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Hell On Earth For Single People Christmas Day Editorial

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Single people can “survive” Christmas Day

 

Hell On Earth

for

Single People

Christmas Day

Christmas Bazaar in Tacloban City 2012 Nikon D 70 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr 005_resized

 

Shop ! Shop ! Shop !

Shop Until You Drop !

 

Grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles are in the front lines of the annual shopping campaign to buy presents for the kids to open on Christmas Day. This Christmas Bazaar in Tacloban City in Leyte, Republic of the Philippines offers a variety of merchandise for the Christmas shopper. A single man or a single woman can enjoy Christmas shopping because it is the time of year when you buy yourself that item that you have wanted all year long.  Merry Christmas !Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you not married and Christmas Day is approaching, then, this story is for you.

 

Single people have to work hard to survive all the brouhaha of the Christmas Season. The purpose of this story is to help you make it through “The Holidays” sane.

 

Single man and single woman, look at the calendar. If it is only a couple of days until Christmas, you might want to consider Grocery Shopping.”

Single or married, in the United States, “The Holidays”, i.e., Thanksgiving and Christmas are “Food Days.” Time to Feast !

 

CHRISTMAS STAR LOGO PHOTO THUMBNAIL TWOCommon sense, of course, reminds you, if you have health issues, then, you should obey the medical advice that you are paying for.

 

Regardless, of what anyone tells you, “Christmas is a holiday for kids.”

 

Kids love Christmas. They should – everyone else worries about Christmas Day, on their behalf.

 

Christmas Day evolved into a religious holiday.

 

In the 20th Century, the overwhelming marketing, advertising and publicity campaigns have turned Christmas Day into the “Ultimate Gift Day.”

 

The major problem with Christmas Day is the “Insane Emphasis Of Buying Gifts To Celebrate The One Day.”

 

Married people focus on buying Christmas presents for their kids.

 

Single people are the “fatalities” of global society on Christmas Day. In the commercial and religious “hype” that leads up to Christmas Day, single people are essentially “non-people.”

 

On Christmas Day, a single man or a single woman is, “A Ghost In Your Own Life.” People see you and they shrug you off because. . .perhaps, married people really believe “single people” can’t relate to Christmas.

 

I have had more than my fair share of “Single Christmas Days.”

 

Each “Single Christmas Day” was “Hell On Earth.”

 

The Global Psychology Of Christmas

 

The Global Psychology Of Christmas is that it is suppose to be a time of happiness, The amount of movies, television shows, advertising, marketing, publicity, including radio broadcasting to newspapers and magazines can leave you “trapped” in “A World At Christmas.”

 

I grew up a secular person, so the religious emphasis of the holiday can only add to your frustration.

 

If you don’t like a politician, then, it is annoying every time you turn on the TV, if someone is extolling the virtues of that politician. The Christmas Season can be like watching the same political ad over and over from Thanksgiving Day through “The Old Christmas” holiday, which ends after the first week of January.

 

In my life, I discovered the complete annual Global Psychology Of Christmas can create a massive sense of “loneliness” and “depression” in my life.

 

If this time of year is really getting to you, then, it is time to contact a medical professional and seek their help in helping you make it through the holidays.

 

Single And Proud

 

As a single man, for years, I worked various ideas through the years to try and survive the active 12 to 24 hours associated with Christmas Day.

 

First, regardless, what you believe about religion, you may as well admit: “Christmas Is A Holiday For Married People.”

 

Second, be who you are.

 

The Christmas Season seems to be a time when people intentionally or unintentionally “look down their noses at you for being single.” Do not allow anyone make you feel guilty about being single.

 

Newsflash !

 

Not everyone in the world wants to be married.

 

Not everyone in the world wants to have kids.

 

 

If you are one of the people, who do not want to be married or do not want to have kids, then, don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty.

 

You can express your opinion, but, be careful — the traditional global society policy comes down in favor of marriage and raising kids.

 

Expression of unpopular policies in public opens you to criticism from family, friends and all types of people with their own personal agenda.

 

Working Christmas Day ?

 

In my single years in college and the military, I discovered that the Christmas Season is a wonderful time for single people to get “dumped on.”

