Memorial Day weekend has always been three days of remembering our veterans that have fought for our freedom in the USA. BBQ parties, The Indy 500, Monaco Grand Prix, and the Coke 600 Nascar race have been part of my holiday weekend since childhood. We get to enjoy all of these things because of the people that have fought for our freedom over and over again. Thank you to everybody that has served and fought for our freedom.
Saturday at Clinton Square in Syracuse, NY the local Sikh community put on their first of many SIKH Day Celebrations. I was hired to shoot this one day event by a local DR. to cover everything that went on during the festival. My wife and I packed up my camera gear and headed to The ” Salt City” for the day. I was excited to cover this event, I love shooting , but events like this are always fun to do because I’m never sure what to expect.
Today was no different, I wasn’ t sure how many people would be in attendance at Clinton Square. We arrived around 11:00 am, and there was already a line for Free Food. Yes I said Free Food. How many festivals have you gone to were it was free admission and they served free food all day? I try to start shooting as I enter a event.Besides the long food line I noticed a lot of bright colors. All of the SIKH men wear colorful turbins and the women are covered in beautiful dresses and head wear. Clinton square was popping with bright colors and toe tapping Indian Music. Philly C from Homer, NY was on hand playing music for the large crowd that was forming.
We wondered around to see all of the items on display under the big tents that were erected in the square. There were some awesome pictures on display showing the SIKh temple in India, and also scenes of warriors that fought for their freedom through out history. Along with the pictures they had big shiny swords on display that the Warriors used in battle.
After a while we noticed the place was really filling up with locals from the city. The food line was 20-25 deep all day long. They served Indian food, along with subs (veggie) and pizza without meat. Sikhs do not eat meat they are vegetarians. I noticed that most of the visitors were homeless or less fortunate. This really opened my eyes about how we live in this country. We should not have homeless people in the greatest country in the world. We talked to some of the organizers of the celebration about the great thing that they were doing here, and they said that part of their religious beliefs is to serve. Well I have to say they did great job of serving all day. Foods, drinks, free tee-shirts, entertainment, and just good company for a few hours is what they offered to everybody that visited.
Around high noon some young men dressed in bright colored clothing came out and performed for the ever growing crowd. They entertained us with their traditional Bhanagra Dance. The men danced to their very powerful Indian music that is dominated buy huge sounding drums. As I looked around I could see that the visitors really loved what they were watching.
Soon after the Bhanagra Dance was over a handful of guys dressed in yellow garb, and carring all kinds of weapons entered the area to perform some martial arts that their ancestors used during war time.The crowd started gathering closer to the area to get a better look at what was on the table that they had set up. Each man would come up to the tables, and choose a weapon to use in a display of hand to hand combat. Every move was calculated making sure no one was hurt during this performance.
With all the colors, clothes, and beards, there were plenty of opportunities to capture great images. It was a wonderful event to cover, and I am glad I had the opportunity to cover it. That’s why I am writing this blog post so maybe more people will give to the community, and give thanks to our veterans that sacrificed their own lives so we can live ours as we do today. It took a group of Americans from another country to show us how we can use our freedom to help other Americans.
We could all learn from the SIKHS and their generosity. This photo shoot helped open my eyes to some issues that need to be addressed in this wonderful country. So on this Memorial Day weekend give thanks to our Vetrans, and think about what you can do as a free American to give a hand up to someone in need.
Visit my site to view all of the images from Saturday’s event at John Zachary Photography I used both of my Fuji cameras to cover this entire event.
Well thank you for stopping by