Saturday, May 23, 2015

Vero Beach to Viera Florida and Memorial Day Music

Vintage Florida Postcard
(Flickr user Florida Memory/Flickr Commons)
On Memorial Day weekend in the United States, and it only seems appropriate that since  this road trip based blog we spend a day just driving. For much of America, that is what Memorial Day Weekend is all about-hitting the road and driving to somewhere.

Accident statistics are aways published after a holiday weekend reporting on fatal highway collisions. It is a tragedy. Please road trippers, be careful on the highways. Luckily, by taking a road trip with Old Highway Notes you can avoid some of the risks of the road. So let's hit it...

Leaving Vero Beach and the McKee Jungle Gardens, our drive North on Interstate 95 continues as we return to the highway leaving Vero Beach. The scenery turns a bit wild through the windshield as the Interstate slices through the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park. Eager to make tracks we drive past this beautiful natural area rather than stopping to enjoy the scenery.

Thanks to the courtesy of we have dash cams of the drive as the interstate makes its way through the park.

As we exit the State Park Interstate 95 moves into a more urban environment, as we enter the city of Palm Bay, Florida.

Palm Bay Exit, I-95 Northbound
(Flickr user formulanone/CC)
Palm Bay, Florida is the largest city in Brevard County, Florida. It has a strong tech presence and and a mixed age population with lots of golfing and typical Florida Coastal life. Honestly it looks like a fairly pleasant suburban type of community. I could not find much at all in the way of interesting stories or places to visit here however.

I found a tour of haunted places, and there were also a site here and here that had nothing nice to say about the city. I can see no reason to to keep driving North on our imaginary journey, In the spirit of fairness, I will let Brevard County make their pitch about Palm Bay.

It is not the questionable online reviews of Palm Bay that keeps us moving. We are nearing the end of today's drive. Our destination is Space Coast Stadium in the development of Viera in northern Melbourne, Florida. The city borders Palm Bay to the North, so we are almost there.

Downtown Melbourne, Florida Panorama
Downtown Melbourne, Florida
(Flickr user ajmexico/CC)

A look into Melbourne reveals it to be a historic destination among the sport fishing and boating crowd and a well known stop on Florida Coastal tourist trail. Here are some images of the city from the days before the interstate pushed through and changed everything.

Marina Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)

Melbourne Hotel  Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)
Downtown Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)
Fishing Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)
Sunset Vintage Posctcard Melbourne Florida
(Flickr user Boston Public Library/CC)
We end the days travel as we reach Viera, Florida and arrive at Space Coast Stadium. Its time to get out and stretch our legs, our trip is done for the day. In our next post we'll visit the stadium as we continue our series on Spring Training Ballparks on Florida.

Playlist Additions
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Driving is popular activity for Americans celebrating a three day weekend. This particular three day weekend though, should also include a dose of solemnity. Memorial Day exists to honor American fighting men and women who have died in military service.

It is my passionate wish that every person serving in the military can be relieved of duty because humanity has evolved to make their job's obsolete. Until that day comes though, I thank them for their service and bow my head to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their families and communities,

We begin with set of songs from each of the America's military actions. This set is dedicated to those who have given their all, in the hopes that somehow man can find a way to evolve past the need for men and women to give so much.

Military Conflicts in U.S. History
  • American Revolution (1775–1783)
  • War of 1812 (1812–1815)
  • Mexican War (1846–1848)
  • Civil War (1861–1865)
  • Indian Wars (colonial era to 1890)
  • Spanish American War (1898)
  • World War I (1914–1918)
  • World War II (1939–1945)
  • Korean War (1950–1953)
  • Bay of Pigs (1961)
  • Vietnam War (1961–1973)
  • Dominican Republic (1965)
  • Lebanon (1982–1984)
  • Grenada (1983)
  • Panama (1989)
  • Gulf War (1991)
  • Somalia (1993)
  • Bosnia (1994–1995)
  • Kosovo (1999)
  • Global War on Terror (2001– )
  • Afghanistan (2001–2014)
  • Iraq War (2003–2010)
  • War Against the Islamic State (ISIS) (2014—)

Source: Military Conflicts in U.S. History 

Perhaps the most well known song of the Revolutionary War would Yankee Doodle. However, I chose another well known song of the era that seems to fit in more with the theme of sacrifice that is Memorial Day. From the Edgar Meyer, Yo-Yo Ma & Mark O' Conner album Heartland, we have James Taylor with a heartfelt rendition of Johnny's Gone Off To A Soldier.