 

If you are single, on the job, bosses will usually just assume that you will be ready to work Christmas Day. The same overall mindset seems to be a reality in the military.

 

If you don’t want to get “stuck” working Christmas Day, then, around December 1, make it a point to find a polite way to tell your boss, “I don’t want to work Christmas Day.”

 

You may not get your wish, but, at least, you have politely reminded your superiors not to “assume” that just because you are “single” that you don’t have plans for the holidays.

 

Plan To “Survive” Christmas Day

 

As a single man in college I didn’t mind working Christmas Day because it helped the day to pass.

 

In the military, I would get tasked sometimes to work Christmas Day, again, it helped to get the day over with quickly.

 

If you are “single” on Christmas Day, have a plan to survive the day.

 

Christmas Dinner

 

First, if you get invited to Christmas Dinner at someone’s home accept the invitation.

 

Never turn down a FREE Meal.

The social surroundings in a friend’s home will help the day to pass quicker.

 

The holiday decorations, kids and people provided the surroundings of “family” to my cynical, skeptical, jaded young “single mind.”

 

Even in The Real World sometimes it seems it is important for “the mind” to be able to “role play” some situations in life.

 

If you don’t have “a family” on Christmas Day, then, I found it helps to find “a family-type situation” that will “ do the ‘stand-in’ in your mind long enough to make a single person feel like part of a family.”

 

The Thanksgiving Memory

 

Although my “Stand-In Family Day” was a Thanksgiving celebration, it worked for me.

 

At The School Of The Ozarks, I had made the “bad choice” not to “go home” for Thanksgiving.

 

I got an invitation to the home of Robert Anderson, the S of O Librarian. It was a “Norman Rockwell setting.” There was family. There was warmth. There was plenty of delicious food.

 

A Hollywood director could not have arranged “A More American Christmas Setting.” It was perfect. The beauty is it was honest. These were real people in their home on Thanksgiving celebrating the holiday with their family.

 

After dinner, the men in the family did the traditional “American male custom” of going into the living room and watching the football bowl games on TV.

 

Whenever I become cynical or skeptical in life about family holidays, I remember “The Robert Anderson Family Thanksgiving” and I realize sometimes people in a family can enjoy the company of family members during a family holiday.

 

The day helped me to remember how much I was missing my traditional Thanksgiving celebration at Grandma DeLong’s and Uncle Richard’s.

 

I have always been grateful for having had this opportunity to share the Robert Anderson Family Thanksgiving.

 

The Thanksgiving Memory always reminded me whenever I had a chance, “Never, ever willingly ignore your family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration.”

 

After that Thanksgiving, every time I had the opportunity to “Go Home” for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I was on the first airplane or bus headed “Home For The Holidays.”

 

Whatever happened to what-is-his-name . . .?

 

Colleagues and friends will always have plans for Christmas Day. If you are single, then, you will be “alone” Christmas Day unless you have a definite agreement with a friend that they will show up Christmas Day to help you celebrate . . .or survive. . .the day.

 

Play Catch Up

 

Third, Christmas Day is a wonderful day to do all the things you put on the back burner all year long. Plan to do those house or apartment chores that you have put off all year long.

 

Shop Early For Your Menu

 

Fourth, I am a skinny person, but, I love food.

 

If you live in a rural or remote area, remember, a week or so before Christmas Day to “stock up” on TV dinners, microwave type meals and an assortment of snacks. Jot down your shopping list before you go to the grocery store.

 

Never shop for food on an empty stomach. Whenever I have shopped for food while I was “hungry”, I always bought too much food and paid more than I normally did for groceries.

 

Now, I have a candy bar or a sandwich before I go shopping for food and it helps to keep some green in my wallet at the checkout counter.

 

Being a skinny guy, I have never had to count calories. As a senior citizen, I am too old to worry about counting my calories. I have no problem “stocking up” on junk food.

 

Single people with health issues should pay attention to what kinds and types of food they buy and never forget to use your common sense.

 

Since Christmas Day is suppose to be a celebration, then, you might consider a “gift” to yourself by “buying” a type of food that you would normally decide was “too expensive.”

 

Enjoy Relaxing Activities

 

Christmas Day for a single person is the day that you read the books you haven’t had time to read. It is the day, that you watch the movies you didn’t get a chance to watch.

