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My New Year’s resolution is to serve others. In this personal challenge, I will use my passion for photography and writing and my love for history and veterans to help others. I am compiling a photography book which will be available to those who make a donation to the charity organization Friends of the Wounded Veterans (FOTWV). The book will consist of photographs of monuments and sites within Washington D.C. celebrating our history, our leaders, and our heroes. I will research each photograph and provide details in the book. I will also offer prints and digital copies provided they are for personal use only. All donations go directly to FOTWV.

Thank you everyone for the wonderful feedback. I’d also like to thank Chronicles of Illusions and MysteryCoach for re-posting. It was great reading their reader’s comments. Jo replied to one of his readers as follows: “Living in a small town restricts you a little…and I would prefer to help out somehow with animals I think…but I am investigating as we speak.” Jo’s work is amazing, and any organization would be lucky to have Jo’s assistance.

I was thinking about the little things we can do even in “small towns.” Connecting with school teachers online and sharing photographs from our part of the world would be a great way to educate the world’s next generation. Teachers can always use resources! If you have a passion for photography, volunteer to photograph an organization’s event for them. They can always use your photographs to further their cause. What about volunteering to photograph the animals in shelters to help them get adopted? A great picture goes a long way!

I finally took the opportunity to return to Washington D.C.,  the other day, this time armed with my new colorful toy: Zeiss Planar T* 1,4/50mm lens. I also brought my 24mm f/1.4L and 85mm prime lenses. First, I arrived at the Arlington National Cemetery as the gates were opening. The flowers are in bloom, and it was a beautiful day. I paid my respects to John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (Jackie O). Then I strolled over to the Tomb of Unknowns to watch the changing of the guard and a wreath laying ceremony. Afterwards, I visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial to pay my respects to Dr. King.

Next, I visited the United States Botanic Garden to see their current exhibit: Orchid Mystique Nature’s Triumph.  The exhibit was amazing and I will share some of those photographs in another post. Finally, I visited the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building. This building’s interior is stunning and I will share those pictures in another post, too.

I’ve selected a few pictures which I think I will include in my book. What do you think?

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The Jewish tradition of leaving a pebble or stone on top of a tombstone signifies that someone has honored the deceased person’s memory with a visit to the grave. I am not Jewish, but I think this is a touching and intriguing tradition. I found a great explanation by Rabbi Tom Louchheim here. I’d appreciate it if any of my Jewish readers could elaborate on this tradition.

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Although Joe Louis (The Brown Bomber) was not Jewish, he garnered the respect of the Jewish community. Among other things, I suspect this is due to his knock out of Nazi Germany’s best heavyweight in 1938. I found a great article titled, “Joe Louis and the Jews“:

Arguably, the boxing champion American Jewry most closely embraced was Joe Louis, a non-Jewish African-American who, in June of 1938 knocked out Max Schmeling, Nazi Germany’s best heavyweight. American Jewry claimed Louis’s victory as their own. It refuted Hitler’s argument that German Aryans constituted a “master race.” Art Buchwald, who grew up in New York, recalled that as a child in 1938 he was sure of three things: “Franklin Roosevelt was going to save the economy . . . Joe Dimaggio was going to beat Babe Ruth’s record [and] Joe Louis was going to save us from the Germans.”

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