Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wednesday's Hero

This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Jenn
Staff Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr.
Staff Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr.36 years old from Alhambra, California2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry DivisionMarch 21, 2007"He was a really patriotic young man", said Darrell Griffin Sr. "He said that the people there really needed us and he felt it was the right place to be. He wished we didn’t have to have wars, but since that’s the way mankind is, he felt he was contributing an important part to his country".SSgt. Griffin lost his life in Balad, Iraq when his unit came under fire as it was returning to base after conducting security operations in the Iraqi capital.The eldest son of six children, SSgt. Griffin worked as an EMT before joining the California Army National Guard in 1999. He enlisted in the Army two years later, and in July 2001, was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, in Ft. Lewis, Washington. He served with that unit in Iraq from October 2004 to September 2005.On his second tour of duty, SSgt. Griffin had been awarded the Bronze Star for valor in 2005 when he was credited with saving the lives of three U.S. and two Iraqi Army soldiers injured during battle in Tal Afar. He had also received the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Parachute Badge, and the Meritorious Unit Citation."Griff was the type of man you want to have by your side in a fight," Maj. Brent Clemmer, his former company commander, wrote from Iraq. "He was the type of squad leader every young soldier wants to have"."Darrell was my husband, my Soldier, my gift from God who was also the love of my life and always will be." Said his wife, Diana. "He was also 'a Soldier's Soldier of Strength and Honor' whose commitment to duty, honor and loyalty will be forever remembered by all who know and love him. The news of his death saddens us deeply and we ask for your prayers in our time of grief. Please also continue to keep our Soldiers in your prayers
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People LivedThis post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here. -- Indian

Monday, June 25, 2007

Gettysburg Battlefield Views

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Eternal Flame At Gettysburg

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Gettysburg, Dobbins Tavern, Keller, Mervine

I was out in Gettysburg this past weekend at a convention but took the opportunity to do a little genealogy/history on Sunday before I headed back home to Philadelphia.

In 1990, I came across my maternal great great grandfather's name on a monument located out in the area's battlefield. John Keller fought with the 15th New York and one of the battles he fought was here in Gettysburg. I took several pictures of the exact location where his regiment fought.

It is a humbling experience to have stood in the exact location where my own ancestor stood in with gun in hand and/or manning a cannon in this war between states. I also found the monument for the 68th Pennsylvania regiment where my great great grandfather on my paternal side, Alexander Mervine fought in during the Civil War. However, his name was not listed with the group who fought this Battle of Gettysburg even though folklore stated he was indeed at this battle. I took a picture of this list to show that his name was not listed. Unless they forgot to list his name, I can assume Alexander Mervine was not at Gettysburg.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some history on a tavern that I have eaten at on more than a few occasions while out in Gettysburg. This tavern fascinated me because it has been maintained in its original state in the basement of this 1776 building complete with wax burning candles that provided light. The tavern is called Dobbins House and currently it contains nine Bed & Breakfast rooms, a ballroom, dining room, country store and tavern (which is where we ate at) in the main and adjoining buildings on the property.


Reverend Alexander Dobbin and The Historic Dobbin House

"Four Score and Seven Years" before President Lincoln delivered his immortal Gettysburg Address (1863-87=1776), Gettysburg's oldest and most historic building, the Dobbin House, was built. Just imagine the residents of the then eighty-seven year old house who probably sat on the balcony to watch as Lincoln delivered his speech on a bluff a few hundred yards away at the National Cemetery!

Reverend Alexander Dobbin, who built the Dobbin House, was an early frontier pioneer who helped settle and civilize the area. Born in Ireland in 1742, he grew to be a man of keen foresight, a person highly respected by his peers, an educator of men of stature, a Minister and a rugged individual who played a major role in the founding of Gettysburg. After studying the classics in Ireland, Dobbin and his bride, Isabella Gamble, set sail for a new life in the New World. Shortly after his arrival in America, he became pastor of the Rock Creek Presbyterian Church, located one mile north of what is now Gettysburg.

In 1774, the Dobbin purchased 300 acres of land in and around what is now the town of Gettysburg and commenced construction of a farm and the Dobbin House, for use as their dwelling and as a Classical School, today's equivalent of a combined theological seminary and liberal arts college. Dobbin's school was the first of its kind in America west of the Susquehanna River, an academy which enjoyed an excellent reputation for educating many professional men of renown.

Rev. Dobbin needed a large house for his school and family, for his Irish wife had borne him ten children before her early death. He remarried to the widow, Mary Agnew, who already had nine children of her own!

Rev. Dobbin, a short, stout, smiling gentleman who wore a white wig, became a highly respected community leader, as well as minister and educator. He worked diligently to establish in 1800 an autonomous Adams County, which originally was a part of neighboring York County. Thereafter, he was one of two appointed commissioners to chose Gettysburg as the new county seat.

In the mid-1800's, a secret crawl space, featured in "National Geographic", served as a "station" for hiding runaway slaves on their perilous journey to freedom on the "Underground Railroad." After the battle of Gettysburg ceased, and the armies had departed, it served as a hospital for wounded soldiers of both the North and the South.

Today the historic house appears virtually the same as it did over 200 years ago. Its native stone walls, seven fireplaces, and hand carved woodwork have been painstakingly restored to their original beauty and character, with interior decor in the traditional eighteenth century manner. Many of the home's antique furnishings are identical to those listed in the inventory of Rev. Dobbin's estate. The china and flatware exactly match fragments which were unearthed during the re-excavation of the cellar. The servant's period-clothing is completely authentic right down to the tie on pockets!

As a truly authentic colonial tavern, patrons of the Dobbin House may "eat, drink and be merry".

