On Monday night, Cory and I went to bed after enjoying a nice Presidents Day at home. We watched the WASHINGTON series on the HISTORY channel (it's really good if you haven't seen it.) shut off the lights, told each other "I love You" as we do every night, and went to sleep.
At 1:30 in the morning, we were awoken to the sound of what we thought were smoke detectors. We were both slow to rise, and we were a little groggy, we also slight headaches, and our throats were sore. Our dog Patch came running in the room and was clearly agitated, along with our cat Linus.
We were confused. And we couldn't locate the detector at first.
But we kept looking. Turns out the detector was in the closet between the kitchen and the living room. Once Cory found it she said to me. "It's the Carbon Monoxide detector!" I was really confused. "What? Where?" The reading was rapidly climbing. Cory then said "We're supposed to call the Fire department if this happens." With the numbers rising, I made the call.
At first I felt embarrassed by it. The last thing I want to do is trouble the HFD.
I even said to the dispatcher "It's probably nothing, but, our Carbon Monoxide detector is going off. The dispatcher was very good and even said "I can hear the detector. I'm sending them down." The Hampton Fire Department (HFD) were here in a flash. Along with Hampton Police Department. It was surreal to see fire engines and police cruisers out in front of our home.
The HFD were actually getting strong readings from the street.
By the time they walked in the front door,
the numbers were rising even more. And when they went downstairs to where the furnace located, the numbers were going crazy. Long story short, the furnace was blocked. Captain Dave Massett told us had we not had the detector? Things could have gone south really quickly.
This was serious stuff. Carbon Monoxide is no joke.
They call it the "Silent Killer." There is no odor. You can't see it. If undetected, it can, and will kill you. That was a troubling and shocking realization.
Good lord. I remember a good friend's mother died in a Carbon Monoxide poisoning accident in a cabin in Maine. I guess it happens all the time.
The bottom line is, the detector saved our lives, and our pets lives too. We had minor headaches and our throats were sore. But we’re alive.
The thought of our family and friends having to deal with both Cory and I
being suddenly taken away? That's inconceivable. So please, take this as a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT. Make sure you have properly
working Carbon Monoxide detectors, and smoke detectors in your home. If you don’t have them, GET THEM NOW! And while you're at it, get more than one. Get several, and check the batteries frequently. If this could happen to me, it could easily happen to you too. This is no joke. Get them today!
Whew! Looks like I dodged another bullet.
Speaking of bullets. Today February 23rd, 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the famous Flag raising by US MARINES on Mt Suribachi during the battle on the island of Iwo Jima, in the South Pacific in WWII. February 2rd, 1945 the Marines raised the flag on top of Mt Suribachi to help motivate the Marines still fighting on the island. It was the 5th straight day of intense fighting, and the commanding officers wanted a morale booster to help those Marines who were fighting and dying, to a much needed victory in WWII.
Simply put, raising that large American Flag would boost their morale.
They needed Iwo Jima, and the airstrip, to help launch planes to bomb the mainland of Japan. The war was taking a toll on both sides. It was crucial to take Iwo, and the Japanese knew that. The Japanese fought almost to the last man. They refused to surrender.
The Marines lost 6,782 men Killed In action with some 20,000 wounded.
The Japanese lost over 18,000 killed. It was one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. Starting on February 19th, 1945 and ending on March 26th, 1945.
But this photo (below)? This photo ended up being the most iconic of all the millions of photos taken during WWII. Joe Rosenthal took the the photo. He would eventually win the Pulitzer Prize for this dramatic photo. Incredible.
It was this photo, that changed my life forever. I first saw it as a young boy.
I can remember thumbing through one of my father's black and white books on World War II when I came upon this photo. It hit me hard. I had no idea who these men were. In fact, I wasn't even aware that they were Marines. I just saw something powerful in this photo. Something deeper than I could ever imagine as a young boy.
I would stare at this photo for long periods of time.
I would eventually learn that they were Marines. And I guess I knew deep down inside that I would become a Marine one day. All because of this photo.
