Showing Archived Posts

Where Ships Go to Die

Posted September 28th, 2012 at 1:09 pm (UTC-4)

It’s a good thing that U.S. warships are inanimate objects and don’t have feelings.  When their seagoing days are done, the end for most of them is not pretty.   Now it’s true that a few are sold to friendly foreign governments and are still sailing the deep blue seas.   And 48 U.S. Navy […]

Ellis: Isle of Joy and Despair

Posted August 17th, 2012 at 6:35 pm (UTC-4)
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In the give and take over immigration policy in this country, it is sometimes correctly pointed out that we are all immigrants to this land.  Or descendants of one.  Even American Indians trace their lineage to peoples who crossed a land bridge from Asia. And at least one-third — some say 40 percent — of […]

Posted in American History

Rough Journey on the Underground Railroad

Posted August 9th, 2012 at 6:21 pm (UTC-4)

I have just returned from a cross-country trip, west to east.  I flew to California to collect Carol, who had spent the better part of three months taking photographs in that vast and varied state, and it was time to drive her and her caravan’s worth of equipment home. We crossed through drought country — […]

The (Long) Forgotten War

Posted June 21st, 2012 at 5:52 pm (UTC-4)

We call the Korean War of 1950-53 “The Forgotten War,” because most Americans were busy buying homes and cars and refrigerators and trying to forget World War II, which had ended a few years earlier. But much longer forgotten is a war whose 200th anniversary we’re marking this week. Not very rousingly, either, except in […]

On California’s Royal Road, Traces of ‘New Spain’

Posted April 27th, 2012 at 7:04 pm (UTC-4)
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In the late 18th Century, Catholic missionaries moved north from the Spanish colony of Mexico into what is now the U.S. state of California. They called it the Viceroyalty of Alta California — Upper California, since there already was a “California” in the vast Spanish colony of New Spain.  It was the long, skinny peninsula […]

Remembering at the Korean War Memorial

Posted March 29th, 2012 at 6:00 pm (UTC-4)

More than 54,000 Americans died in the Korean War, or “conflict,” as it was referred to, from 1950 through 1953.  Or died of their injuries later.  Half a million South Koreans and other United Nations troops fell, and more than 1 million GIs and their allies brought home wounds and nightmares and other terrible souvenirs […]

Guiding Lights

Posted March 14th, 2012 at 3:10 pm (UTC-4)

It has been said that lighthouses, casting a glow over the dark, mysterious sea, are to America what castles are to Europe — treasured landmarks — although there are lighthouses dating to Roman antiquity there, too.  In the Western Hemisphere, remains of crude lighthouses built by Central American Mayan people date to the 13th Century. […]

Depression Ethic

Posted February 10th, 2012 at 7:28 pm (UTC-4)

I’m a Tweener.  Not an 11- or 12-year-old between childhood and teenage years, certainly, but a child of what’s been called “The Smallest Generation,” born during World War II between the Depression-era “Greatest Generation” and the postwar “Baby Boomer” generation. We war-baby Tweeners would have had to be pretty precocious to know about the war […]

The Avenue of Presidents

Posted January 5th, 2012 at 12:11 pm (UTC-4)
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Have you ever seen one of those clever little historical markers that says something like this? On October 23rd, 1846 At This Location, Nothing Happened. I could write something like that about the place we call “America’s Main Street.” Not much is going on right now on Pennsylvania Avenue.  Of course, a whole lot has […]

Time in a Capsule

Posted December 15th, 2011 at 7:28 pm (UTC-4)
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In 1973, troubadour Jim Croce wrote and sang about “Time in a Bottle.”  If he could seal time in one, he explained in song, “The first thing that I’d like to do/ Is to save every day ’til eternity passes away/ Just to spend them with you.” There have been plenty of similar love notes […]

Ted Landphair


This is a far-ranging exploration of American life by a veteran Voice of America “Americana” reporter and essayist.

Ted writes about the thousands of places he has visited and written about as a broadcaster and book author. Ted Landphair’s America often showcases the work of his wife and traveling companion, renowned American photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

Ted welcomes feedback, questions, and ideas. View Ted’s profile. Watch a video about Ted and Carol by VOA’s Nico Colombant.

Photos by Carol M. Highsmith


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