Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Snap, Set & Song - ANZAC

This week's theme is one that, as an American, was a bit more of a challenge for me than most. ANZAC Day is celebrated this week in Australia and that was the basis for Thea's theme at A Snap, A Set and A Song this week (click on the link to have a look and maybe even join in with future themes). Thanks to the global reach of the internet, for the last few years I have had a number of friends who are Australian so have been aware of the day. (Thanks to the Australian Army website from where the following comes.)

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. These became know as ANZACs and the pride they took in that name continues to this day.

On the morning of 25 April 1915, the ANZACs set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and an ally of Germany.

The ANZACs landed on Gallipoli and met fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. Their plan to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months.

At the end of 1915, the allied forces were evacuated. Both sides suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli and the events that followed had a profound impact on Australians at home. The 25th of April soon became the day on which Australians remember the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

The ANZACs were courageous and although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy.

ANZAC Day remembrance takes two forms. Commemorative services are held at dawn – the time of the original landing in Gallipoli– across the nation. Later in the day, ex-servicemen and women meet to take part in marches through the major cities and in many smaller centres. Commemorative ceremonies are more formal and are held at war memorials around the country.

A Snap

All snaps that I use in the themes will be photos that I myself have taken. At first, Thea (and I) thought that might be a problem for me since I have never been to Australia so therefore I have never taken part in any ANZAC Day services or seen an ANZAC Day parade. A friend did send me ANZAC biscuits* (cookies) a while ago, but they are long gone. But I only needed to turn to a place where I have taken more pictures than anywhere else - Walt Disney World, and the yearly International Food and Wine Festival held in EPCOT. While Australia does not have a permanent World Showcase pavilion in EPCOT, it does participate in the Food and Wine Festival. Since the ANZAC's were fighting for their homeland, here is my snap of some of those places they were fighting for.

A Set

The set was a bit easier, as I could create that in Photoshop and Illustrator using images from my own collection of graphics and those that I was able to grab from the web. 

A Song

Though not technically a song as you would think of one, Corporal Matthew Creek of the Royal Military College Band plays The Last Post at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. The Last Post is one of a number of bugle calls in military tradition that mark the phases of the day. In military tradition, the Last Post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day's activities. It is also sounded at military funerals to indicate that the soldier has gone to his final rest and at commemorative services such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day.

And finally I would like to end this week's Snap, Set and Song with something to put it all in perspective for today's Australia.

* The ANZAC Biscuit
During World War One, the friends and families of soldiers and community groups sent food to the fighting men. Due to the time delays in getting food items to the front lines, they had to send food that would remain edible, without refrigeration, for long periods of time that retained high nutritional value; the ANZAC biscuit met this need.

Although there are variations, the basic ingredients are: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda, and boiling water.

The biscuit was first known as the Soldiers’ Biscuit. The current name, ANZAC Biscuit, has as much to do with Australia’s desire to recognize the ANZAC tradition and the ANZAC biscuit as part of the staple diet at Gallipoli.

The ANZAC biscuit is one of the few commodities that are able to be legally marketed in Australia using the word ‘ANZAC’, which is protected by Federal Legislation.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


My friend Thea has come up with a weekly creative challenge that she calls, "A Snap, A Set, and a Song." All "snaps" will be my own. Thea's "set" refers to fashion, but after 17 years in the women's fashion industry, I will mostly take it in a different direction (though I am not discounting ever using a fashion theme). Today will be my first participation.

The theme this week is Country, and while I know she had a different meaning from that which I am presenting here, I hope you enjoy it.

If you would like to participate, either this week or in the future, visit her at

First the snap

Next - the set

I was originally just going to do a snap and a song, but what topic leaves itself open for a set better than this? Our name says it - we are a united set of 50 sometimes similar/often not states.

Then the song

Although in 1931 The Star Spangled Banner officially became the National Anthem of the United States, prior to that "America" was widely accepted and sung as the anthem. I went to school in the 1950's and 1960's and rather than The Star Spangled Banner, we were still singing America each morning along with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. (You will notice that the melody was borrowed from another country to which we used to have a connection.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why I Am Not Excited About Disney World

In three days, my wife and I leave for a trip to Walt Disney World (WDW). For most people that would be an event that would be filling their thoughts almost completely by this time, but that isn't the case here and I will tell you why.

I can remember full well when getting on an airplane and flying to WDW would be just about as exciting as it can get. Especially exciting were the days when my kids were young and going to WDW was a new experience for them. I can still remember walking up to the ticket booth to buy the tickets before we took the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom. How much more exciting could it get than standing in front (back?) of the Main Street train station and seeing the Mickey Mouse head in the lawn? Or walking under the station and into the park itself and looking down Main Street to see Cinderella's Castle? The excitement lasted all day. Everywhere we looked there was something that we absolutely could not wait to do!

However, since that time, much has happened, and now, three days before heading back there, that is not what excites me about heading to WDW. I don't feel the same thrill as I enter any of the Disney World theme parks these days.

Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to this trip to WDW as much as any in the past, but going to the parks and riding the attractions is not the only or even the main event. So why am I happy to be going down there now? Let me list some reasons.

1) First and foremost - and the reason we go so often these days - is to see and spend time with my daughter and son-in-law. It's been almost 12 years now since she moved to Central Florida, and I look forward to every opportunity I get to spend with her and her husband.

2) It's always good to get away from home. Any time there is a change in routine and a chance to enjoy being somewhere else, it's a good thing, right?

3) I have recently gotten back into my old photography mindset, and there is always something to photograph at WDW. Right now the International Flower and Garden Festival is happening in EPCOT and I certainly intend to explore the possibilities there. The excitement of walking into the Magic Kingdom may no longer be what it was, but this is just as exciting to me at the moment. Also, the last trip down, I made my first serious attempt at taking pictures of fireworks. Though I got some nice shots at that time, there was a lot I learned from that experience and want to try some new things this trip.  (You can see some of the pictures I have taken at WDW in the past both on my photo-blog and my Disney blog.)

4) My wife and I always enjoy spending time in WDW. Before you start thinking that just because the same excitement I had at one time for being at WDW isn't there these days that I don't fully enjoy being there, let me tell you that isn't true. As I have been saying for a while now, while the "I am in Disney World!!!!" excitement isn't present, there is a feeling of comfort and "I am home again" each time we visit now. Because of this - and our frequent visits - we can visit without the sense of urgency we might have had when it was all new to us and we needed to see as much as possible in the time we had. The days of commando visits are long behind us (except for when we are hosting someone who has never been to WDW before) and we can now actually take it slow. If we only see a few things on any given day, it is not a problem as we have seen it/done it before and will be able to see it/do it again in the near future.

So while the excitement of a trip to WDW might not be what most people would experience, we are most definitely looking forward to an enjoyable week in one of our favorite destinations. (And yes, there will be pictures!)