Clarence Bell and The Fellas

While having brunch  in downtown Pensacola, I was mesmerized  by the sultry sound of  Clarence Bell and The Fellasperforming at Five Sisters Blues Cafe. This was my first opportunity to see them perform live. They performed cover tunes by artist such as, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles, just to name a few. Clarence Bell once played back-up for Stevie Wonder. This group is a staple in the local jazz scene. The group consists of Clarence Bell, Tom Latenser, and Steve Ferry. Five Sisters is located at 421 W. Belmont St. Pensacola, FL.  Here are a few images  I captured of this great trio.

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The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C.

With the celebration of  Black History Month, this blog post features guest blogger Diane Jones Dillard.  During recent travels to our nation’s capital,  Diane shares her experience from a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial.

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Dr. King’s memorial is located in our nation’s capital in the West Potomac Park near the Tidal Basin in the greater National Mall. The official address in 1964 Independence Ave. SW commemorating the year that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law.

After 20 years of planning, fund raising and construction, it opened to the public on August 22, 2011, but the dedication ceremony was postponed until October 16, 2011 due to hurricane Irene.

The total cost of the memorial was nearly 120 million dollars.

The memorial consists of three main components. The Mountain of Despair is symbolized by two huge pieces of granite depicting a mountain with a pathway that visitors pass through to enter to The Stone of Hope which stands 30 feet tall with the likeness of Dr. King gazing out at the Tidal Basin. The Inscription Wall expands on each side of the Mountain of  Despair inscribed with 14 quotes from Dr, King’s speeches and writings. The memorial covers 4 acres all together.

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Over 400,000 people visit the MLK memorial each year

When I went to DC in October and visited the memorial for the first time, I wasn’t quite sure how I’d feel about it. After all there had been a lot of controversy about the choice of the sculpturer, Lei Yixin, an artist from The People’s Republic of China. Some say Dr. King’s features are slightly Asian to them. Others weren’t happy about how Dr. King is portrayed with folded arms and a stern  face.

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Dr. Maya Angelou wasn’t happy with the editing of the inscription on the side of the Stone of Hope regarding being ‘a drum major for justice’, which by the way is to be removed.   I had some reservations, however, they all vanished the moment I passed through the Mountain of Despair.

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A visitor reflects on the principles taught by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Now, as overwhelmed as I was last October on my first visit to the memorial, all those emotions were dwarfed by what I felt in January  when I visited the memorial during Inauguration weekend ! Just to be in Washington D.C. for this historic event in America was a once in a lifetime experience and for me, a blessing. There was a spirit of pride, jubilance, brotherhood, camaraderie, and hope that is indescribable. For the first African-American President of the United States of America to be sworn in for his second term on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday represents the hope that Dr. King dreamed about.

 

Diane Jones Dillard

 

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Diane Jones Dillard resides in Mary Esther, Florida. She is a mother (mine), grandmother, artist, and advocate for social change.  She is very active in her local community.  She is constantly seeking to elevate  awareness  through service and  the sharing of knowledge and information.  She also is quite the cook!

 

The Air Force Memorial

Twenty Years.  That is how long I served the great nation of the United States of America as a proud member of the United States Air Force. My wife is also an Air Force veteran.  She is still serving to day as a reservist.  I enlisted at the age of 17. My mother had to sign a permission slip in order for me to join. You could say I “grew up” in the military. Literally.

It’s only proper that while we were in the Nation’s Capital, we would visit the Air Force Memorial.

The Air Force Memorial is a national place of pride, reverence and remembrance located just outside the Nation’s Capital, in Arlington, Virginia. It is dedicated to the Men and Women of the United States Air Force and its Heritage Organizations. The Memorial was given to the nation during its formal dedication on October 14, 2006.

 

James Ingo Freed, one of America’s finest architects, gave the nation a design that truly honors the men and women of the Air Force. Featuring three stainless steel spires that soar skyward, the tallest reaching a height of 270 feet, the Memorial’s design is truly representative of flight and the flying spirit of the Air Force. The three spires impart a sense of accomplishment in command of the sky, and evoke the image of the precision “bomb burst” maneuver performed by the United States Air Force Thunderbird Demonstration Team.The three spires also represent the three core values of the Air Force - integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that is done - and the Air Force’s total force - active, guard and reserve

The Memorial itself is 270 feet high and appears to be soaring; its array of arcs against the sky evokes a modern image of flight by jet and space vehicles. At the same time, it enshrines the past in permanent remembrance of the pioneers of flight who came before, and pays homage to those of the future.

THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE MEMORIAL HONORS THE SERVICE AND sacrifices of the men and women of the United States Air Force and its predecessor organizations, including the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps; the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps; the Division of Military Aeronautics, Secretary of War; the Army Air Service; the U.S. Army Air Corps; and the U.S. Army Air Forces. More than 54,000 airmen have died in combat while serving in the Air Force and these historical service arms of the military, the second highest of any of America’s four armed services.

James Ingo Freed, one of America’s finest architects, gave the nation a design that truly honors the men and women of the Air Force. Featuring three stainless steel spires that soar skyward, the tallest reaching a height of 270 feet, the Memorial’s design is truly representative of flight and the flying spirit of the Air Force. The three spires impart a sense of accomplishment in command of the sky, and evoke the image of the precision “bomb burst” maneuver performed by the United States Air Force Thunderbird Demonstration Team. The three spires also represent the three core values of the Air Force – integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that is done – and the Air Force’s total force – active, guard and reserve.

 

 

The personal qualities that describe an Air Force hero today are no different that those qualities that epitomized the well-known flyers in conflicts over the past century. There are roughly 595,000 Americans currently serving in the United States Air Force who personify ingenuity, innovation, courage and sacrifice in the work they do to maintain the proud heritage of the Air Force.

The personal qualities that describe an Air Force hero today are no different that those qualities that epitomized the well-known flyers in conflicts over the past century. There are roughly 595,000 Americans currently serving in the United States Air Force who personify ingenuity, innovation, courage and sacrifice in the work they do to maintain the proud heritage of the Air Force.

Located on a promontory in Arlington, Virginia, overlooking the Pentagon and adjacent to Arlington Cemetery, the Air Force Memorial is easily seen on the skyline of Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia in Arlington county.

These are All the conflicts in which I served.

These are All the conflicts in which I served.

More than 54,000 American airmen have been killed in combat. They are among our finest Air Force Heroes, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices and for safeguarding American freedom

 

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The sense of pride that I have as a member  (now retired) of our Nation’s Air Force is tremendous. I count it a privilege .