Endangered History

So you don’t want to see your history erased.

If history is truly your concern, the major battlefields and historic sites from the Civil War are meticulously maintained by the heroes of our National Park Service. At these national monuments and parks you can see actual history, not romanticized sugar-coated statues placed with questionable motives.

You can see the rolling hill that provided cover at Antietam. You can step out onto the top of Little Round Top at Gettysburg and see the whole battlefield in context. You can climb the same steep grade that forces hauled canons up at Kennesaw Mountain – three thousand feet up in just one mile! You can understand the importance of border states by walking the canon lines at Pea Ridge where a Park Ranger can tell you how the tide turned once Missouri was saved for the Union. Fredericksburg, Vicksburg, Wilson’s Creek, Shiloh, Andersonville, Arlington and many more. These places are truly our hallowed ground – the places where we can confront the real truths and come to understand the reasons why that terrible war had to be fought. These are the places that America wrestled with it’s very soul. These places ARE history.

It’s all there and it’s all in context. It’s preserved. These statues that Mr. Trump wants you to worry about give you nothing like that, and they are a poor substitute for actual history. In my travels I have seen hundreds of these “monuments”. None of them had the power of that view from Little Round Top that overlooks the field of battle that saw over 51,000 casualties in the course of three days . None of them compare to the power of that last image of the single stone at Arlington House. Those statues ring as hollow as the bronze shells that they are. Robert E. Lee never visited Charlottesville. I get no sense of history standing in his artificial shadow there.

What you might not realize is that Donald Trump has signed executive orders for the removal of protected status of some national monuments in the Parks system in an effort to open them up to mining, fracking, and general business development. If he cared at all about history and beauty he would never have considered plundering our national treasures.

If you love history, you really should be worried. While Donald Trump has you focused on statues he’s prepared to sell off your actual history to the highest bidder.

I apologize if this shift in focus on my little photo blog catches you by surprise. These are strange days my friends. Strange days.

Ancient American Mysteries – Carhenge

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As Karen and I sped across Nebraska hoping to find the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument we stumbled upon something truly special. Our GPS directed us to take something called “Cut Across Road” which doesn’t appear to exist. It was getting late so we decided to stop and the next town and call it a night. We hit Harriman, Nebraska at about 5 and asked at the gas station to see if anyone could help us find the park. Not only could they not help with directions, the gas station attendant let us know she had never heard of the park. She also let us know that she had no gas and that Harriman had no motels. We asked about the next town and she warned us that Crawford had even less to offer than Harriman, “There’s nothing there!”, she warned. “Go to Alliance!” We took her advice and trekked the 30 miles towards lodging, gas, and information. Once we hit town Karen thought we should cruise the town to check our options. We stopped for gas and I noticed a brown sign (all passport stamp seekers look for brown signs) that said “Carhange – 1/2 mile”. I had heard of Carhenge – I read something about it back in the 80’s in People magazine, so I told Karen that we HAD to go there! She accepted that I was the expert and we headed down that country road hoping to see something truly amazing – we were not disappointed!

For the most complete experience I recommend that from this point on you read with the sound of Leonard Nimoy as narrator in your head…

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Isolated on the Nebraska plain – what can it mean?

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Made from ancient building blocks like this 73 Vega – who would have had the technology to build this?

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It appears to be aligned with some specific axis. It must have been some ancient super race that built it. Their knowledge clearly exceeds that of our society. Analysis of the parts indicate that they were some how moved here from Detroit, Michigan! How is that even possible?

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Time and the elements have taken their toll on the site – this Caddy is slowly sinking into the plain.

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Facing directly east the opening between the monoliths elements clearly points to another clue.

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Facing west the sun sets beyond this ancient and obviously hallowed place.

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The mystical structure is even more mysterious as the sun sets.

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A random tribute against the evening sky – a salmon leaps from the unfamiliar Nebraska ground.

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Karen ventures north to the shrines offered to this mysterious place.

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The fins of an ancient caddy reach up to the Nebraska sky.

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Karen hurries back to the monolith to capture the sunset through it’s ancient pillars.

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The colors of the evening sky illuminate the mysteriously rust-free surfaces of the monolith. I am certain that this is just as the ancients intended.

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The ancient snack bar in the distance must have provided sustenance to the race of men who built this.

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Sunset and mystery – what a conundrum!

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From the east I wonder if this Vega is pointing to Vega?

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What kind of civilization would have so expertly placed a Willys between a Gremlin and a Volare?

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This close-up does little to solve the mystery – no pins or notches hold these structures together!

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An ancient dinosaur stands guard over what appears to be the “rosetta stone” of Carhenge. Will this solve it’s mysteries?

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Apparently some ancient sage believed that foreign cars would end our civilization. I wonder if his descendants drive Hondas?

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A last look back at that snack bar fills us with wonder – we need to find someplace to grab dinner!

When we finally checked into a hotel we found that no one in Alliance had heard of the Agate Fossil Beds either. As I fell asleep at the Holiday Inn, I couldn’t help but wonder if some strange force had lead us to this place of mystery…