The War of 1812 gave us The Star Spangled Banner which is the best choice for this list. Although the Battle Of New Orleans by Johnny Horton was strongly considered.

15 Star-Star Spangled Banner
The Original Star Spangled Banner

It surprised me just a bit to find a song of the Mexican War in my collection, but I did find one.Surprisingly, it is by and Irish group, The Chieftains. They give us March To Battle (Across The Rio Grande).

The Civil War gave us the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Maybe I should have used that song, but instead I indulged my more peaceful side by choosing the touching story of Two Little Boys performed Old and In the Grey, a recent incarnation of famous 70's hippy bluegrass band Old and In The Way.

Bob Marley gave us our next song. It is perhaps the most well known song about the Indian Wars, Buffalo Soldier.

John Philip Sousa was known as the March king for the many well known marches he composed around the turn of the twentieth century, the same era as the Spanish American War. I am sure you will all recognize Stars And Stripes Forever, the next addition to our playlist. The performance is by the H.M. Grenadier Guards from the England.

Stars and Stripes Forever Sheet Music Cover

World War I gave us many songs of patriotism and gung ho Americanism, but there were those who wanted peace and isolation. The song I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier  represents that viewpoint.

World War II began in the heart of the swing era. Our next track is by a performer who is among the ranks of Americans lost at war. In 1942 Glenn Miller was at the height of his career, however the drums of war called as he decided to postpone his civilian career to serve in the military,

Initially serving in the Army as a Band Director he worked at modernizing the sound of the Army Band, He was then transferred to the Air Force where he led a band that served as both pro-American propaganda and was important in maintaining troop moral as well.

On December 15, 1944, Miller was aboard a small single engine plane flying from the UK to Paris, France where he was to perform some shows. He never arrived. The plane was missing and no explanation was certain. Mechanical problems as well as airborne bombs have both been suspected. Regardless, this flight stripped the world of swing music great Glenn Miller. It also left the world another name to remember and mourn on Memorial Day. Glenn Miller's American Patrol musically represent the Second World War on our musical playlist.
Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller
I did not have very much in my collection to reference Korea, but I did find an Ernest Tubb hit, A Heartsick Soldier on a Heartbreak Ridge. Vietnam was another matter. So much of the music about that war is critical of the soldiers that risked so much at the request of their country that I wanted to include something positive. Perhaps the most positive, if also the most corny, pro military song from the era was The Ballad Of The Green Berets by SSgt. Barry Sadler, U.S. Army Special Forces.

Starting in the 1980's, the United States entered into a series of military actions around the world that continue to this day. There are songs about the Gulf War and songs about 9/11, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I am sure of that, but my musical knowledge starts getting thinner the more recent the performer. So I will let Merl Haggard make the case, in 1969, for so many of these situations and against those who don't respect our troops The Fightin' Side Of Me.
  • Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier Heartland - An Appalachian Anthology Mark O'Connor, James Taylor, John Mock 2:57
  • Star Spangled Banner (The National Anthem) Veterans Day Honor US Coast Guard Band 1:29
  • March To Battle (Across The Rio Grande) San Patricio The Chieftains With Banda De Gaitas Del Batallón De San Patricio, Liam Neeson, Los Cenzontles & L.A. Juvenil 4:12
  • Two Little Boys Old And In The Gray Old And In The Gray 3:57
  • Buffalo Soldier Legend Bob Marley & The Wailers  4:19
  • Stars and Stripes Forever Mark Twain's America John Philip Sousa 3:33
  • I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier Peerless Quartet 3:05 DOWNLOAD HERE
  • American Patrol The Best of the Lost Recordings & the Secret Broadcasts Glenn Miller 3:25
  • A Heartsick Soldier on a Heartbreak Ridge Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello Ernest Tubb 3:05
  • The Ballad Of The Green Berets Next Stop Is Vietnam SSgt. Barry Sadler, U.S. Army Special Forces 2:31
  • The Fightin' Side Of Me HAG: The Best Of Merle Haggard Merle Haggard 2:54
  • Taps (with Orchestration) Veterans Day Honor US Marine Band 1:21

I close our music tribute with Taps in arrangement performed by the US Marine Corps Band.

Mileage Stats

Route 66: 0 Miles/1 State/1071 Tracks/268 Videos/41 Posts
Highway 101: 25 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/654 Tracks/414 Videos/31 Posts
Interstate 95: 200 Miles/1 State/108 Tracks/169 Videos/17 Posts
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