Friday, September 11, 2015

We Remember: 9/11 Reflections

The images of September 11, 2001 are forever burned into our collective memory
The reports on every news station playing over and over
The planes striking the World Trade Center, first one, then the other
American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower at 8:46 a.m.
A tragic error? Nobody knew at first 
United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m.
And then we knew -- this was no error
As our brains struggled to comprehend what was happening

American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m.
Flames and smoke filled the Virginia air
As black smoke continued rising into the New York sky
Brave firefighters and police officers rushed into the burning buildings
On a day filled with unthinkables, the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m.

As panic filled the air in New York and Arlington
A struggle for life was taking place in the sky
As passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 fought back
Against the terrorist hijackers who'd taken control of their plane
Todd Beamer uttered the words, "Are you guys ready? Let's Roll!"

An American hero whose actions may have saved many lives
As they fought for their own lives
Flight 93 crashed to the ground near Shanksville, Pa. at 10:03 a.m.
 Amid thick smoke and chaos, the North Tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m.
Taking the lives of public heroes and unknown Americans  
And America watched, knowing life would never be the same

But the American spirit is strong
The American flag became our symbol
Raised above the rubble of the World Trade Center
Raised above the Pentagon 
Raised above the hallowed ground in Pennsylvania

Raised above homes across America
The symbol of our freedom and endurance
Hope for the future, strength to move forward
Hands held, voices raised in prayer

"Never Forget," we whispered to ourselves
"Never Forget," we prayed together
"Never Forget," became America's battle cry

As our lives were forever divided
Into before ... and after 9/11/01

Thursday, June 4, 2015

15 Reasons to Attend the Uncle Billy's Day Festival

If you haven't been around the Lynchburg area for very long, you may not know about the Uncle Billy's Day Festival. Held on the first Saturday (and preceding Friday) in June each year in the small town of Altavista, Uncle Billy's Day draws crowds from far and near. Whether you're a newcomer or have lived in the area all of your life, here's 15 reasons to attend the Uncle Billy's Day Festival.

It's FREE! You'll probably have to park wherever you can find a spot, but there are free bus rides -- or you can walk -- to English Park, where most of the festivities will be held. The Trade Lot will be held at the War Memorial Park on 7th Street. Festival hours are Friday, June 5 from 4-11 p.m. and Saturday, June 6 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. The carnival begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday. No dogs, coolers or backpacks are permitted. You'll find full details including calendar of events at

It's family-friendly. Bring your kids, your spouse, your grandparents or come alone. Bring a chair and umbrella if you want, but no coolers or backpacks are allowed. Uncle Billy's Day offers good old fashioned fun at its finest.

There's funnel cake! Maybe it's just me, but there's nothing that marks a great summer festival better than funnel cake. Enjoy your funnel cake plain, add powdered sugar or load it up with fruit. YUM!

There's plenty of food. Whether you're feeding yourself or the entire family, you'll find something for everyone. The food trucks and stands beckon from the time you walk into English Park.

There's a really cool walkway. If you park downtown, you get to use the walkway to get to English Park. From high above the Uncle Billy's Day festivities, you can see everything. 

There are wild carnival rides for thrill-seekers of all ages. This ride is called Roll-O-Plane and it spins and turns as it speeds toward the ground. Hold on tight!

There are fun carnival rides for the little ones too.

You'll find a variety of bounce houses and carnival games.

There's even a carousel perfect for all ages to enjoy.

At some festivals, there's not much for the men to enjoy. The car show at Uncle Billy's Day is fun for men, women and children. Check out this really cool looking car.

The craft show is one of the area's biggest, attracting local vendors and crafters from out-of-state. Start your holiday shopping with unique gift items for everyone on your list.

English Park is located on the banks of the Staunton River. The views are great and there's even shade under the trees.

Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy live music on Friday from 5:30-11 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m. There's a schedule of entertainment at the website.

There will be fireworks after dark on Saturday night -- starting at approximately 9:30 p.m. You can see the fireworks best from English Park.

How can you go wrong with an event that's celebrating 66 years! Come on out to Uncle Billy's Day this weekend. Hit the Altavista exit and follow the traffic. You'll have a blast!