28: More Hank Williams

So, here, as promised, is the follow-up to my last post on Hank Williams! This will be my attempted recollections of what happened when I visited the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery on April the 18th, 2013. πŸ˜€

The first thing that happened at the Museum was that we had to make sure that it was actually open. It’s really hard to tell with this particular museum, as there aren’t really any lights in the “lobby”, and there’s no obnoxiously flashing “OPEN” sign to let you know which one it is. So we peeked in the extraordinarily low windows, and as there was a person sitting (or rather standing) at the front desk, we figured that it was probably safe to go in.
It costs $10 per person age 15 and above, and $3 for anyone 14 or below. Because of this pricing scheme, only I and my two teenage twin friends went in to the museum proper, while their mom waited in the lobby.

(And do please pardon me all my “if I’m not mistaken”s and my “I do believe”s: if I had been permitted to take photographs of the interior of the museum it would be considerably easier to recall, but as it is, my long-term memory is not the best, especially 10 days later when I’ve had to memorise other things in the meantime and I’ve almost definitely forgotten things about the museum. My sincerest apologies. [If you want to either double-check my memories or see what I’m describing for yourself, please, by all means, visit the museum on your own: I will be in no way offended.])

As I may have mentioned in my previous post, it was slightly confusing in terms of where to start, but the ladies at the desk pointed us at the entrance and so, obligingly, we entered. There was a speaker just as you entered the museum which was playing Hank Williams songs (no really! I never would’ve guessed!) and as you passed by it, you also saw a desk that he would write songs at, as well as some hand-written sheet music and certificates for various things – mostly prizes, if I’m not mistaken. After the first little entrance part made of wooden dividers directing you the first 4 feet or so, it was a basically a do-it-yourself tour: go where you will, see what you want. The wall that extended from the first little directional area had a few posters for Hank Williams concerts, at least one of which was surrounded by flashing lights.

The main museum space was mostly taken up by the car in which Hank Williams died, presumably from heart failure, at the age of 29. The car is a baby blue Cadillac (don’t ask me the model; I have absolutely no idea as cars don’t particularly interest me) and seemed fairly massive, although that could be related to the fact that the museum was small and so anything larger than probably 20 feet long would seem massive in that space. The car was surrounded by ropes and signs reading “DO NOT TOUCH” which seemed fairly obvious to me, as it would be a tiny bit morbid to sit in the same seat as someone who had died… 0_o But nevertheless, those signs were there. There was a plaque/paper-taped-to-a-pedestal with a snippet of information about the car and Hank’s death, but to be honest, I have no recollection of what it said. Most likely, because I wasn’t really reading to remember…

Near the front of the car, but far enough away that they could both have fences/railings and still have a fairly wide thoroughfare betwixt them, there was a couch that had something to do with Hank: most likely it was the couch that was owned by his family that he had grown up playing on that had been donated to the museum. There was a handmade blanket thrown over the back, but I don’t remember whether someone had knitted it for Hank’s family when he was a baby or if it had been knitted specifically for the museum.
Next to the car, but still inside the ropes, was a bronze bust of Hank that had been cast/sculpted/whatever-you-do-with-bronze for a city that was closely related to Hank for a memorial service after he died. Perched on the bust’s head was one of Hank’s hats, which looked exactly like it had been made specifically as part of the statue, but what was in reality a hat that Hank had actually worn to performances and things that had then been coated in bronze to preserve it for as long as the bronze lasted. {And I do actually remember that, because I thought it was really cool. XD}

