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The flag was at half mast today

Sunday, 7 October 2012

As I drove the 30+ miles out to the Pea Island VC this morning, I noticed that the flags at the Coast Guard Station and the Nat’l Seashore Campground were at half mast.  My first thought was, oh oh, I hadn’t listened to the news this morning before I left.  I was hoping there wasn’t another nut shooting people to pieces somewhere in the country.

When I got to the VC, I raised the flag to full mast and then brought it down to half mast.  I believe that is the correct flag etiquette to use.  After getting everything else ready and opening up, I decided I’d better find a way to find out what was going on.  I knew visitors would be asking about it, and I wanted to have the correct answer.  I called the National Park Service at one of their National Seashore Visitors Centers.  It turns out that today was the National day of showing respect and remembering all fire fighters that had been lost in the line of duty.  I never knew there was a specific day set aside for this remembering, or that the flag should be flown at half mast. 

It was a pretty ordinary busy day at the VC until I noticed someone driving their car along the levy out to the nature trail overlook.  The car kept going past the closed sign along the levy section to the place that hurricane Irene had broken through it.  Foot traffic is all that is allowed on the trail.  So, I called the refuge Law Enforcement (LE) officer to let him know.  Last week all volunteers had been given a directive to call LE immediately for any rule violation on the refuges.  Apparently a volunteer had confronted a rule breaker, and the refuge wants to be sure we don’t do that.

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As I waited for LE to arrive, I watched the perpetrator through one of the scopes by the picture windows.  I kind of felt like Jessica Fletcher of “Murder She Wrote.”  Ninja  Ha ha!  It turned out it was just a contractor that will be doing some work on the pump house near the break in the levy, but for a little while it added some excitement and intrigue to my day.  I watched this guy put on some white boots and walk out into the water on the far side of the pond which is that top line of foliage in the distance as you look out the window.  After walking around a boat that was stuck in the sand, he emerged barefoot and walked back to his car.

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That levy on the far side is a half a mile away, and using this Zeiss scope I could see his every move in very clear detail.  These scopes are top of the line, and were donated to the refuge by the Carl Zeiss company.  I’ve never been to a refuge that has three scopes like this of such high quality.  I decided this evening to Google this model, and found out each one is worth $3000!  And that doesn’t include the price of each of the three Zeiss tripods that they are mounted on.  I thought I owned a pretty nice scope, but the quality and clearness of the images using this scope almost makes me drool.  Every day, visitors are just taken aback by what they can see through these instruments.

Well, I didn’t solve any murder mysteries today, but at least the two little mysteries I did have added a little pizazz to the day.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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