Monday, May 28, 2018

Sacred Ground

By Bixyl Shuftan

Memorial Day is often thought of as the unofficial start of summer, and to some it mainly means a three day weekend with barbecues and maybe a trip to a park for a picnic. But what it really is, it's the holiday in which Americans honor it's military men who perished in service to their country. Veterans Day, which honors all servicemen living and deceased, is several months later on November 11. The day is often observed by people visiting cemeteries, ceremonies and parades. In Second Life, there have been numerous memorials over time to fallen servicemen. In the past, there was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Currently there are numerous memorials, among the more noted the USS Arizona Memorial. Recently, I stopped by a place that had a number, Sacred Ground in the Urban Style sim.

Dropping by it's main location at Urban Style (23/192/22), one is given a notecard explaining the purpose of the sim.

Welcome to Sacred Ground. A dedicated place to Honor Our Fallen and to keep there Memories Alive. To pay respects to there families. We shall never forget them.

"So why do I build memorials?" Biker Sharkfin stated, "It's simple. It's a great way to teach people what the cost of freedom is. And to show the families of fallen warriors that their families' sacrifices aren't forgotten. The process of researching and building these memorials has provided me with a mission, a tasking, to ensure that the memories of our fallen will always be remembered and talked about, keeping the memories alive."

Beside the entrance was a display showing the fallen of several recent conflicts in which the pictures kept changing. Across the path in front was a part area, Veterans Memorial Park.

"This park is dedicated to the men and women veterans who served our country during war and peace, past, present, and future. Preserving life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness across the world.

Going around, there were a number of paths leading to various memorials.

 The Gulf War in 1991 was America's first major military conflict after Vietnam. It was brief, but casualties did occur. And with the invader still in power, some wondered if we truly won.

 The Iraq War a little over a decade later succeeded in toppling the dictator whom caused the trouble earlier. But while the initial invasion was quick, dealing with his supporters and other terrorists proved long and costly. And the end of the war did not bring peace to the country.

The Afghan War is one that started in 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York and Arlington. It continues to this day.

The Vietnam War is something most Second Life residents know from history books and the accounts of those who fought, though it's shadow remained large. Despite the deaths of over 58,000 servicemen, a much larger number than more recent conflicts, the pro-American country we supported collapsed and was taken over by a Communist state, Communists also taking over two neighbors. In contrast to wars past and present, soldiers returning home were often greeted not as heroes but spat upon and branded "baby killers." For those who fought for years in the jungles, often seeing friends die, coming home to a "welcome" like that was not easily forgotten.

A small wall of memorial stones of Vietnam veterans.

Some American servicemen spent years in captivity during the Vietnam War. And some never did come home, their fates unknown.

The Korean War is sometimes called "The Forgotten War" in America as it happened just after WW2, ended in an armistice rather than a total victory, and was soon overshadowed by Vietnam. Over 33,000 Americans would die (the plaque at Sacred round read over 54,000).

World War Two was the planet's greatest conflict. America's entry two years into the fight after it was attacked would eventually mean victory for the Allies and the defeat of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Japanese Empire's plans of conquests. But it would take years of fighting and over 400,000 dead.

There was a wall of memorial stones for a number of WW2 veterans.

World War One, or "The Great War" as it was known then, happened a century ago, and the last American veteran of the conflict passed away several years ago, marking it's passing from our living military history. Over 116,000 American servicemen died in the conflict (the memorial here says 126,000), from Influenza as well as enemy bullets. Although the Allies were victorious, it would not be "The War to End All Wars" as was hoped.

Even in world history, the American Civil War stands out with the sheer number of soldiers who took part, and the massive numbers of deaths. It was the largest conflict in the Western world between the Napoleonic Wars and World War One. Union victory would keep the nation together, but resentment in the South would last for generations. Over 600,000 soldiers on both sides would die on the battlefield, and wounds and disease. This in a nation that had a tenth of the population it does today.

There were other memorials around, this one being to Chris Kyle.

In the back of the park was a larger memorial area. There were free flags and a shirt one could pick up.

The place was beautifully done, with a wide fountain area.

There was a track, the "Highway of Heroes" that led upward to several more spots.

There were a few bikers around who were open to me riding up with them, though saw I was interested in looking around the memorials.

Among the places higher up in the sim was the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater.

 Sacred Grounds' Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The honor guard.

The Arlington Cemetery area

Final March

Wheels go around in silence
On the black caison a hero lay
Horse hooves click on cold asphalt
A hero's final march is held today
To their final rest silently they go
A great sacrifice they have made
Amongst other heroes just like them
To their final rest they will be laid
The flag covered coffin is their cover
In honor to this spot they are brought
From a lone bugler along on a knoll
The sound of tays is caught
The march is over as here they lay
In this country's hallowed ground
A blanket of green covers them now
Forever protected from wars erie sound

Tall Mountain Dreamer, December 18, 2009

The Vietnam Memorial Park, right beside the Highway of Heroes.

There were about 4800 photos of soldiers who perished in Vietnam at the memorial. A huge number, but less than a tenth of the total number of American dead.

The WW2 Freedom Wall

Each of the stars represents a hundred American servicemen killed in the global conflict.

The All Wars Memorial

 The memorial gives a brief descriptions of the conflicts we've been in, going back to Colonial times.

 There was a memorial to Captain Jeff Kuss.

One memorial was to the murdered at the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001.

There are other places on the sim that I hadn't gone to, such as the Tailhook Club where events are sometimes held.

Since the American Revolution, over 1,300,000 soldiers, sailors, pilots, and other servicemen gave their lives for the country, a number that sadly promises to go up over time.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, May 18, 2018

Rebel Yell

By Gemma Cleanslate

Rebel Yell is a winner of 10 gold AviChoice awards among others. The entertainment group is one of the oldest and largest tribute groups in Second Life. I have been to some of the shows in the past  and have written about their delightful winter sims over the years. There is now a new  region called Rebel Yell that opened with a grand party Sunday the 13th. It is a celebrities hangout. 

I visited last week before the opening to get the flavor of the sim. At the entrance you are able to rezz a bike if you like to ride over the bridge to a very fine restaurant, relax and have dinner on the open porches. The menu is extensive  from soup to nuts and champagne!

The island where the restaurant is located has paths for a nice walk about. I spotted several relaxing places along the way. Down on the beach there are many areas to hang out and talk. Or , grab a paddle boat for a ride on the river. I also tried a small motor boat. I found a tour boat also and took a ride in that. I came across a ping pong table that uses beer as a ball. It looked like fun! 

Above the entry area you have a choice of a full hot air balloon tour of the area and took that. The other choice is a fun ride up over the island with a handful of balloons carrying you . 

There are villas for rent on the sim so as you move around exploring be careful not to run into the ban lines of privacy protection .. especially while you are in a boat! 

I went back on Sunday to the opening party . This took place on an outdoor dance floor covered with tent like structure. Guiltyangel, an owner of the sim was greeting the party goers and Jamin Nakim-Lenoir(Stevie Edwyn ) , the DJ was providing lively dance  music for the crowd. 

It was a fun opening. Have fun on your visit. There are people taking advantage of the lovely sim all the time.
Gemma Cleanslate