There were two or three little rooms jutting off the big room with the car, and those, one would think, would have the most interesting stuff. One of them sort of did, but the other (I believe there were) two rooms were actually quite…I guess I’ll say it…They were boring. One of the rooms – about all I can remember of it is that there was some sort of documentary up on a TV, or perhaps it was just a collection of bits of black-and-white film of performances in which Hank sang. I think there were also a few paintings or something up on the walls, but for the most part, the TV was the extent of that room.
The other room I remember was a bunch of tall display cases, filled with records, photographs, hats, boots, and sheet music. There may have even been a suit jacket or two, and a couple of instruments. The sheet music and the photographs were mildly interesting, I will readily admit. Something I found a bit confusing is that in some of the photographs they referred to Hank Williams and in some they referred to Hank Williams Jr. and in some they referred to both, and it wasn’t until we’d gone through practically the entire museum before I realised that Hank Williams Jr. was a completely different person to Hank Williams: his son, to be exact. Also, in the 29 years that Hank Williams was alive, it appeared (based on the facts in the museum that I shall double-check at the end of this post) that Hank married two women, had two children with one of them, and then had another child with another woman that he may or may not have been married to. He got around in those few years, didn’t he? XD πŸ˜›
The last thing I remember about the offshoot rooms was either in another room filled partially with display cases or in a room of its own, but either way, it was a quilt hanging on the wall with a stand next to it holding a piece of paper. The paper said something to the point of “This quilt was made by (blank) of (blank) Alabama for Hank Williams and the Hank Williams Museum. Please research this person at (web address) and help support the arts in Alabama.” Or something similar enough to that that it made me question whether that person hadn’t just donated a quilt as a promotional item… In that same room, and I do believe it was actually a third room, there were several other items that had only a small connection if any to Hank, and so I really don’t feel that that room was necessary, or if it was, perhaps it would’ve been better as part of the lobby, and not as part of the museum proper, such that it was.

The last part I wish to mention about the actual exhibits in the Hank Williams museum will hopefully be more concise than the rest of this post, since as of this word there are 1285 words already in this post. *coughs and faints with astonishment* *revives* Goodness me, I’ll definitely try to go faster!
The remainder of the body of the museum (in the same general space as the aforementioned couch, car, and bust) was filled with display cases and another fenced-off area, containing a kitchen set. The display cases housed Hank’s suits, hats, and boots, as well as more photographs and memorabilia. One of the cases not placed against the wall contained the piano that Hank had played on; either when he was taking lessons as a boy, or when he was composing and teaching his children how to play the piano, I don’t remember which. It was a surprisingly tiny upright piano, which both puzzled and pleased me, as I play piano, like piano very much, and live in a house with two pianos.
The kitchen set – i.e. table, chairs, rug, fake counters and cabinets, pictures, and bit of framed hand-painted wallpaper – was that of Hank’s wife Audrey’s kitchen when they were both alive (his wife may still be alive for all I know, but obviously Hank isn’t) and living with their two children. It was very pretty, but seemed rather incongruous, and also as if it shouldn’t really be there.

And that concludes my account of my trip to the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. Of course we did actually exit the museum proper afterwards and rejoined my friends’ mom in the lobby where I/we proceeded to take the pictures I posted two blog posts ago and stare at the large carving of an Indian that prompted one of Hank’s most popular songs, then politely said goodbye to the lady at the front desk and proceeded to exchange words of pointlessness once outside the building, but as that isn’t nearly as interesting as the actual museum itself, and as it doesn’t take very long to write, I needn’t bore you with the details of our departure, and suffice it to say that we left thereafter.
I am glad that I visited the Hank Williams Museum at least once before I move away. I wouldn’t necessarily want to go there again, but at least now I can say that I went, and that I now know more about Hank Williams than I did before. I hope you enjoyed my retelling as much as I enjoyed my visit *cough*, and I also hope that if you’re interested in seeing the museum without my excess of qualifiers that you’ll see the museum for yourself. Until then!

Read on!!

 

 

 

:EDIT: Hank’s wife was named Audrey, not Minnie. He had only two children, not three. Hank Williams, Jr. was with his first wife, Audrey Sheppard. His daughter, Jett, was conceived with another woman named Bobbie Jett while he was getting a divorce from Audrey. He divorced Audrey in May of 1952. He married his second wife, Billie Jean Jones, in October of 1952. Hank Williams died in January, 1953.