 

If you are not in the mood to celebrate Christmas, then, put the Christmas TV shows and Christmas movies on DVD aside until you have friends over that will watch the movies with you. If you watch the movies alone, then, there is a good chance the feelings of “loneliness” and “depression” will catch up with you.

 

For a single man or woman, Christmas Day can make you feel like “The Last Man On Planet Earth” and “The Last Woman On Planet Earth.”

 

The secret to being single and surviving Christmas Day is not to allow the feelings of loneliness and depression to overwhelm you.

 

I am no psychiatrist. I am telling you my experiences and what worked for me.

As a single man, it was always the “loneliness” and the “depression” that got to me on Christmas Day where I was alone in my dorm room in college, my barracks room in the military or an apartment that I lived in off base.

 

Christmas Day as a single man, for me, was always “depressing” because the world at large does such a global publicity number for the holiday that can start as early as November 1.

 

The Single G.I.’s Christmas

 

 

If you are a single American military man or woman, then, by all means plan on going to Christmas Dinner at the mess hall anywhere in the world.

 

The cooks, who are really “military chefs,” pull out all the stops and offer a feast that would be the envy of Henry the VIII.

 

Skinny man that I have always been – some of my best friends were Air Force cooks, who went out of their way on Christmas Day to provide a selection of food that makes a hungry G.I., eat until he or she simply can not eat another bite of food.

 

At Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas, Senior Airman Wayne Agee, a friend of mine was a cook at the chow hall. I considered Agee a chef.

 

People who cook meals for large institutions have a challenge to try and cook delicious food that meets the taste of everyone. The organizations are always aware that some people have health issues with items like salt, so cooking for large number of people without seasoning is a challenge.

 

Whenever Agee was one of the cooks at “Midnight Chow”, I would always go to midnight chow. If he was one of the cooks for Christmas Dinner at the chow hall, then, I was in the front of the line waiting for the mess hall to open.

 

You always remember “The Great Cooks” and “The Great Chefs.”

 

Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes are just some of the items that usually start off the traditional chow hall menu, which also usually included vanilla ice cream and chocolate or strawberry syrup.

 

If you get an invitation to Christmas Dinner at a chow hall on a US military base – accept the invitation. Your appetite will thank you for it.

 

If you get an invitation to Christmas Dinner at a chow hall on a US Air Force base – definitely, accept the invitation,and if at all possible, try to get a good place at the front of the line to wait for the doors to open.

 

The Dark Side Of Christmas Day

 

Christmas Day is the one global holiday that will get under your skin and overwhelm you if you allow the loneliness and depression to get the best of you. If you start to feel “Sorry For Yourself”, then, it is time to do something positive.

 

There were Christmas Days as a single man in college and the military were I felt “sorry for myself.”

 

When you start to feel like you are “crying in your beer” be careful that you really are not crying into the beer mug,in front of you, on the bar.

 

There were a couple of years where I went to the NCO Club on Christmas Eve and “drank like a fish.” Christmas Day I had a really bad hangover, which only made me feel worse.

 

One Christmas Eve I slept so long on Christmas Day I missed Christmas Dinner at the chow hall. Usually Christmas Dinner was served from like 10 am until 5 or 6 pm.

 

A Good Rule Of Thumb to remember if you drink alcohol – Never drink alone.

 

If you are alone and depressed, then, you should not drink alcohol.

 

I learned that when I was depressed and drank alone that I always drank much more than I should of. The empty bottles on the table, the next morning were always the evidence that I drank more than I thought I did.

 

Welcome “The Day After”

 

Life has taught me to appreciate December 26, Hallelujah ! The importance of “The Day After “ Christmas Day means you “survived”, yet, another Christmas Day.

 

I survived all my “Single Christmas Days” by sheer dumb luck.

 

I got married because I found a woman I loved.

 

In the military, I did not like the idea of “marriage” because the dedication required for one person is not always easy for another person to understand.

 

Uncle And The Spouses

UNCLE SAMOne of the most annoying situations in the military is when you hear a “civilian spouse” complain their military spouse “spends too much time at work.” Too bad, Usually, it is not a personal decision. Uncle Sam never asks the wife or husband’s permission to require the military person to do the job they are being paid for.

