Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

Army Day – April 6th

Army Day Army Day can be traced back to a little-known Defense Test Day, which was observed only twice: once in 1924 and once in 1925. Congress then disallowed any further observances of this day. In response, the Military Order of the World War under Colonel Thatcher Luquer established Army Day.  Army Day was first celebrated on May 1, 1928. That date was chosen in hopes of dampening Communists’ celebration of Workers’ Day, which also occurs on May 1.  But, starting in 1929, Army Day was changed to April 6, the anniversary date of the United States’ entry into World War I.

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Posted 6 years, 10 months ago at 5:59 am.

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The Last WW I Veteran

Another historic milestone was set in February when Mr. Frank Buckles, who served in WW I passed away at the age of 110.  He was the last WW I veteran and also was

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Posted 6 years, 11 months ago at 11:47 am.


Мерры Чристмас !

Or for those who cannot read Russian Cyrillic –


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Posted 8 years, 1 month ago at 10:03 pm.


A glorious 4th with the Big Guns of the Old Guard…



It all began on Summerall Field of Fort Myer. Four artillery pieces placed – The “Big Guns of the Old Guard” were ready to celebrate America’s birthday in a big way – The sun shone brightly on Saturday, July 4th reflecting off the highly polished WW II vintage 3” anti-tank guns of the Presidential Salute Battery. The battery looking sharp in their dress blue uniforms stood at the ready as the time approached for the ceremony to begin for a 50 Gun Salute to the United States of America.

Marched into position by the NCOIC, SFC Calvin Flinta, Platoon Sergeant, the Soldiers of the Battery waited as the seconds ticked off. When it was exactly noon, SGT Chris Johnson the Officer in Charge issued the command “Fire!” The first round echoed as the smoke billowed from the barrel and 5 seconds later, the watchman called the second gun to fire. Then every 3 seconds another gun called to fire until all 50 “Salutes to the Nation” were fired.

The crowd watching applauded vigorously as the last echoes of the salutes and smoke drifted off. The Soldiers of this elite unit then marched off and got ready for “part 2” of the day’s celebration. The guns were then packed up and US Park Police escorted the entire caravan down to the US Capitol. Again the four gun battery was placed in position, where later that night, the Guns Platoon provided accompaniment for the Washington Symphony Orchestra.

Marched into position by Platoon Leader – CPT Ronald K. Vinyard, the battery once again stood at the ready waiting for the signal to fire. As the colors of the fireworks were filling the sky over the Washington Monument, the orchestra played the 1812 Overture at the Capitol 4th with the Presidential Salute Battery providing the appropriate gun salutes. The final salute was all four guns firing simultaneously.

Photos by John Michael

Happy Birthday America!
This article also appears
the 10 JUL 2009 issue
“The Pentagram”
with one of the photographs.

Posted 8 years, 7 months ago at 2:37 am.

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Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln….

Happy Birthday Mr. President… We need you. We’ve gotten ourselves into a mess that right now seems that it gets worse every day. The Union you fought hard to save and hold together is strong, but the people, the people are hurting. It’s not the same conditions when you were “Commander-in-Chief”

They’ve even stopped celebrating your birthday.

It used to be that your birthday was well respected for the legacy that you left behind. One Union that got even stronger over time. Somehow, they forgot those lessons and things. Now they have “Presidents’ Day” which always falls on a Monday, but instead of honoring you, they have these SALES.

America has become a land of “things” rather than respect the heritage upon which it was built. I’m sure you could have thrown up your hands and let things crumble. They didn’t have the Gallop poll to tell you how you were doing, you just knew what to do without all that feedback.

Seems that the ones in that Capitol building are bickering about how to fix things. I don’t believe they do know what they’re doing. Perhaps they’ll listen to you.

I want you to come back. I’ve baked a cake for your birthday… Come blow out the candles and have a slice of cake and then we’ll get down to work!


Posted 9 years ago at 5:11 am.

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Thoughts on the inauguration…

I have been photographing the Presidential Salute Battery for over 18 months since they truly are an awesome team of soldiers who are a “symphony in motion” when they execute their missions and fire their M5 – WWII vintage anti-tank guns in honor of The President, Marking the arrival of a dignatary for a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery, final honors for either an General or Admiral.

So far I’ve accompanied them as my schedule permits, wherever they’ve gone. I would like to capture their work down near the Capitol on “the DAY” – it seems it’s not in the cards. Perhaps next time.


Posted 9 years, 1 month ago at 7:50 am.

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Never Falter – THE OLD GUARD’s 60th…

The year was 1948, the United States was getting back to a world that was free of war and Harry Truman was President…

One of the great events that occurred that year in April of 1948, the 3d Infantry Regiment was reconstituted. Designated to protect and defend Washington, DC as the tactical side, the regiment’s other duties included the ceremonial support for the workings of Washington, DC and final honor support at Arlington National Cemetery.

Last week, The Old Guard Association held it’s 11th annual reunion, bringing together those who served with honor from the past 60 years.

They never falter… they always execute their missions as perfect as can be…


Posted 9 years, 4 months ago at 6:20 am.

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A Glorious 4th of July… at the US Capitol!

What a treat! Despite some continued periods of liquid sunshine, the remainder of the 4th of July, 2008 was just great – no it was


It had been several years since I made the pilgrimage to the National Mall to see the great fireworks display in concert with the ongoing Smithsonian Folklife Festival that is held every year the days surrounding the 4th of July.

Earlier in the day I had arrived on Fort Meyer VA to watch and then I photographed the 50 Gun Salute to the United States that was orchestrated and delivered by the Presidential Salute Battery – the BIG GUNS of the Old Guard – 3d Infantry Regiment of the US Army. After the tribute, the guns were then secured and attached once again to their respective trucks as part of the convoy that would head down to the National Mall.

As we waited in the convoy, two US Park Police cruisers arrived to then escort the “elite” convoy from Fort Meyer downtown Washington DC to the steps of the US Capitol bulding. It was an exciting trip as the cruiser pictured below ran constant interference with siren blaring and lights flashing (seems many try to ignore the movement of a special group, but the officer in the US Park Police cruiser did outstanding work that kept all on the bus focused on how expertly he “STOPPED TRAFFIC” and kept us moving!)

Arriving at the US Capitol, the soldiers immediately got to work setting up, positioning and cleaning their guns …. as nitefall approached, they donned their dress blue uniforms and prepared to accompany the Washington Symphony Orchestra with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. The firework show began simultaneously as the roar and flare of the cannons resounded on the Nation’s Mall …

Happy Birthday America!


Posted 9 years, 7 months ago at 2:07 pm.

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