29: Holocaust Education Program

I went to the AUM Holocaust Education Program this morning at the AUM Physical Education Complex, and not only was it wonderfully informative and very powerful and moving, but I got credit for three separate classes (out of the five I’m taking this semester). I’m not sure which one I’m more interested in… XD

Here are some pictures that I took at the Program. I apologise for the terrible quality of the photos: I was on the balcony, attempting to zoom in on the main floor with my rather terrible iPod Touch camera. I’ll give you a description of each picture, and hopefully you can figure out which part of the picture I’m talking about. ^_^

K iTouch Pics 04242013 042

This is a picture of the projector board at the Education Program: it says (or should say…) “Auburn University Montgomery Holocaust Education Program April 24, 2013” or something very similar to that… XDK iTouch Pics 04242013 043

This is a picture of some of the posterboards set up around the gym and also the candles that were lit for the Candle-Lighting Remembrance Ceremony (no really… XP).K iTouch Pics 04242013 044

Aaaaaand a random photographer guy taking pictures of the posterboards I was taking pictures of…K iTouch Pics 04242013 045

This is actually a rather good picture… Sorry random person whose head is in the frame. XD This is the candle-lighting ceremony that I mentioned in the previous picture: a reverend from Alabama State University and a rabbi from Montgomery are lighting the candles, while another rabbi from Montgomery is standing at the podium. (I know one of the rabbis is from Montgomery because I’ve sung at Temple Beth Or where he preaches [if that’s the word], but I don’t really know where the other one’s from.)K iTouch Pics 04242013 046

A close up of the same candle-lighting ceremony… K iTouch Pics 04242013 048

This is the director of the History Department at the podium, and a Holocaust survivor and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor sitting at the table. I’m fairly sure that their names are Max Helzer and Denise Roberts.K iTouch Pics 04242013 049

And a close-up…K iTouch Pics 04242013 050

Umm… I think this is someone else on the faculty of AUM at the podium and the two speakers still at the table, but I could be wrong. Sadly, I don’t remember what it actually is… XDK iTouch Pics 04242013 051

This is the dean of the School of Sciences at AUM at the podium, and again the two speakers at the table. This was very near the end of the program.

What I didn’t take pictures of was the part of the Frontline documentary, called “Memory of the Camps”, which is a documentary made out of film taken by film crews who travelled with the American & British liberation troops who went to the Nazi concentration camps. We only were shown the bits on Bergen-Belsen, which was probably sufficient, but very informative and fascinating, though probably because of the sheer number of images from the camp. I am very interested in seeing the rest of it, if I can find it, and I would very highly recommend at least the parts of it that I saw to anyone interested in the Holocaust. Of course, there is a warning for disturbing images, but as this is the Holocaust we’re talking about, it shouldn’t be really a surprise. (I’m sorry, that was rude. … But it is true. XD)

I am very glad that I was able to go to AUM’s Holocaust Education Program, and I’m very grateful that Dr. Woodworth allowed us to go to this Program if we wanted instead of class. (Of course, because she has bronchitis there wouldn’t have been class anyway, but she’d promised to let us go even before she came down with bronchitis. Get better soon Dr. Woodworth!!) I immensely enjoyed every minute of it, which is true, but also sounds like I’m a horrible person because the Holocaust isn’t really something you’d use the word “enjoy” to describe. But the words “interested”, “fascinated”, and “moved by” don’t quite seem like the words to describe my feelings properly. “Enjoyed” isn’t quite it either, but it’ll have to do for now. And with that, I leave you. I fully intend to learn as much about the Holocaust through future programs and memorials as I possibly can, and I hope you will too, as the Holocaust is an event that needs to be remembered.

Remember on.

