Marine Corps Museum – April 2012

Original Post Date: April 2012

From April 11th through the 13th, I made a trip to Quantico, Virginia. During this visit, I went to the White House, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and I drove by the Washington Monument. The reason I am writing about this experience is because any kind of tour visit takes you back through a history lesson. It was interesting to drive by the Washington Monument to see that it actually had a slight lean. The lean was not actually part of the initial design, but when the Washington, DC area had the earthquake in Fall of 2011, the monument suffered some damages. Something as part of history now had even more history to it as it barely survived an earthquake. The monument also suffered structural damages at it now has a few cracks in its foundation.

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The part of this trip I’d like to discuss is the National Museum of the Marine Corps. When I think of the wars our country has been through only a few of the majors stand out. World War One and World War Two, our Civil War, Vietnam and now the War on Terror in Iraq. What really stuck with me during my tour through the museum, was the number of wars or Marine Corps has been through. Many of these wars are often overlooked. There were about seven different exhibits that the museum offered. Each one taking you back in time to different eras of the Marine Corps.

The very first exhibit that you walk in to is, of course, the making of the marines. They actually have a large bus on display, similar to the one the Marine Recruits would take from the airport to boot camp. Another really cool aspect is they had two booths set up. One was for men and one was for women. You step inside these booths and Drill Instructor voices begin to yell at you. This gives you an idea of what it’s like to go through boot camp.

The next exhibit that I walked through was World War One gallery. This gallery displayed photos, and plaques detailing the dates of this war. Something they displayed through this exhibit in addition to all of the exhibits was old letters sent to and from the soldiers and their loved ones. It was truly unique to read some of the things written during those times. I then walked through the World War Two gallery. It was very similar to the first gallery in the way that it was set-up. The museum also had galleries on the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War. Each gallery displayed facts from the war, correspondence from the war, vehicles and artillery that our Marines used during those eras. The Cold War display was really cool, and I mean literally. You actually walked into the display room and you could feel a temperature drop. I didn’t know this until now, but the original Flag of Iwo Jima is displayed at this museum. I even got in to trouble for trying to take photograph with the flash on. Apparently, the camera flash does something to the preservation of the flag.

Then, the final gallery that I walked through was the September 11th gallery. This portion of the gallery was smaller, but equally as impactful. The museum had a couple artifacts from the rubble on display, with factual plaques about the number of lives lost that day in the planes, the towers as well as the rescuers who died.

This tour through the Marine Corps Museum was an eye-opening experience for me. I was reminded of the lives lost through the many wars that our country has faced. To think that these were the battles that only included the Marine Corps, and that’s the youngest branch of the military. I always had an appreciation for our military service members, but now I feel like I can appreciate our Vets even more.

GOP Debate

Original Post Date: June 2012

Hundreds of supporters for the Republican Party gathered together on Lindenwood’s Campus. Lindenwood hosted the GOP Senatorial Candidate debate on June 11th. As being a part of the LUTV Staff, I got to not only attend the event, but I also got to cover it as a reporter. The three candidates that were challenged during the debate were Republican Rep. Todd Akin, Sarah Steelman, and John Brunner. The three candidates were asked a series of questions by a carefully selected panelist. Each candidate then had to answer the questions while challenging their opponents. The point behind this debate is to help Missouri Voters decide who is the better candidate to run against the incumbent Claire McCaskill for the Missouri seat in the Senate.

After the debate, I had a chance to attend a press conference held for the media. I stood right alongside Fox 2’s Betsy Bruce during the conference. It was really interesting to see how the professionals composed themselves during the event and to hear the questions they asked.

From what I’ve learned about the three candidates during the debate is they all share very similar political views on all the major issues. Each candidate clearly believed that the federal government needs to do away with many of their agencies including the Department of Education and Welfare. They all believe that each state should be in charge of these departments to make them locally ran agencies.

It was a really unique opportunity to not only attend this event, but to get back-stage and shake hands with the candidates. The other aspect of the event was witnessing all of the work that went into the production of the show. LUTV spent days just setting up the cameras, audio and creating all of the graphics and other elements to pull off a great show. This event opened my eyes to the work that goes behind these debates. I learned a lot about the Republican Parties views on ObamaCare and other major issues our country faces today.

Hearts in Harmony

Original Post Date: March 2012

The month of hearts is coming to a close as Valentine’s Day and other major “Go Red” events for the American Heart Association have come and gone. That’s not stopping one ten-year-old girl from doing everything she can to raise awareness. Ten-year-old Katelyn Jackson has been through more in her short life than many have throughout adulthood. People who know Katelyn say she’s brave and extremely generous. I spent several hours Saturday afternoon at the Saint Louis Galleria, getting to know Katelyn and the song she inspired.

It was a typical Wednesday morning commute to Lindenwood University, when I heard a promo featuring St. Louis Singer/Songwriter Erin Bode and a 10-year-old girl. Cornbread in the morning always provides pure entertainment, but on this particular drive a great song for a great cause caught my attention. Remembering the details, I researched what exactly “Hearts in Harmony” was all about.