 

During World War II, the story is told that United States Marines would tell the younger troops, “If Uncle Sam had wanted you to have a wife, he would of issued you one.” The point is at the time the United States Government didn’t really pay much attention to disgruntled family members.

 

By the time, I retired in 1997, Uncle Sam had done a lot to make family member feel comfortable living on a military base or in the surrounding community.

 

But, “when push comes to shove”, Uncle Sam signs the paycheck, so he wins.

 

If you are a civilian woman or man, who wants a spouse with a normal job and normal hours, who will usually be home after work consider marrying a banker.

 

If you are a civilian woman or man, who wants a spouse with “normal” hours and a “normal” job, then, don’t marry someone in the military, in law enforcement, or a person who is a fire fighter. Some jobs simply require not only the devotion of the person, but, that of a spouse as well.

 

The Christmas Season was one of those times when spouses would “whine” about their military husband or wife having to work on Christmas Day or being deployed away from home on Christmas Day.

 

The reality is “On duty, when Uncle calls, you answer.”

 

Countdown To New Year’s Eve

 

I would hope my experiences provides a plan to help single men and women, who aren’t all that fond of Christmas survive the holiday.

 

I am a writer, who appreciates hearing from and getting comments from readers. If this article, helped you get ready to “batten down the hatches” and survive Christmas Day, then, please, leave a comment on my blog.

 

I would hope my mistakes in Life, helps people to avoid and not make the same or similar mistakes that I have made. Enjoy your Life !

 

As a child, I loved Christmas. What was not to like; I got a ton of toys every year.

 

As a single man, who had to earn a living, Christmas was an annoying holiday that created unnecessary expenses.

 

Incidentally, Single Men And Women Of The World, look at the bright side – It is only a few days until New Year’s Eve – time to ring out the old year and ring in the new year.

 

As a married man, I get to watch my nieces and nephews enjoy the Christmas Day. Me, I ‘ll grab a clean plate and go for the food on the table.

 

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 22, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Observances, Opinion

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Tropical Storm Ofel

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Tropical Storm

Ofel

Hell And High Water

  in

The Leyte Gulf

2_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 016 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

Tropical Storm Ofel

Tropical Storm Ofel slams the waves against the sea wall below the MacArthur Landing Memorial in Palo, Tanauan, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines, Wednesday, October 24, 2012.  About the time this photograph was taken the weather bureau was reporting that the storm should be centered over the Leyte Gulf.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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Leyte Landing

68th Anniversary

October 20, 1944, United States Army General Dougas MacArthur and the official party waded ashore in the Leyte Gulf to begin “The Liberation Of The Philippines.”  Two Ausralian warships and warships of the United States Navy’s 3rd Fleet and 7th Fleet sailed toward the Philippine Islands to engage the Imperial Japanese Navy in “The Largest Naval Battle Of World War II “ and “The Largest Naval Engagement Of Human History To The Present” in these waters from October 23 through October 26 in “The Battle Of Leyte Gulf.”  On the 68th Anniversary, the statues of the MacArthur Landing Memorial remain resolute as Tropical Storm Ofel unleashes nature’s bombardment on the Leyte Gulf.  Nikon D 100 Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 007 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren JrToday, October 24, 2012 – I had been researching and working on an article for my blog since October 20 about “The Liberation Of The Philippines” and “The Battle Of Leyte Gulf.”

 

I needed some photos to go with my story. I could of used file photos that I had shot, but I wanted “fresh” photos. I decided last night, come “Hell Or High Water” I was going to get the photos. I never realized at the time what an “prophetic”description that phrase would be.

1_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 004 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

At the MacArthur Landing in Palo, Tanauan on the island of Leyte, the weather unleashed “Hell,: with a muddy brown sky and murky brown water that erased the horizon and created a backdrop of a muddy brown sky and murky brown water that delivered a hail of intense hard driving pellets of rain.

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2_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 020 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

The “High Water” became the vicious ocean waves that were crashing over the lower sea wall beneath the MacArthur Landing Memorial.

2_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 021 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

Hell And High Water” arrived in the Leyte Gulf and her name, “Tropical Storm Ofel.”