My father was a WWII veteran who fought in the South Pacific. My uncle Bruno was at Iwo Jima, and I knew several other WWII veterans who were there. I would listen to their stories and look at their old B&W photographs. I was fascinated by these little snippets of history that was being told to me, by the men who were there. You can't get that kind of education in a classroom.
The original Flag raisers were. Ira Hayes, *Rene Gagnon, *John Bradley, Mike Strank, Franklin Sousley, and Harlon Block. The last three Strank, Sousley, and Block were killed days later after this photo was taken. The battle lasted over a month. I wonder if that knowledge of the three flag raisers being killed after this photo was taken would have had any kind of affect on me as a young boy? My guess is probably not. I knew the cost of war. I was aware of what war is all about. Men fight. Men die.
I was unaware that Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, and John Bradley were all pulled out of the fighting to return to the states to help promote the war effort by selling war bonds.
And the world was not aware that they had it all wrong.
Turns out that Bradley and Gagnon were not the original flag raisers. Bradley helped raise the first flag, and Gagnon was there at the site of the flag raising but did not participate. The two Marines who were omitted from the original photo were Harold Schultz and Harold "Pie" Keller. They both survived the war and returned home knowing that they were part of that original flag raising. But being humbled marine WWII vets they kept to themselves and came home to get married, raise a family and get back to work.
You'll recall that John Bradley JR wrote a book about the flag raising.
FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS was a best seller and also became a movie with the same title. Clint Eastwood directed the film. And though the book and the movie tells the story of the six flag raisers, it should not take away from what they all did on that island 75 years ago.
Every Marine and Navy Corpsman on Iwo Jima was hero. All heroes.
It's just sad that the two Marines who were part of that iconic image never got the recognition that the others did. That's life though isn't it. Life can be a kick in the teeth.
10 years ago on February 23rd, 2010, my dear late friend, and fellow Marine George Masten
and I traveled to Quantico VA the the USMC Museum. We stood in front of the exact Flag that was raised on Iwo Jima on the exact day 65 years earlier. It was a day, that I will never forget. In fact, I think we stayed in that room where the Flag is on display for over an hour. I felt compelled to take it all in. To see the original Flag that changed my life was an honor.
Here she is. We were not allowed to use a flash. I can't stress this enough to any Marine out there who has not been to the Marine Corps museum, you need to visit this sacred place. It is in a word, incredible. In fact, every American should visit the Marine Corps Museum.
The way they have this set up is so inspiring. With the Flag raisers in the foreground and the actual flag behind it. Powerful stuff.
Me and George posing in front of this piece of US History. George fought in both Korea and Vietnam. He was wounded in Vietnam in 1967 and retired
as a SSGT due to his wounds. He passed away in 2016. And there is not a single day that goes by that I don't think of him and miss him.
Semper Fi George.
Even the design of the museum has the iconic Flag Raising image included.
This Just In. ESM included two of my pics in the best of 20 for 2020.
It's always a nice feeling to be surprised by one's peers in the surf photo/video industry. But that's exactly what happened when I got tagged on social media by EASTERN SURF MAGAZINE alerting me that I was included in the 20 for 2020 photo gallery. They chose two of my pics. Humbled, surprised, and grateful. Thanks Mez and other photogs.
More in the sad news department. After 50 years on Boston radio, WAAF is shutting down. And with it goes longtime local Boston Music DJ Carmelita and her local show BAY STATE ROCK!
This is a huge loss for not only the radio listeners but the musicians who Carmelita helped promote for over 30 years. My bvands VINNY and SEMPER FI were featured on her show many times. I have an interview that we did on her show. It was another sign of the times. WAAF now joins WBCN and WFNX. It is a tue end of an era.
Look for Carmelita coming back to do some kind of a podcast. As soon as I know more I'll let you all know. RIP WAAF...
Now for something amusing. Every now and then I'll see a meme on social media that actually makes me smile and chuckle. This is one of them.
