good surf pics?
Send em off to me directly.
(See link below) Just make sure
they're 650-700 pixels wide.
NO bigger NO smaller.
In fact if you have any questions about the
size, email me first and I'll write back.
Start shooting crackie!!
Ralph Pic Of The Week
If you want to access the Pic of the
week from past weeks click here.
25th, 2008 MEMORIAL DAY
So here it is Memorial Day.
You all know what this day is all about. And it makes no difference of where you stand politically, we can all agree, that this day is set aside each year, to pay tribute and respect, to those brave Americans who have given their lives for our freedom and democracy. For our very right to surf.
Think of how many surfers have lost their lives in America's different wars and conflicts. From WWII to the current GWOT, surfers have served our country honorably, and some have paid the ultimate price in doing so. It's true. And what's even more significant, is how many surfers have had family members serve our country, who didn't necessarily surf, but clearly had family ties with our passion, for the ocean and her waves. I mean, each and everyone of us has family members who have served in the military.
Rare, is the family who did not.
Each Memorial Day I think of several friends who lost their lives while serving our country. I've mentioned one before, Joe Somogyi. He was a surfer from Hampton . Hell he was more than a surfer, he was a pioneer in discovering and naming many of the breaks we surf around here. He died of exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam war.
friend of mine was Brian Hubis. He was hands down the most athletic
person I ever knew. He could play any sport, and play it well, and he
was as intelligent as any college grad with a Masters degree. But more
importantly, he was the funniest person I ever met during that time.
I remember how strangely quiet he was that night.
Like he knew something that we didn't know. We were leaving for Marine Corps Bootcamp that summer. He told us to pay attention to our Drill Instructors. And that this war was no joke. He was killed by a sniper's bullet a few months later. My buddies and I in bootcamp, were freaked out.
How could they kill Brian Hubis?
It was a sobering week in Parris Island when we lost Brian. But honestly, when I think of all the friends I lost, there's one, who's story I'd like to share with you all.
Michael T. Guzzetti Jr was 18 yrs old when I met him.
We met during our advanced Infantry training in the Marine Corps. He was from the Boston area, and I was from the North Shore. In the military, that's close enough to be considered "Homeys". Guzzetti was my Homey. The first thing I noticed about Mike was, he didn't have a hair on his face. Seriously. He had a "baby face."
In fact, his face had fresh scars all over it, due to a severe car accident he had been in, a few months before, while home on leave. The Marines wanted to discharge him. But Mikey insisted on staying in the Corps. He could of been Honorably discharged, and no one would of thought any different or less of him. But beneath that baby face, was a true Patriot. A young man, who believed in something greater than his own self being.
Mikey was a Marine...
...and the Marines, unfortunately, are in the war business. And, as it turned out, during those times, business was good. Too good. Mikey was part of that. We all were. Like our fathers before us, we heard a calling, and took an oath to defend our country, and to preserve freedom and democracy all around this globe.
Mikey took that oath to heart.
He was getting stoked, with the help of my active imagination in my description, of what surfing was all about. I told him, that the girls would love him and he'd fit right in in Hampton. We laughed and joked about it all. In return, he would show me around the big city (Boston). I was as clearly lost in Big cities, as he was on the beach.
It seemed like a good trade off.
All we had to do, was survive the war. We made a pledge that we would be on the same "Freedom bird" that would take us home. And when we landed at Logan, we would go and visit his family and friends first, and then we would head north to the beaches, and meet my family and friends.
When we landed overseas we went through our initial indoctrination, and got our assigned units. Mikey got the 1st Marine Division down south, and I went north to the 3rd Marine Division. We said good bye to each other, before heading out on the trucks, that would take us to our units. I told him, I'd see him in one year, and he better be ready to go surfing when we got back. We both laughed. Nervously.
I remember thinking at how young he looked to me. Like he was 16yrs old. He looked like a scared kid. Which is what he was. We were all scared. Mostly of the not knowing.
One week later, while we were out on a "hump" in the bush, we were all taking a break in the blazing hot sun. I was still a FNG (F---king New Guy) and only knew a few of the guys who I came over with. So this rumor, or story, circulated through the ranks and got to me. "Did you hear about Guzzetti?" I heard someone say. "Wha..who? Did you say Guzzetti? Mike Guzzetti?"
"He got killed yesterday." Someone said.
"No way". I said. "No f--king way!" The dude who told me was this black guy named Nelson. "They got ambushed and Mikey caught an AK round. They couldn't save him. Wasn't he your friend?"
I don't think I cried. But I know I shut down. And I know I buried it for a long time, and refused to talk about it, or believe it for that matter. It was my way of dealing with it. If I didn't talk about it, maybe it didn't really happen. I was like an ostrich with my head in the sand. It didn't happen.
Fast forward to 1985. I was in Washington DC with my then girlfriend, and future wife, Cory and her father Jerry. We were at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. It was time to face the facts. I looked up several names of other friends of mine. But I was there for one name in particular. Mike Guzzetti. Seeing his name in the directory gave me a sick empty feeling. But seeing his name on that Black granite wall, brought it all back to me. It was true. Mikey was gone.
I guess I knew it it all along, and I was only fooling myself.
Memorial Day means a lot of different things to many people, but
to me, it's a time to reflect on how lucky we truly all are because of
the brave Americans like Brian, Joe, and Mikey
who were willing to sacrifice it all, for Freedom and Democracy. Since
WWII to the current GWOT, some 523,510 Americans have
given their lives for our country.
We owe each and every one of them, our most sincere respect and heartfelt thanks. And may we, never, ever, forget their sacrifices, and the sacrifices that their families and friends have endured.
my friends...Surfing heals all wounds....
February 23, 1945 the Flag Raising on Iwo Jima.
The Swells have stopped coming (for awhile). It's a good time to remember.
You can see my reflection as I took this photo. Mikey never got to go
surfing with me.
More WWII Memorial in Washington DC.
Steve Philbrick was the Captain of the WHS (Hampton) Football team...he
loved the beach too.
The GWOT monument in Hampton. Please remember all of our Nation's fallen.
2008 Parting Shot..."Salute The Fallen!"
People have asked me..."Why do you salute after certain rides?"
Well, truth be told, I salute all my