 

2_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 022 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

In the morning, I had heard in passing about a tropical storm headed for Leyte. Typhoons in the Philippines are like Tornadoes in Missouri, you keep your eyes and ears open and stay aware of the developing weather conditions. If the weather goes bad, then, you cancel your plans for the day and do something else.

2_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 023 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

This morning, when we left Barangay Baras, on the island of Leyte, the skies were gray and everything was wet. The wind didn’t seem to be blowing all that bad around 10:30 a.m.

 

Tacloban City was the first stop on the itinerary. Naturally, I ran a few errands before I decided to go do my “photo shoot” at the statues in Palo.

 

By around noon, I came out of the Gaisano store and headed to the Santo Nino Church to pick up some flowers.

 

When a ship goes down at sea or an aircraft is lost at sea, people place a wreath upon the waves as a memorial tribute.

3_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 024 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr

 

World War II, the Pacific Ocean claimed many lives during the The Battle Of Leyte Gulf. It seemed placing a wreath of flowers on the water would be an appropriate way to salute the Allies soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who perished in that battle.

 

4_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 028 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

Around 1 p.m., I stepped out of the vehicle into a hard rain. In a few minutes, every stitch of clothes I had on was saturated with water. The wind was strong. I walked toward the statues and wondered, “Maybe, I should come back tomorrow.”

5_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 030 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

I raised my camera and began shooting photos. Ramon and Ranyiel sat in the van and watched my every step into the weather.

 

It felt like something other than rain pelleted me. It fell like hail. It made it hard to keep your head up and look into the sky.

6_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 036 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

 

 

I had left the flowers in the vehicle to concentrate shooting the photos I had on mind. The cliché “Man Against The Elements” was a reality. I was drenched to my skin. The rain fell hard.

 

I used the wet shirt tail of my polo shirt to wipe off the water spots on the lens. Since I always keep a UV Filter on the lens of the camera any scratches end up on a $14 filter and not the more expensive lens.

 

The wind off the ocean kept pushing me farther inland. Still, I managed to move around enough to take the photos I had in mind. The wind, like an insistent mother, kept trying to move me. I finally clasped a hand to the chrome railing down a few steps to work my way down the side steps, since the wind was really trying to move things.

 

I looked up and watched it fall. Clang! One of the tall flagpoles beside the main flagpole fell straight down and the metallic clang echoed. I walked quicker, but more cautious to the vehicle.

 

I spent a few minutes, wiping off the camera lens. I was soaked through to the skin. I could not have gotten any wetter than if I had stepped into the ocean in my clothes. The height and violent nature of the waves made it obvious no one would be getting out into the Pacific Ocean today.

 

The Battle Of Leyte Gulf from Oct. 23 through October 26, 1944 had devastated “The Enemy”, 10,000 men, 27 ships, and the majority of their aircraft.

7_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 043 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

I had not been able to get a wreath of flowers, so I looked at the small bouquet. The bouquet of flowers were all I could offer to recognize the sacrifices of the Allies, who lost six ships and 2,800 men.

 

With my camera and the flowers I made my way back to the statues. The crashing waves of water against the lower sea wall made it evident, no one would get anywhere near the beach or Leyte Gulf today.

 

I stepped back and turned to go. I noticed the platform in front of the statues. I placed the flowers on the platform.

8_Tropical Storm Ofel MacArthur Landing Palo Tanauan Leyte 062 Nikon D 100 Photo by Sanuel E Warren Jr_resized

 

In honor of the men of the USS Gambler Bay and the other Allies ships and aircraft that disappeared beneath the waves, I left the flowers on the platform in front of the statues.

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Nikon D 100 Photos by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Once, I returned home,I logged on to the Internet to read the latest tropical storm update:

 

PAGASA

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

 

 

Hourly update on OFEL
At 1:00 p.m. today, 24 October 2012, Tropical Storm "OFEL" was estimated based on satellite and surface data over Leyte Gulf (10.5°N, 125.5°E).

