Thanksgiving blessing–memories of greatness…


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The last picture in our collection of Henry O Andersen. This image was from 1972 the year he died. I remember that event. I remember it for two distinct reasons. The first is that dad left Thailand and flew home to say goodbye to his father. I remember that because dad was so sad when he got home. Interestingly later in the year 1972 my parents told me my grandfather had died. it was interesting in that at the moment they told me the song “Alone Again, Naturally” was playing on armed forces radio Saigon.

I didn’t know my grandfather Andersen that well. I have isolated memories that are tenuous at best. I remember him talking about camera’s in particular pin hole camera’s one afternoon in his basement. I remember the cavalry stuff in the basement. I have two saddle bags and the picture of him preparing for WWI. I remember him taking Lynne and I to the park in Wisconsin Dells once as well. But those isolated memories are all I have left. I have in the past 5 months of our family history project seen many more instances of Henry O Andersen in my life. I guess in the end memory is a fleeting thing. Those memories we cling to early in life don’t last into the later years replaced by work and other information.

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Of course now looking back at images from the past I see that they both stood similarly. Arms straight at their sides as if still in the military (they both were). I have a million memories of my dad and I hope some of them came from his father, things that my grandfather may have said that my father picked up and used and later I picked up and used. A memory that would connect us.

In the words of Dan Fogelberg from his song “Leader of the Band” modifying his original thought slightly “I hope I am a living legacy to the two leaders of the band.” I hope I am as good a person, as kind a person and in the end as loving as person as my Grandfather was for my father, and my father was for me.”

I do know that the love of taking scenic pictures with no human beings anywhere near the picture passed from Grandfather to son, to grandson.

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This last image of the great falls of Virginia. Yes one person that I’ve never met couldn’t identify and have no idea who it is is in the picture. The person fighting the falls in a Kayak. I took this picture because of the majesty of the river. I took my family to this spot to read the historical markers. Directly behind where I took this picture is the C&O canal. These falls were a huge reason the canal moved away from the Potomac river in many places. The falls much to difficult to navigate for boats loaded with supplies.

So I do in fact take pictures of scenic spots without people or at least without people I know. I got that via my dad and from my Grandfather.

In the words of my Irish friends “Henry O Andersen was a grand man” I wish I had known him more.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

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