27: Hank Williams

As part of the research for my final project for my second semester of Honors English Composition, I visited the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery. Now, I’ve seen and passed by this museum for the past eight years that I’ve lived in Montgomery. I know that Hank Williams was born in Montgomery. I’ve driven (when I say ‘driven’…) on the highway that was named for him. While visiting my stepdad’s family plot in a cemetery downtown, we drove by his grave and I got to see it. But somehow, in all this time, I’d never actually been in the museum. Quite astonishing, really. XD

If you are 15 years old or older, the museum costs $10 apiece (an outrageous price, really). It’s $3 for those between the ages of 2 and 14, and free for those under two.
The museum itself is a tiny low storefront next to a hotel, and it always looks closed, even though it’s apparently usually open. It’s very inconspicuous, and so probably no wonder that I’d never actually been in there.
You can’t take pictures of the inside of the museum, but you are allowed to take pictures of the lobby, such that it is. Or rather, isn’t. So the pictures that I’m about to post in this post and the pictures that I’ll post on my project page and on my Padlet poster are from the lobby of the museum and from online; none from when I was actually allowed into the museum with two of my friends.

K iTouch Pics 04212013 068 K iTouch Pics 04212013 069

I should’ve taken a picture of the gigantic Indian statue that was in the middle of the “lobby”, which was apparently for his song “Kowaniga” (I think that’s what it’s called), and which had the signatures of a bunch of people on it, but I didn’t think it was that important. Perhaps I’ll find a picture online somewhere.

So that’s my short little picture post about the Hank Williams Museum. Perhaps soon I’ll actually write about what I saw in the museum itself, as some of it was fairly cool… *shrugs* Okay, one of his suits was pretty awesome. But the rest of it was just okay. XD

Laterz!!

Read on!! <3

20: What in the Worlds is Going On?

So in case you haven’t noticed, this Honors Freshman Composition sequence isn’t exactly…typical. XD We’ve done a lot of very strange but very fun things in the past semester and a half, and all of our strange projects and experiments have made us think and have helped us become better writers. For instance, the murder project we did last year: have you ever had to write in a police report style? Or the explorations that we did, also last semester: do you have any idea how much fun it is to stalk people for an assignment, but also how hard it is to write about it afterwards? Goodness I love Dr. Woodworth. XD

(This is the point where I’m supposed to insert a picture that enhances my thinking, so, strangely enough, here you are: from http://www.infinitydish.com/tvblog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/David-Tennant-Fanpop.com_.jpg)

We’ve made connections between quite a lot of seemingly disparate things in this class, wouldn’t you say? Tapestries, storytelling, a sci-fi/western crossover TV show that’s become a geek cult phenomenon, explorations, murder (rhetorically speaking, of course), open education, social media of all sorts, blogs and the intricacies therein, memory – public and private, memorials and monuments and the things they represent and the differences between them, ourselves and how they relate to the world and storytelling, machines and learning, and of course storytelling and writing in every shape and form. We’ve done some really strange connections, such as the “Bendito Machine” video we wrote about a few weeks ago, and connecting that to memorials and social media. We’ve done some more obvious connections, such as connecting the Explorations projects to the stories they tell about the world about the people we found in a few of the explorations. In fact, now that I think about it, the explorations connect quite well to the monuments and social media that we’ve been talking about this spring semester! And of course, everything can connect back to Firefly. I only just realised that we haven’t done much with Firefly this semester… πŸ™ I do hope that in the last six weeks of this semester we’ll be able to do more of Firefly and those Explorations…

I have to admit, even though I was quite puzzled for the first month or so, and I wasn’t sure how the class was going to turn out, all the strange connections and things that we’ve been doing have been some of the most fun I’ve ever had, and I think they can all most definitely connect to each other in wonderful ways that work quite well and actually may be very useful in regular life after college. Because we’ve had to figure out ways in which these different things work together, we’ve done quite a few brain stretching exercises which couldn’t be anything but helpful. Besides, problem solving is a skill that nearly every employer is looking for nowadays, and being able to write about a variety of topics is a useful skill no matter what career field you are planning to go in to. Also, the fact that the entirety of our ‘papers’ are online, on a blog, and that several of our assignments are through Twitter or Facebook, means that we’ll be more computer-literate than we might otherwise have been. And since our world is expanding rapidly through technology and online and social media, being able to use these technologies without fear (or at least with less fear) is a crucial skill to have, and to hone. Some other experiences that emphasize that point are the fact that we are told to use Google on a somewhat regular basis, and the fact that we have all made memes online, and so in order to do that we had to have been exposed to some of the meme norms, and what is expected of a meme, in order to use the meme-generating websites that we discovered. During class, when we’re writing or doing something that’s not discussing or watching a video, our teacher will go onto YouTube and play music for us. Exposure to new music is always good, don’t you think? Actually, exposure to anything new is very helpful. Open learning, which we talked about very briefly, is one of the best ways to learn new things: because it’s free!

