A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

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Sitting in the Seat of the Past

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

In recovery mode here at the lighthouse after a big Veterans Day event on Saturday. That means that we all worked an extra day here to do the event. I missed my Saturday off but it was excellent. The food was good. The Coast Guard helicopter fly-over was great but not long enough. It was terrific of them to burn all that fuel to come down to our event, but, like, I wanted an hour-long air show. No such luck. The best part is sitting around and hearing war stories from the folks who have really been there. Two days before, we had a guy here with his Willy’s Jeep, vintage 1942. It saw duty in WWII Europe; original seats that were used by guys fighting a war half way around the world 60 years ago. I sat in the seat. It even had the ax and shovel on the drivers side and the skinny tires and everything. I got to hold a Thompson sub-machine gun. Really heavy weapon, but it was just like the ones the sergeant’s carry in all those old WWII movies, and I always wanted to be a sergeant cause the gun was so cool.

I climbed the tower after we finished clean up and most everyone was gone except for the ghost tours on the front lawn. It is the most peaceful up there at night. I always listen to the hum of the motor in the rotation room and watch the wheels track under the lens. It is the best way to know if anything is wrong with the light. There were Coast Guard guys stationed here in WWII and they were up on the tower round the clock standing lookout for Nazi U-boats off the coast. Not sure what they did at night since you can’t see much of anything offshore without a moon or a light on a vessel. There was no moon that night, but I stood at the rail for a while anyway before going down.

Kind-a like sitting in the seat.

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