 

 

The weather bulletin confirmed that Ramon, Ranyiel and I had been on the “front lines” of Tropical Storm Ofel unleashing her wrath on the Leyte Gulf

Sam

 

Weather Link

 

PAGASA

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

 

http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/

 

 

Samuel E. Warren Jr.’s

Editor’s Note

 

October 24, 2012 — We returned to Barangay Baras and learned the power had went out about 10 minutes before we got home due to the storm. No problem My Dell laptop had a three-hour charge on the computer battery. I put the Compact Flash card in the card reader and while the pictures downloaded to to the laptop’s hard drive, I began writing the story.

 

I wrote as fast as I could and double checked some of the facts on the Battle of the Leyte Gulf. Alas before I could finish the story, the laptop flashed the warning of low power and went out a few minutes later.

 

October 28 2012 – The power briefly come back on around 4:30 p.m., and only lasted about 20 minutes in Barangay Baras. A transformer blew in Barangay Cameri and wiped out the power in a total of six barangays

 

October 29. 2012 – The power in Barangay Baras came back about 7:45 p.m.

 

October 30. 2012 – The copy and photos finally finished for this article I finally get to publish it – on “My Birthday.”

Sam

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Joplin Tornado Aftermath Reconstruction Underway Photos

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Joplin Tornado Aftermath

Reconstruction Underway Photos

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Sunday, May 22, 20 11 – An EF-5 tornado struck Joplin, Missouri and left 154 people dead.and more than 900 injured. Some reports cite that the EF-5 tornado ranged from one half to three quarters of a mile in length as it moved through the city of 50,150 citizens and left a path of destruction that has been reported as 16 to 22 miles in length with one third of the city destroyed.

As of Friday, June 17, 2011, people in southwest Missouri are still talking about the devastating tornado that reportedly has, “at least two semi tractor trailer trucks leaving every minute through the day to simply haul away all the debris left by the tornado.” Friday afternoon, Christy, my wife and I had the opportunity to see the unimaginable destruction.

Reconstruction Underway - Joplin, Missouri - The May 22, 2011 tornado that stuck Joplin , Missouri is currently credited with killing 154 people and destorying at least one third of this major metropolitan southwest Missouri city. Friday, June 17, 2011, when this photograph was taken, Joplin citizens were still working to clear away the rubble and city crews could be seen working to clear away the massive mountains of debris. This American flag is only one of many that waves from within the barren landscape of destruction. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Back Story

Friday, June 17, 2011 – Ken Sexton and my cousin, Donna, invited my wife, Christy, and I to go with them on an afternoon road trip. Donna had mentioned that we would drive through Joplin to show us the destruction from the Joplin Tornado.

Ken and Donna were two of the many people who had volunteered time on a couple of weekends to help the Joplin survivors to help clear away the construction rubble left by the deadly tornado.

I tossed the camera bag in the car. Ken drove. Donna explained the devastation that they had witnessed only a few days after the tornado. Christy and I listened. I took photographs of the devastation.

Photographic Procedure

We drove through Joplin. While Ken drove, I shot photos. The photos were shot by me using a Canon EOS 40D digital camera. Since the vehicle was moving there is obvious picture blur and camera shake in some of the photographs which were shot through the vehicle windows.

I sat on the left side of the vehicle and my wife, Christy, sat on the right side. I aimed the camera at virtually all the windows at some point to take a photograph. All of the photos were shot by me from inside the moving vehicle.

Since I alternated between shooting out the right and left side windows as well as some shots taken through the windshield, essentially these photos are a series of sequence shots.

Photographic Processing

Back home in Stone County, Missouri, I downloaded the photographs to my laptop to examine. I used the programs, Irfanview and Photoscape to edit the photos. I had shot 133 photos. Some were automatically deleted because of motion blur and camera shake. Since I approach every photography situation like a news photographer, I looked at the information in each photo. The actual shooting situation meant I had to make quick decisions of what to shoot and what to pass on. One deleted photo had a pickup passing through the photo as I clicked the shutter.

Editorial Considerations

As a military newspaper editor, I would always look at a photo for quality and to make sure it supported the story.

In this situation, as the writer, photographer and editor of my personal blog, I wanted photographs that showed not only the obvious destruction, but, also the cleanup underway in the aftermath of the Joplin Tornado to post to my blog.

