Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Where the wind blows.........

We have been having a really good time on this trip, doing a bit of relaxing.  We have also been exploring this area, which is a new one for us!  The weather has been less than wonderful, very chilly and WINDY!  And I mean really WINDY!  It has been "red flagged" every day that we have been here, so sadly I have not gotten to swim - at all.  Sigh.  We have had lots of beach time and it has been fun to watch the waves, but this is right up there with "be careful what you wish for" things!  Remember I said I wanted waves?  Well, I got them.  Ten foot waves (very unusual for here).  So yesterday we went to a nearby state park pier.
Not only was it a RED flag day, it was also a purple flag day!  And what, you might ask, is a purple flag?  Well, I was glad for this sign....
You can't quite read it, but purple says "dangerous marine life"!  What?????  I was surprised by that!  We walked along the shore and got some great pictures of the waves, the pier, and then we spotted this....
I should have taken a picture with my foot in it to show the size of this Jellyfish.  It was bigger than a large dinner plate.... more than a foot across,  So, yes, this was the dangerous marine life that caused the purple flag!  Suddenly I was glad to not be swimming in these waters!

Today was another high surf day, so we headed off to Mobile to see the USS Alabama  Museum.  

I was surprised to find out that we could wander this battleship on our own with just a paper "tour guide".  I was amazed by so many things about this ship.  First of all.... the size!  It is really, really big!  Until you see that there were 2,300 men on this ship!  WHAT????  Suddenly it seemed very small.  And there were lots of places that were so narrow and had really no railings.  I imagined the ship rocking on the waves and wondered how the men kept from falling off.  We walked on so many "ladders" (they are so steep that you can't call them stairs.  And there were so many of them, Again I couldn't imagine running up and down them while the ship was moving - let alone in a battle!) We got down into the "bowels" of the ship and saw where the enlisted men slept. Stacked up four high on cots suspended from the ceilings.  We saw the officers quarters and the NCO rooms.  The kitchens and mess areas where interesting.  These were also converted to sleeping quarters at night.  The tables where stowed and beds where suspended from the ceilings.   All I could think about was my dad and Ken's dad.  Both served in the Navy during the time period that this ship was in use.  My dad was one of those enlisted men on the lowest decks.  Ken's dad was one of those officers.  I walked those decks and thought about the battles and the men that were lost.  All of the sacrifices made for the freedoms we have today.  This ship was near to Japan when the bombs were dropped, ending the war in the Pacific.  Honestly, I got quite claustrophobic when we were so far down in the ship.  I just wanted to get up into the fresh air.  And I got very queasy more than once, up on a high place with very little railings around.  I can't imagine the conditions during a war time.  Yes, I have a new respect for all of our veterans and those currently serving in the military.  And I so wish that our dads were still around to talk about their experiences.  There is so much I would like to ask them!  

Isn't that always the way?  We think about all of the things that we would like to say or ask of someone who is now dead.  It is a good reminder to pay attention to people around us.  I am sure that there are people that I know that have served in one of the more recent "military conflicts" that have stories to share.  Ken and I were discussing that most WWII veterans have already died.  Soon it will be hard to find any veterans of the Korean conflict.  I am so thankful for the preservation of this ship and others like it, that keep this history from just being a page in a book.  

So, once again, it is back to the importance of a testimony.  The telling of your story.  Our story - the United States of America - is a story that is grounded on God.  Founded on the principle that God has ordained and blessed this land.  Even now, when things look so.....well "ungodly"... our testimony is that God has called us and blessed us.  No matter what is happening right now in the government, in our schools, in our families..... we are a blessed people.  And every one of our testimonies needs to begin there.  We are a blessed people, who know Jesus and trust in His saving work on the cross.  

Jesus, thank you for this day, for who you are and all that you have done for me.  Thank you for museums that preserve our past and leave a testimony for the future.  Thank you for veterans and those in active service in the military.  Holy Spirit, remind us all to listen to the stories of those around us.  Give us nudges to seek out people who have life experiences to share.  Give us all courage and boldness to share our own stories.  Thank you for HIS story!  Amen

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