You have to be in your 60's to recognize this pic. Classic photoshop of one our the most incredible photos of our lifetime. Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald two days after Oswald killed JFK. This is why social media needs to exist. This is modern day mad Magazine stuff. Or National Lampoon. I love it.
"Surfing, Friends, Family, History, and Humor Heals All Wounds."
This is me in October of 2008. It was just me and Tony Berardini out there. And of course Ed was on the beach. I have a few favorite pics from this session.
Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
Now for Some Local, National and International News
This last debate? I'm not feeling good about next November. The dems are attacking each other, or in this case, Mike Bloomberg. Bernie is leading the pack. Can you imagine Bernie vs 45?
Presidential Geezers. We're doomed.
Bernie Sanders wins the Nevada Caucus. Grandpa Sanders is looking more and more like the Democratic Nominee. Ole Pappy Bernie is the GRANDFATHER of the left. Go figure.
Don Gavin is the GODFATHER of Boston Comedy and he currently has the Number 5 Comedy Record in the country. I've seen Don Gavin a few times and he is very funny. He's also a good friend and equally funny man of Jimmy Dunn. Now I ask you all. What else do you need to know? Buy this album.
Click on this ad image and buy DON GAVIN'S new album.
Hey we all need to laugh.
ESM (Eastern Surf Magazine) using a READY MAG format did the Best of Ralph's Pic. And while they couldn't possibly use everything thing I've ever done, they did manage to put up some 50 pics of mine, plus two videos. And I was truly humbled by their intro. Mez said some nice things about me. CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE THE WHOLE Spread.
COMING FATHER'S DAY 2020.
Look "FOR LOVE AND WAVES" sometime in the near future. It will be an all original soundtrack. And this all original concept of couples who surf will be fun. Married couples. Single couples. Gay couples.
Lovers who surf together. From SURF FREE OR DIE and RALPH'S PIC OF THE WEEK.
The TRAILER was posted on Valentines Day
February 14th, 2020. Get the significance?
The DVD's are available at all the local surf shops. Or by
sending me an email. email@example.com or send a check for $20.00 made out to ADLANTIC and send it here:
c/o OC Studio Suites
703 Ocean Blvd Suite C-4
Hampton, NH 03842
Or RENT or BUY it Online. You have spoken and I have listened. You don't have a DVD player so I made it available Online. Watch it on your Smart TV, your computer, or your cellphone! I can't make this any easier my friends.
GRANITE GIRLS and The RIVER WOMEN from Ralph's Pic Of The Week on Vimeo.
NOW AVAILABLE on VIMEO ON DEMAND.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
What the ever loving hell is going on here? The Russians are trying to help Bernie get the nomination? And now KSM is in the mix? Khaliddy don't go meddling in our politics. WTF? First the Ruskies and now Al Qeada? Stay tuned my friends.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of "Russian Vodka
at Home Depot this week.
Each winter I run these promos form our friends in the mountains. LOON, CRANMORE, and PAT'S PEAK. Just click on these logos below to see what's happening up north.
New England's Most Accessible Resort
EXIT 32 off of 1-93
North Conway's Family Mountain
Located in North Conway, NH
Voted # 1 Ski Town in the country by USA Today
Southern New Hampshire's Family Friendly Mountain
Close To Home!
HAPPY 64th BIRTHDAY Lenny Nichols!
HAPPY 41st Anniversary John and Judith Rastl!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jesse QWILL February 17th, 2020!
HEAL QUICKLY Jacko Keefe and Johnny Meehan!
REST IN PEACE Comet Fatello February 3rd, 2020.
REST IN PEACE John Holman February 11th, 2020 age 91.
REST IN PEACE WAAF Radio.
PLEASE Keep longtime NH Surfer Greg Smith in your Prayers.
Lenny Nichols & Colin Madden
Co-Directors, NNE District
Eastern Surfing Association
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to
Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 13 years.
** BUY a HIGH RES Photo
from any of the weeks on RPOTW.
my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.