While I don’t have the financial and human resources of the “Washington Post, “ “New York Times.” or “Time” magazine, I believe, Uncle Sam drove home those basic journalism ethics about the importance of news photos.

None of these photographs are set up, staged or posed. The photographs here are what was captured by the camera. Editing was done on a case by case basis to eliminate distracting elements from the photo or to lighten the photo to keep it from becoming a silhouette. Some photos were left “full frame” and not edited.

Radical Cropped Photos

Some of these photos, I had to “radically crop” to eliminate distracting elements like the outline of the vehicle window and save the basic photo. Since the later photos were shot as evening was approaching, I used Photoscape’s 100 percent Backlight function to add light to the foreground of the photo.

Example Photo - In this photo, my wife, Christy Warren points at some of the destruction from the Joplin Tornado of Sunday, May 22, 2011. Since all of my photos of the aftermath of the Joplin Tornado were shot from a moving vehicle, I had to edit out any elements that might be distracting to the overall photo like the natural framing of the automobile window. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr,

Some of the photos are essentially “full frame” because I did not see any distracting elements in the photo. While Backlight might of improved the visual quality of a couple of these photos, I chose not to use that function to pass on the actual condition of the afternoon sky.

One photo of a building with an American flag was almost a silhouette and contained an obvious solar lens flare at the edge of the photo. I did not crop out the lens flare because I had shot the photo through a car window. I did use Photoscape’s Contrast Enhancement and 100 percent Backlight function to keep the photo from becoming a silhouette.

I held back on the urge to edit photos. The majority of the editing was to crop out the natural framing of the subject by the moving automobile window.

Criticism, Critique, Comments Appreciated

I’m an old retired military newsman, who loves to write and shoot photos. If the photos that I have published in my blog serve to increase the awareness of students, teachers, civilian officials and people in the public about the real threat of tornadoes and that knowledge helps to save lives, then, these photos have succeeded in presenting the information.

People who wish to criticize, critique or comment on any of the photos are welcome to use the comment form on my blog. I’m one of those people who usually gets tons of email spam and advertisements from mindless Internet programming robots, so usually I just periodically delete emails without reading them.

I do read and usually respond to comments on my blog because I like to hear from readers, who take the time to read the articles and look at the photos on my blog. To my readers, I say Thank you for taking the time to read the articles and look at the photos.

Foto Fact File

Not everyone will be able to visit Joplin, Missouri and look at the destruction with their own two eyes. I would like to think the readers of my blog will have the opportunity to look at these pictures and get a sense of the destruction for themselves. Readers, I would hope will also notice that the citizens of Joplin, Missouri are rebuilding despite the immense level of destruction.

This building was one of the first signs of destruction by the Joplin Tornado of May 22, 2011 that we noticed as we entered into Joplin. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

These photos represent the first twenty of the more than 100 photographs of the Joplin Tornado damage seen on June 17, 2011.  Once I have all the photographs finished then I will post a gallery or a slideshow of the photographs of the damage.

Sam

Wikipedia 2011 Joplin Tornado http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Joplin_tornado

Wikipedia Joplin, Missouri http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joplin,_Missouri

 

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Sam I Am Blog Newsflash Update !!!  —

Thursday, June 23,2011—-

GALENA, MISSOURI — I now have more than one hundred photo of the cleanup and reconstruction underway in Joplin, Missouri after the May 22 EF-5 Tornado.

St. John's Mercy Hospital - Joplin, Missouri - The night that the tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, my wife, Christy and I were listening to the storm coverage on KTTS-FM, broadcasting out of Springfield, Missouri, in Greene County. In our home, in Stone County, near Galena, Missouri, Christy and I listened to the storm coverage while the winds grew outside our home. This hospital was one of the first reports of major damage to Joplin that was aired, while the tornado was still moving through the city. Initial broadcast reports stated that the staff had begun to move patients to other local hospitals before the tornado hit. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr. Joplin Tornado Hospital Damage Photo 2 of 14

There are 20 photos on my blog, but I now have an album on imgpur that readers can go to and see for themselves what it looks like to “Stand Inside The Center Ring Of Hell” and know there is a world beyond the Apocalpytic destruction.

Here is the link: http://samwarren55.imgur.com

Sam

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