Saturday, June 16, 2007


That what goes around comes around and I for one believe it. Take this morning for instance; I dropped Shaun off at camp at 8am. Today was his first day of camp and though he was excited about going to this camp when we arrived and entered the building, he got scared and started to cry.

I automatically went into "mother mode", the nurturer, the caretaker, the protector. I told him I would stay until he felt comfortable with his new surroundings and new friends. I also told him if he wanted to come home early, the teacher will call me and I will be right back to pick him up.

Crisis Averted.

Shaun is my "almost 6 year old" grandson but being at the camp this morning brought back memories of when I used to take my own children to camp and the fears they had about meeting new people. Even the most "outgoing and friendly" child is a little bit afraid of something new and unknown. Standing with Shaun at the camp this morning brought back all those feelings of having and raising small children and in my case "male" small children. It is funny how I find myself in that same exact position twenty years or more later.

Today, my son started a new job. Today, Nikolas started a daycare/daycamp program. He has had his father home the last two and a half years. My son became the primary caretaker of his two sons after the birth of Nikolas. By the time Nikolas was born, Shaun had started preschool. My daughter-in-law, Trish had a position in the banking industry and was currently made vice-president of her department. Both agreed that one parent should stay home until Nikolas reached preschool age and that is exactly what they did. Nikolas will be three years old in November.

When my son decided to go back to work (he is an electrician), I told him I would help with the dropping off and picking up of his children if he picked programs near where I live. Lucky for all of us, there were several good programs located in the area. Nikolas is attending a regular daycare program for his age group while Shaun is attending a regular daycamp. Both are in differeent locations but not too far away. Since Shaun will be attending first grade in the Fall, he did not need daycare but daycamp. Nikolas on the other hand required an all year round daycare program.

The only drawback to Shaun's program is there will be two weeks at the end of the summer where camp ends but school does not begin. I am sure I will help out as much as I can in those two weeks. Actually, I just had Shaun the last three nights here. He begged to stay and of course I agreed and since then I have had a fulltime "almost 6 year old" at my house and to say we have "spoiled him" would be an understatement. But along with the shopping trips, out for meals and movies, I did take him over to the library and had him pick out three books to read which he did and which we read. I told him that we will be taking weekly library trips to get books to read. I limit his video game access because if it were up to him he would play video games a good deal of the day. Time to love books as much as video games. As a lover of books myself, I cannot imagine any grandchild of mine not loving them (books) as much.

What goes around comes around. Like Shaun, I always enjoyed spending carefree days with my grandparents. There is something so special about the love of a grandparent that a grandchild flocks too. Some of my best memories as a child and even a teenager were in the home of my grandparents. I can still vividly remember the unconditional love they had bestowed on me and in all honestly I do not think I could ever do anything wrong in their eyes that would justify them taking that love away. To be loved like that is simply the most amazing experience.

I remember summer walks for ice cream cones and long evenings spent outside on the front steps. I remember being in the kitchen kneeling on the chair watching my grandmother roll dough to make pies and cakes. She always got a little flour on herself. I remember helping her wash clothes with an old wringer washer in the back shed that lead out into the backyard where she hung out the clothes to dry in the nice weather. If the weather was poor, she hung the clothes in the basement. I remember cuddling up on the sofa in the parlor (that is what she called it) with my grandfather as we watched the tiny screened black & white television set in that East Falls house on Ridge Avenue where not only my Gallagher grandparents lived but where my Schroeder great grandparents lived before them. The same house where my grandmother Marie Schroeder Weleski was laid out before her burial across the street at Laurel Hill cemetery. That house had so much history. So many memories.

Anyway, I am so very lucky that I have this close relationship with my grandchildren as I had with my own grandparents. Though it feels like a juggling act at times because I want to spend the same amount of time equally with all three, I know I tend to spend the most time with Shaun because he happens to be the eldest. He is also the one who does not wear diapers or throw temper tantrums.

I know. I know. Your day will come my sweet Nikolas and my precious Ava. Just remember this Mom Mom is not as young as she once was.

Friday, June 15, 2007

If You Are Interested In Genealogy

Check out this site.

Though it is basically about one family's history, there are informational links on her site for other genealogists that may be helpful. Make sure you scroll down to the end of her website to find those "helpful links".

Saturday, June 09, 2007

She's Here

Ava Marie was born June 9th, 2007 at approx 1030p and weighed in at 6lbs, 14oz.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

This Weeks Soldiers Were Suggested By Mary Ann
Col. David Sutherland
Col. David Sutherland(Left)45 Years Old From Toledo, OhioCommander, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry DivisionSince being deployed to the Diyala province of Iraq in November 2006, Col. David Sutherland, along with brigade Chaplain Maj. Charlie Fenton, pictured on the right, has made it a point to visit every wounded soldier and say goodbye to each and everyone of his men who've lost their life. Four of his soldiers died on one day in April 2007 and the bad news arrived at his office in waves -- a knock on the door, a note handed in by an aide, heads bowed, knowing glances exchanged. Aides say Sutherland walks to the mortuary affairs tent at his base and embraces the dead bodies of his men. "I hug all my fallen soldiers", said Sutherland. "They are my own". Diyala province is one of the worst places in Iraq. Public beheadings of Iraqi police, tribal wars, sectarian wars and al-Qaida. "I didn't come here thinking it'd be easy. No one told me, 'You're gonna get 9 hours of sleep a night and you're not gonna lose soldiers'. But I believe this is the place for me.""As a soldier, I want to be here on the ground," he said. "As an American, I want it to end."For more information about Col. Sutherland, visit this page.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People LivedThis post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.-- Indian Chris