Unlucky Number '13

Each year I preface this post with the following disclaimer : These are favorite images, not images I necessarily consider to be "best."  These are images that set a certain way within me that "makes sense."

A decent part of this year has been an absolute shit-show.  Massive changes have happened.  Aspects about my life changed that I thought would always be in play.  Foolish, I know.  Nothing lasts forever.  Life is ever-changing.  

In light of the losses there have been so many substantial gains this year.  The change in my mindset, my approach to life, my approach to relationships.

I'm so thankful for all of the wonderful people I have met this year and have come to call family.  I'm thankful for the support my wife continues to provide, even through difficult times.  I'm thankful each time my phone rings with the possibility of work.

Before you start to question where all the Krav Maga photos are, if you haven't already, there is a separate post coming soon just for that.

One more image that I'm going to share holds such meaning for me and this past year.  To me it symbolizes my shift in thought regarding the country in which we live, dealing with loss, the happiness and importance friendship brings, knowing where you come from, selflessness, determination, sacrifice... I could go on and on.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year and that the coming year is full of success and happiness in all that you pursue.  

Veterans' Day - Part II

About 1200 miles in under 30 hours.  Ian, Dave and I headed down to Washington, D.C. to visit Arlington National Cemetery to find the headstones of two of my uncles.  We drove through the night and arrived in D.C. around 6:30am.  The cemetery had yet to open so we went out into the chilly morning air to explore the WWII Memorial as the sun broke the horizon.  We spent an hour walking the ramps and steps of the memorial with our hands shoved in our pockets and shoulders up to our ears to keep warm.  Joggers shuffled by, groups of students huddled together, a lone soldier passed through the memorial.

We piled into the car and headed over to Arlington, the sun still low in the sky.  As we walked out to the cemetery, the sunlight was reflecting off of the white headstones.  We crossed the road and walked up to a section of the cemetery in silence.  Rows upon rows of headstones.  Each headstone represents someone who has served our country.  Some lived long lives, some tragically short.  However, they all had that one thing in common.  It was an overwhelming sight.  It was surreal.  It was heartbreaking.  I felt that if I were to utter a word it would have been unintelligible.  My eyes had welled up and the emotion and power of that place had overcome me.

We moved slowly and silently amongst the headstones.  Reading the names on them, reading the conflict in which they had served, learning how old they had been when they were put in the ground.  Strangers who we had never met, who we will never meet.  We eventually made our way to where each one of my uncles were buried and up to the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers to witness the changing of the guard.  We took our time walking out amongst the dead, thankful for the experience and thankful that we live in a place that allowed us to make this trip.

After Arlington we stopped off in Leesburg to meet a friend of Ian's for lunch and headed back on the road.  Perhaps a hair-brained idea.  Totally worth it.  Thanks to Ian and Dave for accompanying me on this trip.  Driving, keeping me awake, sharing in the experience.  And again... Thank you to all that have and do serve our country.