Bible Holidays Military Scripture

Memorial Day

2008 Memorial Day Poster #3.

It’s Memorial Day here in the U.S.A. It’s not appropriate to say “Happy Memorial Day”, for this is a truly solemn holiday. It’s the day each year that we honor our fallen heroes – those military personnel who served their country in a time of war – and who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep our freedom strong. They gave their life.

This is not a day for those like me who once served in the U.S. Armed Forces, for I am still alive. My day is Veterans Day on November 11TH. It is not a day for those who are currently serving in the military. That day is Armed Forces Day – the 3RD Saturday of May.

On this day – I remember our fallen heroes. I will never forget.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Career Holidays Military

Happy Armed Forces Week

It’s Friday May 19TH 2023, and National Military Appreciation Month continues here in the U.S.A. with Armed Forces Week (all this week), and that culminates tomorrow (Saturday) with Armed Forces Day. Unlike Memorial Day (this year on May 29TH) and Veterans Day (November 11TH) – this is an opportunity for us to honor everyone who currently serves within our military.

I’m a few weeks away from celebrating my 38TH anniversary within the United States Air Force. I actually committed to 4 years of active duty service about a month into my Senior year in high school in 1984. 6 days after graduating from high school in June 1985 – I was on my way to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas for 6½ weeks of Basic Military Training.

I’ve been living in or near Homestead Florida since the end of 1987, so that’s 35½ out of my 38 years in the Air Force. I work at Homestead ARB (formerly AFB prior to Hurricane Andrew). During the 19 months immediately after Hurricane Andrew – as the city and the base was being cleaned-up and rebuilt – I served at Andrews AFB Maryland and MacDill AFB in Tampa Florida.

My 38 years in the Air Force includes 30 years as a civilian. Prior to that I served 8 years on active duty and 6 years as a reservist (overlapping with the early years of my civil service).

Up until about the age of 16 I was supposed to go to college after high school and emerge with a degree in either Meteorology or Communications (radio and television). That didn’t happen, but here I am 38 years into an Air Force career at 56-years-old. The Air Force determined that I was great at math, so they made me an analyst / statistician.

In the Air Force I’ve had some great years, some good years, some bad years, and some horrible years. There’s an entire 13-year era that was the worst of my career (and life). Thankfully I’ve followed that up with the best 16-year era of my career (and life) – where I am now. I’m ending this career near a high, and I’ve got about a half-year to go before I can retire and call it a career. I’m ready to do so.

To all of my fellow military service members – whether you are currently on active duty, a reservist, a civil servant, or a contractor working alongside all of the above – I thank you for all that you do with each new duty day.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Blogging Driving Geography Military Photography Travel

My Carnival Celebration Vacation 2023

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote about Amber Cove, Puerto Plata, and the surrounding area up to 2,600 feet above sea level along the north-central coast of the Dominican Republic. That was Day 3 of my 7-day cruise aboard the Carnival Celebration from Sunday January 08TH 2023 to Sunday January 15TH 2023.

This week we jump to Day 4 of my 7-day cruise – and the 2ND port-of-call in San Juan Puerto Rico.

But First: It’s always good to return back to the U.S.A. – whether it’s stateside or a territory at sea – if only to get full-use of my cell phone (iPhone) back again without any extra International “roaming” charges. Those LTE signal bars look so beautiful after not having any since a few miles offshore Miami Beach.

I pre-purchased a shore excursion for Old San Juan – visiting fortresses. Shortly after arrival and U.S. Customs clearance on the island, I met my group and we hopped on our bus. Our tour guide / driver narrated during our short drive up to the first fortress. She also exhibited a little bit of Puerto Rican road-rage along the way, as traffic was thick and slow due to several cruise ships in port. Cops were blocking roads in an effort to make traffic run more smoothly, but it seemed to be causing more problems than not.

We made it to Castillo San Cristóbal, and our tour guide /driver handed-off to another tour guide who told us a little bit about the fortress. Then she told us to go check it out for ourselves and return back to the bus about 40 minutes later. (This was very unlike the shore excursion that I enjoyed on the previous day in the Dominican Republic as described last #TravelThursday.)

Our next fortress was Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and it was essentially the same situation. Our tour guide told us a little bit about it, and then we went to check it out on our own. After we were done – we walked back on our own to the bus to be there at a certain time.

After the two fortresses our tour guide / driver drove us to the city center of Viejo San Juan, and that was pretty much the end of the tour. She recommended that we walk back to the ship from there (a short walk), as traffic was muy malo. (She essentially gave up for the day.)

While the shore excursion for the Dominican Republic was a perfect 5 stars because of our tour guide and what we saw – this shore excursion was more like 3 stars. It wasn’t really a waste of time or money, but we could’ve had better, more knowledgeable, and more patient tour guides with less attitude. We could’ve also had cold air coming out of the bus vents instead of air.

I took some good pictures from the fortresses. They will appear on my Flickr Photostream in the weeks to come. Here’s one of the 3 cruise ships in port at the time from atop Castillo San Cristóbal. (The Carnival Celebration is in the middle.)

Fun Fact: This was my 2ND-ever visit to San Juan Puerto Rico. My 1ST visit was a little over 12 years ago on January 20TH 2011 as part of a 7-day cruise on the Carnival Glory.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll head over to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to enjoy a fun day on a nearly empty ship, or – perhaps – it didn’t quite turn out that way. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

1990s Blogging Career Driving Geography Holidays Military Travel Weather

Destination: Saudi Arabia

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. For this first edition of 2023 – I look back at how my year started 32 years ago in 1991.

Just 5 days after returning home to Homestead Florida after driving for 18 hours and 43 minutes and 1,103 miles from McLean Virginia (on Christmas vacation with my family) – I was on my way to Syracuse New York with a small group of airmen from Homestead AFB. Once on the ground at Hancock Field we joined-up with airmen of the New York Air National Guard, as we awaited our flight over to the Saudi Arabian desert. We were delayed by a blizzard for a few days – January 02ND and 03RD.

We finally took off late on January 04TH, and we touched down on the runway at Al Kharj AB Saudi Arabia at 1204 local time (0404 U.S. East Coast time) on January 05TH 1991 – exactly 32 years ago this morning.

I was assigned my tent at “Tent City” – W-23 – and I quickly made 9 new friends who would also be my tentmates in war (Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm).

I traveled a lot during the 10 days from December 27TH 1990 to January 05TH 1991. From Northern Virginia to South Florida by car – from South Florida to Central New York by plane – and from Central New York to near Riyadh Saudi Arabia by cargo plane. One thing was certain – I wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Everything else – was uncertain.

Next #TravelThursday let’s take a trip to PortMiami. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp