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Ghost Men of Iron
I created this military calendar to commemorate the lives of those who have served in our armed forces both alive and dead.
I went for a ride the other day. I took my mother to lunch and then we just started heading south on I94. I did not even know where I was going. Pretty soon we looked at the road signs and could not believe we were in Illinois. I looked on the bluff of the right side of the highway and there were tanks and planes! Wow! I missed the Russell Road exit and had to think of a way to get back to the place and also do so discretely so the idea wasn’t pooh poohed. I ended up buying a map of Illinois in a large regional sporting goods store and taking Hunt Club Road north. Presumably to not have to pay the highway toll which was found to be an agreeable reason to go that way.
My father served in both WWII and Korean War. He wanted nothing to do with camping or the woods. When I was a boy I Ioved to play with army toys and memorabilia and to put together plastic models thereof. My love of machines has never waned- whether it is the fascination with jet airplanes and flight or looking at large tank treads and dreaming of driving them over rough terrain. I did not serve in our military but I have met many veterans who are just like me in this respect. And why try not to be; it is just us! That imagination we have when we look at these large metal machines is indeed a problem solving type of imagination. Where can that go? What can I do with that we dream and ask ourselves?
As I look at these abstract images that I took at the Russell Military Museum just over the border in Northern Illinois I think of the service men who piloted the vehicles. The Russell Museum offers a program for young men who like to help restore these vehicles.
When I was a boy at a park not too far away I remember they had a gutted tank there. My friends and I loved to climb and play on them. I ask myself where such tanks are today.
I would encourage you to take your son to this museum to see these vehicles and many-many more in real life. It is better to do in the summer because during the winter they could be covered with snow.
For fun take a copy of this Calendar to the Museum and see what the images match up to!
Russell Military Museum
43363 Old Highway 41
Russell, IL 60075
Thomas Paul Murphy