So yeah, our class is pretty crazy. Geeks, all of us, and not ashamed of it. We’re all also not afraid of writing, nor of trying new things. Can you imagine if we were? Goodness that would make for some awkward classes… [Dr. Woodworth: “Figure out what you want to write about, then research and write 2000 words about it in the next month.” Student: “Um, I prefer multiple-choice tests…” *horrible silence*] But thankfully none of us are like that, so we all have a tremendous amount of fun, despite how much we may complain about having to write 500 words in a week (terrifying the first few times, but after you’ve been assigned that a good 20 or so times, you get used to it). I love how much our strange and unusual assignments stretch our minds and writing acumen, and I really will miss this class and Dr. Woodworth after the sequence finishes at the end of this semester. And while I can still say it in class without people looking at me funny, “Shiny!”

Write on!

18: Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is a memorial and museum complex on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Israel, commemorating and remembering those Jews who died in the concentration camps in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, and also those whose communities were destroyed during that same period. In the complex are the Yad Vashem museum, the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, the Holocaust Art Museum, the Hall of Remembrance, the Hall of Names, and the Square of Hope, among others. Yad Vashem is Israel’s official site remembering the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and is the second most visited site in Israel, after the Western Wall, receiving some one million visitors every year.

It was established in 1953, but the modern museum building was dedicated in 2005, replacing the original museum, which was smaller, and less technologically advanced. Inside the Yad Vashem museum, there is a skylight which runs the length of the entire prism-shaped building (all 200 metres of it!), and a series of hallways and passages that guides you through rooms dedicated to different chapters of the Holocaust, accentuating particular points in time, and giving voice to some of the individuals who were killed, not merely numbering them as one of six million. It blends the stories of 90 Holocaust victims and survivors, and presents over 2500 personal items given to the museum by survivors and by others, presumably family members of those killed. Avner Shalev, the curator and chairman of Yad Vashem, said that the museum revolves around “looking into the eyes of the individuals”, and that “there weren’t six million victims [of the Holocaust], there were six million individual murders.”

The Hall of Names, inside the Yad Vashem museum, is a memorial to the 6 million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. It is made up of two cones, each 10 metres in height: One suspended above the platform, covered with the photographs and fragments of “Pages of Testimony” of 600 Holocaust victims; one excavated into the rock beneath the platform with its base filled with water, reflecting the photographs and testimonies of the cone above as a memorial to those Holocaust victims whose names and stories are as yet unknown.Β  (This is a picture of the Hall of Names to give you an idea of what it looks like, taken from the Yad Vashem website. I actually looked it up to try and figure out how it worked myself, and I figured you’d probably want or need to see it too. The second cone is visible through that hole in the middle of the platform.) The shelves surrounding the platform and cones are filled with the over 2.2 million Pages of Testimony that the museum has collected about the Holocaust victims and survivors.Β  (Pages of Testimony can be submitted by anyone, and have pretty much any information you can think of about those who were in the Holocaust: genealogical, residential, occupational, and wartime information are just some of the things provided on these pages.)

The Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations is a memorial garden dedicated to those non-Jews who risked their lives to help Jews out of the concentration camps during the Holocaust. I believe every tree in the garden was planted in honor of an individual who made a truly incredible effort to save the lives of Jews. Along with the tree planted in their honor, the honorees can be presented with the Title of one of the Righteous Among the Nations – usually by an Israeli ambassador in their own country, a Medal and Diploma with their name on it – awarded in Jerusalem, and every rescuer has their name engraved on the Wall of Honor, in the Garden of the Righteous.

