Victory Starts Here!

The second day of our long drive home we were on the road at 7:30 and as we left Charlotte South Carolina I noticed a large billboard. It was advertising an army training program at Fort Jackson. There was a young African American soldier in battle fatigues crawling along in the mud, presumably in a battlefield exercise, and in large yellow letters the words Victory Starts Here. 

Driving for nine to ten hours gives you lots of time to think. My mind began to wander and wonder about that billboard. One of my thoughts was that a young African American in today’s army would not be part of the cavalry. Horses are gone from the army. Gone are the days  of the Buffalo Soldiers. These were the African American soldiers who were members of the 10th Cavalry regiment that was formed in  1866 and their duty was to protect the settlers on the Western Frontier and battle the Native Americans who gave them the name “Buffalo Soldiers”.  The last of the Buffalo Soldiers, Mark Matthews, died in 2005 aged 111 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

I went on thinking…..what did it mean “victory starts here”?  Was this victory over some external threat? Since the radio was reporting a missile strike on Syria external threats were uppermost in my mind. But it says “starts here.”  Here in the USA?  What would the victories be in the USA?

I left that train of thought and reminded myself that although the 10th Cavalry was no longer  on horses there were horses involved with the Special Forces in Afghanistan. In October 2001, American Special Forces took part in a daring charge on a Taliban stronghold . 1,500 cavalrymen galloped toward the village of Bishqab. This has been commemorated with a larger than life size statue at the foot of One World Trade Center, of an American Green Beret mounted on a tough Afghan pony.

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I always smile to think that this is how those soldiers are honored. Not with a tank, or other conveyance of war, but with a soldier mounted on a horse!

The road went on. North through South  Carolina. It was a lovely sunny and warm day.

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After lunch it was West Virginia. My husband is driving the white truck, with bicycle mounted on it, in front of me in this photo. If I am the leader he says I drive too fast so I follow.

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Then later in the afternoon Pennsylvania. Here it was still very warm but there were few signs of spring.

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On our final day we left Pittsburgh and headed across the border, at Buffalo NY, to Canada. “Our home and native land” as our anthem says.  And this was where winter returned. Sleet, snow, freezing rain and icy slush.  We had to slow down for the conga line of de-icers. We didn’t mind. It was April 15 but in Canada we are always ready for the worst winter weather.

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We made it safely home! The next morning I awoke and looked out to see this….

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Rusty, the dog sculpture, was standing guard in an icy landscape. The freezing rain had coated everything in ice. Beautiful to look at but let’s face it…..not what I wanted to see in mid-April.  However it is always good to be home. And we Canadians…we are not defeated by winter weather. Victory over winter weather starts here!!

24 Comments Add yours

  1. ProfTomBot says:

    I was just recently marveling at the calvary of the Civil War as well as ancients, such as Rome and Genghis. Cool article! Ride on, write on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Many thanks Prof Tom!

      Like

  2. athling2001 says:

    Glad you made it home safely. It is hard in this modern world to understand what constitutes a victory. There are so many instances which we call victories, but are they? Or are we seeing the forest and forgetting the trees?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Hmmm….. that is a very interesting question. That billboard certainly got me thinking about what victory meant and who or what is the victor and who or what is the vanquished. Thank you for this comment. It has inspired me to think further.

      Like

  3. Emma Cownie says:

    I am so impressed that you and your husband has driven so far. Spring obviously take a bit longer to reach Canada!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is a long drive and it never seems to get shorter. This snowy spring is NOT normal. We have been returning at this time of year for the past 10 years and usually spring has started with the crocus up and going and things sprouting. This year is is a frozen land with at least four to five inches of snow on the ground at our house. Ugh! however next week it is forecast to be a bit warmer!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        That’s interesting. Its been very cold in the UK for a very long time. Spring is about 3 weeks late. We finally have some sunny and warm weather but I don’t think it will last long.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. sandyjwhite says:

    Glad you arrived home safely!

    Like

  5. Victory starts here—in my mind, emotions, actions, love, kindness…….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes. I could not agree more. Empathy. Compassion . Mercy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. shiarrael says:

    Happy you made it home safe and sound! But brrrrr, this must feel chilly after Florida (I know dear mother – who sits under a pile of blankets roughly 300 miles northeast from where you crossed the border – is already using a great many bad words about winter not wanting to take a hike this year…).
    I almost feel bad, what with spring finally having hit Germany with a vengeance this week. Almost 😋

    I always thought the statue is awesome, too. But if you think about it, a fierce little pony has so much more style than a tank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes the pony is much more interesting than a metal machine. And as for this endless winter…..no further comment necessary from me!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Gymah says:

    Welcome home!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I find it interesting to see a modern weapon of war alongside an ‘ancient’ form of transport in a 21st century war memorial…
    The Spirit of the Horse lives on…
    Welcome home!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I agree it is a very interesting combination. Apparently the stance of the horse and rider is very similar to a famous painting of Napoleon on his horse. Thanks for your comment and the welcome back!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So glad you made it home safely – please give Biasini a big pat from us all! ☺💖 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Cyranny says:

    Welcome back home, Anne! We kept a little Winter, just for you 😛 Mouahahahahahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you, thank you! You really are too kind! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cyranny says:

        I know… I figured you’d appreciate the little attention… LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow. Those pictures are so beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Vikram. I’m glad you liked them.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Frank Prem says:

    Welcome home, Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

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