Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Eleven

I have been a football fan for many years of my life. I really enjoy watching this game. I started watching NFL back in 1995. I can't forget that afternoon when I was flipping through the channels and happened to click the Superbowl championship between San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers. From that day on, I have become so interested in the sports and watch superbowl on TV every year.

Last September 11 and 12, we were in Jacksonville, Florida visiting family. They took me to watch their home team Jacksonville Jaguars play againts Tennessee Titans. The game started at one o'clock in the afternoon and the temperature was 95'F. Even that didn't diminished the excitement I felt for being able to watch NFL game live. And being there when the action took place was amazing to say the least. In spite of that seething Florida heat, the Everbank Field was filled with Jaquars fans who have always been very supportive of their home team. Watching that game was even more special and memorable to me because it was September 11 and halfway through the game, there was a commemoration of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the US. Footages of that dreadful event were being shown on wide screens of the football field and hundreds of red, white and blue ballons were released in the air and few members of US Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy held and spread the American Flag in the middle of the field while Charice Pempengco was singing "God Bless America." Up in the sky, the three members of the US army were flying in parachute and after a couple of minutes they landed in the middle of the football field. The whole stadium was quiet even if it was full packed with fans; which made the moment so touching.

Here are some of my photos of that memorable day:
 The Everbank Field--Home of the Jaguars

the stadium was still empty when we got there

warming up

Jaguars' mascot entertaining the fans while they were waiting for the game to start

start of the game---here they come!!!

the stadium filled with fans

Filipino couple who also love football and Jaguars die-hard like me

 singing of national anthem

 carrying the flag out of the field
signal of the start of the game....

Remembering 911; so touching and made me teary eyed:

Jaguars won!!! fans went home very happy

Watching the fans celebrate the victory of their home team made me smile and felt like celebrating with them. While at the same time what I witnessed during the commemoration of 911made me reflect on how that day and that tragedy changed the lives of all American people and the rest of the world.  What a day!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Day At Mount Vernon

Last Monday my daughter Rhea and I were both off from work so we decided to go to Mount Vernon,  the plantation home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. We had planned to see this very historic site since we got here in Virginia, but took us all these years before we finally found the time to go. The Estate is located along the banks of Potomac River and just about ten miles from my home. It is a self contained community with it's own grits mill, winery, blacksmith shop, etc. Everything they needed, they produced and processed.  One of my favorite parts of the mansion is the back porch overlooking the Potomac river. 

It was a great feeling to be in a very historic place like Mt. Vernon. Although I learned American History in my college years, the only thing I knew about George Washington then was that he was the first American President and was responsible for the surrender of Gen. Cornwallis that lead to American independence from England. But by going to Mount Vernon and actually walked in his yard and saw his mansion, his huge farm (8,000 acres and 316 slaves!), his vehicles and everything around his mansion, I had a grasp now of how he lived and how hard life was then even for a rich person like him, much more for ordinary everyday people especially the slaves. I can't imagine travelling from Virginia to pennsylvania (160 miles more or less) even on a horse carriage like he had in a very rough road. Much more that I can't imagine fetching twenty to thirty buckets of water just to wash a load of laundry. Slaves assigned in the wash house must be one of the hardest tasks.  It was such a tough life. It made me appreciate more the things and comforts that we have now.

I want to share some of the photos that I took but please bear with me if they are not really good. With the number of tourists there and the very limited space that I could move to get a good angle just to get rid of many distractions as I could was such a challenge. And it was one o'clock in the afternoon when we started the tour so I also had a hard time with the lighting. It was an educational and not a photography tour for me so I didn't worry about these technical stuffs so much.

the front gate of the mansion

back porch of the mansion

view of Potomac River from the back porch

the passage connecting the kitchen to the mansion

the blacksmith shop

the paint cellar

the smoked meat from wall to ceiling in the smokehouse

the buckets
the lard
animal fat
the laundry essentials

the clerk's quarter

The Paddock

the entrance to the slaves' burial site

the tomb of Pres. George Washington

It was a quality time for me and Rhea. Not only that, we also learned more about the history of this great country we now call home. We plan to see another historic place the next time we are both off from work. We don't have to go far and we don't have to spend money. "Historic Virginia" is a place to be if you like history. And many of these places are within ten to thirty miles from our home. We are blessed to be here.