Of all the memorials I’ve read about and seen, this is the memorial that touched me the most and the one that I’d like to visit the most. I’ve always been interested in the Holocaust, but this seems more personal to me, somehow, than all the books I’ve read. I do sincerely hope that I can visit Yad Vashem sometime in the future, and that it will be as truly incredible as the Wikipedia page makes it sound.

Til then, remember on.

17: The Story Behind It All

Just another quick update on how I’m doing on my writing project, and also a tiny bit about a video we watched for class. The video is a TED video (yay!) of a talk given by Andrew Stanton, the man who wrote and/or directed Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and Toy Story movies, about the importance of story in everything. And this plays in to the writing project that I’ll be posting shortly. Memorials and monuments tell stories, and telling about memorials is an even greater story. I think I’ve discovered the story behind the memorial that I’ve chosen, and I cannot wait to tell it to you. Soon I’ll post it, and we shall discover more about it together!
Read on!!

15: Find Your Way

So our big writing assignment is coming up, and we need to research everything, and this is a teensy little post about how I’m going to find out about my project.

– There’s an exhibit in the library with plaques. I shall read them… XD

Reference desk at the library!

– Intranet is your frand… XD

Basically that’s it…

Internet includes generic Google, but also looking at journal articles and online libraries and things.

And that’s basically it!

Should be fun!! (?)

Read on!

8: AUM Memorials

We were instructed to go around the AUM campus and find memorials around campus, then take pictures of them and post them here with a bitty description of what they are. I shall do my best!! ^_^

20130130-171214.jpg – A blurry picture of a list of donors to the library at AUM

20130130-171118.jpg – Another list of donors, also at the library (I don’t know why there are two different lists, but I assure you they’re different)

20130130-171053.jpg 20130130-171039.jpg – Pictures of the four chancellors that were chancellor of AUM before the current one. The chancellor on the left has a black ribbon because he died. XD (which I assume means that the rest are still alive…)

20130130-171150.jpg – A plaque that they put up on the outside of the library when they finished “Phase II” of the library tower…whatever that is

20130130-171204.jpg – A couple of bricks with people’s names on them that are on the outside of the Liberal Arts/Education building. I’m not entirely sure why those people’s names are on there (a bush is right in front of them, so I can’t go look) but I would assume that some sort of donation was made to that building either by them or in their name.

K iTouch 20130201 061 – The cornerstone of the library tower, and again it has the words “Phase II” on it. Not entirely sure what that means…but I would assume it’s the finishing of the library. Someone called Fob James was apparently governor back then…

K iTouch 20130201 060 – This is the cornerstone of either Goodwyn Hall or the Liberal Arts building; I don’t remember, and they both have “George C. Wallace” cornerstones, so I suppose it doesn’t really matter, unless they were built in different years. πŸ™‚

So these are seven of the memorials I found on AUM. I thought I’d have a hard time finding memorials, but I found at least nine just in a cursory overview of the two buildings I was in that day: Liberal Arts and the library tower. If you had asked me before this semester started if there were any memorials on campus, I probably would have said one and they’re building a second one, and that only after thinking for a moment. (The memorial I’m thinking of I didn’t even include in this post because I found several others!) But my English class this semester has been defining, and for me partially redefining, what exactly a memorial is. We decided, after much thought, that at least one part of the definition is that a memorial is anything that is a memory of or is in memory of a person or thing. All of these pictures definitely qualify, as they all have someone’s name written on them (or engraved in them, which is close to the same thing). The pictures of past chancellors are definitely memorials, as students and faculty coming to AUM who weren’t there when they were chancellor would have no idea who they were or what they looked like were it not for the portraits on the wall. The cornerstones of the buildings tell you when the building was finished, and who was governor of Alabama then, which is something I know I wouldn’t have known before then. And all the donor plaques recognize all the wonderful people who made AUM possible. I may not ever meet any of these people, and I may not ever actually read the plaques with all the names of AUM’s donors, but it’s cool to know they’re there and that someone took the time to write all of that down somewhere for everyone to see.