Just four months after birth, Katelyn Jackson went in for her first round of surgery to fix a heart defect called, complete AV canal. In other words, Katelyn was born with a large hole in her heart. For more information on this rare heart disease, visit the American Heart Association’s website.  Katelyn Jackson has had six open heart surgeries, because when she was born she had a Complete AV Canal. After hearing a digitally recorded version of Katelyn’s unique heartbeat, Saint Louis singer and songwriter Erin Bode knew she just had to incorporate it in to a song.    Katelyn and Erin teamed up with the Saint Louis Children’s Hospital, Washington University’s Heart Center, and the Saint Louis Galleria to perform the song live for mall shoppers.

Erin performed the song live every three hours and the event offered EKG’s, jump ropes, and hula-hoops. People could listen to their hearts, talk about what foods are heart healthy and enjoy snacks while watching Erin perform.

When talking to Katelyn, she explained what she hopes people will learn from the cause. “I hope that people will take heart disease more seriously, and be cautious about what they eat and what they do…just to give hope to other families, that’s really the basic goal of this.”

Many people stopped what they were doing to hear Katelyn’s story expressed through Erin’s song.  “She’s a wonderful child, very sweet, really giving and generous. That was something that struck us right away. Something we wanted to express to other people,” Erin said.

It was truly an honor to hang out with Katelyn and Erin throughout the event, and from what I’ve been told by both, this is not the last we’ll be seeing the duo perform.

Cinema St. Louis

Original Post Date: August 2011

When you think of movies and film typically you think of Hollywood, but last week filmmakers of St. Louis proved that you don’t have to live in Hollywood to be a producer. The 11th annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase featured a special local guest. Many people aren’t even aware the 1980’s defender of the universe was born right here in St. Louis, and that’s why Voltron Force was the premiere event of the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase. The Tivoli Theater was packed with St. Louis filmmakers proud to show off their work. One group in particular included the producers of the Nicktoon’s Voltron Force.

I had the opportunity to talk to and interview not only the Creative Director/Producer Jeremy Corray, but I also spoke with the “Father” of Voltron, Ted Koplar. I thought the Q&A sessions they held after the show was a great way to get the audience involved with the showing. The montage prior to the show was great to give a background on the original Voltron. By the end of the 90 minute showing, I was intrigued and ready to watch the next episode. The graphic design behind the animation was well done. The character writing could have used a little more work. Getting to talk to the creators of the show made the experience all the more worthwhile. Most of all, this event taught me that in the entertainment industry one man cannot stand alone.

Marine Week 2011

Original Post Date: June 2011

The City of St. Louis was host to the third annual week long event designed to introduce the Marine Corps to civilian life. Each year, the events are hosted in different cities across the country, and this year they chose St. Louis. The Marine Corps has partnered up with Mayor Francis Slay to host the events.

Marine Week kicked off by showing off the Marine Corps aviators and their technically advanced aircraft. Monday morning the highly skilled pilots landed the extremely technical equipment, right in front of the St. Louis Arch and also next to Bush Stadium. The aircraft that landed next to Bush stadium is one of their most advanced carrier aircrafts available. This aircraft is called the MV-22 Osprey. The Osprey is a Boeing design and was designed for amphibious assault transports. These can carry troops, supplies and equipment from ships to land. The design of their propellers allow these planes to make quick and fast drop landings, which is what makes them good for drop-offs on ships.

The Land, Air, and Sea Combat Assault Demonstration featured the different assault approaches the Corps is capable of. During this assault the MV-22 Osprey dropped down above the Missouri River in front of the Arch and unloaded two water boats loaded with Marines in gear. These boats then landed at the water’s edge and the Marines began a land assault. During all of this, the Marine Corps showed off their underwater tanks. These tanks actually drove on the bottom of the river like a submarine, and then became land tanks when they hit the bank of the river. The next step that they showed off was the air assault. This assault included three Marines parachuting from an aircraft about a thousand feet above the ground. They also dropped Marines off at a landing zone a dock off the river. This part of the event showed off the flying capabilities of all the types of aircraft the Marine Corps uses. The final portion of this event was the land assault. This assault allowed the Marine Corps to show off their tanks and all the gear they use. This included all of their camouflage gear.

I also got the chance to see a little of the behind the scenes of this event, including the advertisements and public relations work that went into the event. Overall, Marine Week was a really unique thing to see. It was practically a once in a lifetime opportunity to see it all done in my hometown. Every time I thought of the Marine Corps, I just thought about these young men in their early twenties raiding the houses of enemies. After Marine Week, I realized the agility and training they go through to be as elite as they are.

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Missouri Law Bans Teachers to Befriend Students on Facebook

With the explosion of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, Missouri lawmakers have designed a new law that cracks down on student-teacher relationships. Mid-July marked a change in the way teachers throughout the state of Missouri are allowed to reach out to their students. The overall goal is to prevent student-teacher “sexual misconduct” inside and outside the classroom, by forcing schools to develop policies pertaining to communication of any kind between teachers and their students.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law the Senate Bill 54 on July 14th, which Section 162.069 reads:

           “Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child’s legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian. Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student.”

The bill was also designed to require school districts to report any suspected abuse within 24 hours. This will hold the district liable for any misconduct between its employees and students.

It is clear the states intent to protect minors against inappropriate contact with teachers, however, in an age of technology and social awareness, is prohibiting Facebook contact taking it too far? Many teachers use social networking as a tool to best engage their students.

Additional Information:
Senate Bill 54
Office of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon