three days. The purpose of the traveling exhibit is to allow people to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during the Vietnam War in locations near their home. With over 20,000 veterans living nearby in The Villages, Lady Lake is a popular location for this exhibit.

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The Traveling Wall is a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., standing six feet tall at the midpoint and stretching almost 300 feet from end to end. We were among the thousands of people who took time to visit during its stay in Lady Lake last November. Just as in D.C., volunteers assisted visitors in locating the names of family and friends listed on the panels of the wall so they could pay their respects.

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Flags, flowers, pictures, letters, and other mementos lined the base of the wall by the third day when we visited, many providing stories of those lost so many years ago.

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The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is making another stop in north central Florida this weekend, this time in Dunnellon. It will be located at Ernie Mills Park, 11899 Bostick Street, arriving today and on display until October 2nd. Don’t miss it!

TBT Lesson #90

It’s track season! And we’ve worked three meets so far with three more on the calendar. It’s all Meghan’s fault. When she started running track in 1999, we were hooked. Running and being part of the team brought a smile to her face, and we’ve met many more smiling teens on the track.

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TBT Lesson #90: Support the things that make your children smile.

TBT Lesson #89

This week Sarah’s been in California, surfer’s paradise, and has even sent pictures to give the impression of surfing. This reminded me of the summer she saved her money to purchase a skim board so she could slide along the shallow water along the shore.

Unfortunately, she found staying on the board more difficult than it looked and ended her skim boarding adventures less than an hour after it began.

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TBT Lesson #89: Make sure you buy a supply of band-aides and antibiotic ointment when you purchase a skim board. You’ll need it.

TBT Lesson #88

At family gatherings the older cousins were frequently recruited to help out with the little ones. Emily has her hands full with Hannah while holding Noah, who’ll soon be 16. How time flies!

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TBT Lesson #88: Young children are a handful, but they bring a smile to your face.

TBT Lesson #87

Yesterday we were invited to a friend’s house where got an up close look at the Winnebago Travato motor home she and another friend have been using as their headquarters for camping adventures. The vehicle provides all the comforts of home in a compact space, perfect for two people.

After touring Amy’s home on wheels, the four of us talked about favorite camping places, especially ones in Florida. So what better picture for today than one from 1990, taken in a motor home we purchased on the day after our youngest daughter’s birth. This motor home made it possible for us to continue traveling and make lots of memories on the road, even with three children under six.

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TBT Lesson #87: Children make good traveling companions.

TBT Lesson #86

Today is the 30th birthday of my nephew, Matt. This special only child status didn’t last as Matt became the big brother to seven siblings, five brothers and two sisters…most of whom will be able to share this milestone birthday.

Happy birthday, Matt!

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TBT Lesson #86: Remember, your Mom always has your back.

TBT Lesson #85

Snow has dominated this morning’s news. Stories about a blizzard moving toward Washington, DC and historic snowfall expected in the northeast part of the country are not only part of weather reports, but they’re making news. Then I saw online that Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed to visitors today due to snowfall.

These reports reminded me of a quick trip we took to Smokemont Campground in the Smoky Mountains in 1989. With a five year old, two year old and a three month old, we drove our camper to North Carolina so the girls could see snow for the first time. Well, at least so the older two could play in the snow.

Snowballs, snow angels, a small snowman and a chance to enjoy all the fun associated with snow…guess we’ve always been a little crazy when it comes to travel.

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TBT Lesson #85: Even kids who grow up in Florida need to play in the snow.

TBT Lesson #84

This week we purchased airline tickets for a spring trip which will include camping in Iceland for a few days. We’re excited about an adventure in a foreign country  without the assistance of tour guides or buses packed with sightseers, but to be honest I’m a little nervous about sleeping in a van in a country with the word ice in its name. Are we going to be able to handle being outside exploring the natural wonders of this country 24 hours a day?

Just when I convinced myself the answer to this question is, yes we can; I find this picture of John wearing a down jacket taken on a winter day in Florida back in the ’80s. Good thing we got new down jackets for Christmas!

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TBT Lesson #84: Don’t let the weather prevent you from enjoying time outdoors.

TBT Lesson #83

Career Day was a staple at most elementary schools in the ’80s and ’90s. Each year a variety of people shared information about their jobs, the skills required and education or special training needed. Career Day included a hairdresser who washed, cut and styled hair while she spoke, a photo restoration expert who tore a photo and then did her magic, and a restaurant owner who cooked and served students Chinese food as part of her presentation. Of course, these were always popular with students since it changed up the school routine.

One year students and teachers were encouraged to dress to represent an occupation. Never ones to pass up an opportunity to dress casually, Connie came as a Publix employee while I dressed as a referee. The 1990s were a good time to be a teacher.

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TBT Lesson #83: Teaching is as much about sharing experiences as taking and preparing for tests.

(And don’t forget to look up in a photo to avoid the double chin effect.)

TBT Lesson #82

It really wouldn’t be Christmas without pictures of the family around the Christmas tree. This one taken on Christmas Eve 1965 of John, his brother Mark and their Mom shows boys exercising great restraint as they’re posing with gifts instead ripping the wrapping off.


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TBT Lesson #82: Why do parents taunt their children with picture taking on Christmas Eve?