Remember on!

9: The Arc de Triomphe

(picture copyright of http://www.travlang.com/blog/an-emblem-of-sacrifice-arc-de-triomphe-in-paris/)

The Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France. One of my favorite names to say, and one of the coolest monuments I’ve ever seen. It stands 162 feet tall (approximately 32 mes!) , 150 feet wide (not going to calculate that one XD), and 72 feet deep (um, probably 72 mes depth-wise). (It’s also known as the Arc de Triomphe de l’Γ‰toile; the Arc of Triumph of the Star [I believe that’s how it’s translated].)

It was designed in 1806 by Jean Chalgrin, but wasn’t inaugurated until 1836. The design commemorates and honours all those soldiers who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and is inscribed with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_de_Triomphe). Its engraved pictures are of “heroically nude French youths [pitted] against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail” (also according to Wikipedia). Beneath the arch lie the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, from World War I, and the eternal flame for unknown soldiers who died in both World Wars. The eternal flame was the first eternal flame lit since the fire of the ancient Roman Vestal Virgins was extinguished in the fourth century. The arcades of the Arc are engraved with figures representing characters from classical Roman mythology.

I chose the Arc de Triomphe mostly because it’s one of the few monuments I actually know about. I don’t remember when I learned about it, or what I knew about it before I just researched it, but it’s always been a lot of fun to say, and I’d like to visit it sometime. (Also, it’s on the Champs-Elysees, which is even more fun to say. XD) Somehow I always think of the Arc de Triomphe as a sort of Roman arch that is similar to all the triumphs and arches they had in ancient Rome, which is probably because it’s based on a Roman arch. But whatever subconscious reasons I had for choosing the Arc de Triomphe as my monument to blog about, it’s still one of my favorite monuments, and I really hope to visit it someday.

Remember onward!

1: Montgomery Memorialized

So Montgomery. The town I’ve lived in (or near) for almost 8 years now. And yet, the only time I really explored and paid attention to its history was for one afternoon in a mad dash, taking pictures of memorials for my Montgomery memorial book. Sad, no?

I’m supposed to include a picture of some monument or memorial somewhere in Montgomery, and tell what it means to me and why I chose to include it in this post. Brilliant idea, but which picture? I took quite a few that afternoon, and found several more online. What memorial means the most to me? I’ve visited the trolley at Union Station quite often, so I could include the picture of that plaque. I go to Maxwell Air Force Base practically every week, and I lived there for a year, so I could very well include one of those plaques, but I don’t know as I ever actually read any of the plaques before I went exploring. I could post a picture of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, or of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, but those buildings aren’t memorial buildings, and the only memorial statues on the grounds are of Shakespeare and William Blount, and neither played a major role in either the Civil War or the Civil Rights movement (besides the fact that I don’t have a picture of either of those statues). I could definitely include a picture of the Civil Rights Memorial, but I’ve never been there, so it would be awkward trying to define what it means to me if I’ve never really seen it. So what picture to choose? The truly terrible picture of Old Alabama Town that I took while dashing into the middle of the street after making sure no cars were coming? It’s the back of the town, so you can’t really see anything. One of the plaques that I’ve already mentioned and given reasons for not choosing it?

K iTouch 12032012 121 This is the plaque in front of the Biscuits Riverwalk Baseball Stadium in downtown Montgomery. I chose it because this is one of the very few plaques I had actually read in Montgomery before the final project last semester. Before nearly every baseball game I’ve attended at that stadium (which are quite a few), I’ve run over and read this plaque. I don’t know what draws me to it: perhaps the sadness held in its words and in the stones of the building, perhaps just that it’s something to do while you’re waiting, perhaps because I’ve read it so many times it’s become a habit or a tradition to read it every time I visit the stadium. Whatever the reason is, this is the memorial that means the most to me in Montgomery. It isn’t much compared to some other memorials, but it’s “my” memorial, and is one of my favorite parts of what I suppose I must call my home town.