Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day and Thank You, Nancy and Ron

"I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress."

Ronald Reagan

I hardly ever watch tv, but when I have the opportunity, I like PBS. I was lucky enough to have a chance to catch Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime on PBS. I like Kennedy also, and even though he and Reagan were on opposite ends of the political spectrum, all they had to have in common was one thing: horses.
It couldn't hurt that I have always admired their wives' fashion, flair and poise, either.
I was in my twenties when Reagan was in office, going through lots of trials and tribulations of my own. My grandfather, who was a huge presence in my life, became ill and I was laid off from a job I thought I was going to have for many years to come. Things were changing way too much for my liking, and I was so absorbed in all of it that I never really focused on the White House during much of that time.

Almost twenty five years later, I am finally seeing what I missed all those years ago. And what strikes me the most after watching this documentary is the incredible love and intimacy that Ron and Nancy had for each other. You may not be a fan of either, but after watching this, it might leave you with a yearning for wanting to be loved like that. Nancy once said,“What can you say about a man, who on Mother’s Day sends flowers to his mother-in-law, with a note thanking her for making him the happiest man on Earth?” If you have an hour, I highly recommend taking the time to see this. You just might gain some valuable insights and even learn a thing or two.

"The Measure of Our Success"

I think one of the coolest things about cyber school is being able to learn along side my daughters every day. While I was physically present for my education, mentally, I was not around much. For me, this is a very special gift; a second chance for me to re-discover so many things I did not take the time to retain when I was younger.

I can't tell you how fascinating it is to hear about other people; the lives they led, their families, who they loved, and who loved them. It inspires me beyond words to hear about their legacies and their views of life.

One day, my oldest daughter was working on a unit about ethical appeal. She had to read a passage from "The Measure of Our Success" written by Marian Wright Edelman. I was so thrilled to see my daughter shared the same feelings with me upon completion of the reading. She smiled and told me that it made her want to work even harder on her schoolwork and harp lessons. (I have to confide I have a HUGE fear of what my children will have to deal in their lives if something should happen to me or Rick-after all, everything can be so unpredictable at best; we want to give them all the tools we can to be able to handle anything that challenges them.) I know they are strong, capable young women, but in many ways, today's world is so complicated compared to the past and I want them to be prepared. Enter Marian Wright Edelman. All I can say, is, what perfect timing and wise words for living life the way the good Lord intended. For the sake of keeping this post as short as possible, here is one of the most powerful pieces of literature you can share with any child; and again, THANK YOU, MARIAN!

Taken from "The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours"

Six Lessons for Life

The first lesson is there is no free lunch.... Please don't feel entitled to anything you don't sweat and struggle for. Help our nation understand that it is not entitled to world leadership based on the past or on what we say rather than how well we perform and meet changing world needs....Remember not to be lazy. Do your homework. Pay attention to detail. Take care and pride in your work. Take the initiative in creating your own opportunity and do not wait around for other people to discover you or do you a favor. Don't assume a door is closed; push on it. Don't assume if it was closed yesterday that it is closed today. Don't ever stop learning and improving your mind. If you do, you're going to be left behind.

The second lesson is to assign yourself. My daddy couldn't stand to see us unengaged in constructive work. And he used to ask us when we had come home from school, "Did the teacher give you any homework?" If we'd say no, he'd say, "Well, assign yourself some." Don't wait around for your boss or your friends or teachers to direct you to do what you're able to figure out and do for yourself. And don't do just as little as you can to get by. And as you grow up and become citizens please don't be a political bystander and grumbler. I really hope every one of you will register to vote and vote every time. A democracy is not a spectator sport. And if you see a need, please don't ask, "Why somebody doesn't do something?" Ask "Why don't I do something?" Initiative and persistence are still the non-magic carpets to success for most of us.

The third lesson: Never work just for money. Money alone won't save your soul or build a decent family life or help you sleep at night. We're the richest nation on Earth, with the highest number of imprisoned people in the world. Our drug addictions and child poverty [rates] are among the highest in the industrialized world. So don't ever confuse wealth or fame with character. And don't tolerate or condone moral corruption, whatever it is and whether it is found in high or low places. Be honest and demand that those who represent you be honest. And don't ever confuse morality with legality. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Martin Luther King told us, "everything Hitler did in Nazi Germany was legal, but it was not moral." Don't give anybody the proxy for your conscience.

The fourth lesson: Don't be afraid of taking risks or of being criticized. An anonymous saying is, "If you don't want to be criticized, don't do anything, don't say anything and don't be anything." Don't be afraid of failing; it is the way you learn to do things right. Don't be afraid of falling down; just keep getting up. And don't wait for everybody to come along to get something done. It's always a few people who get things done and keep things going. Our country and our world desperately need more wise and courageous shepherds and fewer sheep who do not borrow from integrity to fund expediency.

Fifth lesson: : Take parenting and family life seriously, and insist that those you work for and who represent you do so....I hope you will stress family rituals and be moral examples for your children, because if you cut corners, they will, too. If you lie, they will, too.....If you tell racial or gender jokes or snicker at them, another generation will pass on the poison that our adult generaton still does not have the courage to stop doing.

Sixth Lesson: "Listen for the sound of the genuine" within yourself. "Small," Einstein said, "is the number of them who see with their own eyes and feel with their own heart." Try to be one of them. There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in [yourself]. And it is the only true guide [you] will ever have. If you cannot hear it in yourself, you will spend all of your life on the end of strings that somebody else pulls. Today, there are just so many noises and so many competing pulls on us. I hope that you'll find ways and times and spaces to be silent to listen to yourselves and to listen for other people.

Last lesson: Never think life is not worth living or that you can't make a difference. Never give up. I don't care how hard it gets, and it will get very hard sometimes. An old proverb says, "When you get to your wit's end, that's where God lives."

I hope you will share this with someone special today. XO Andi

Reprinted with permission from Glencoe Literature, "Reading with Purpose" Copyright 2007 McGraw Hill, Columbus,Ohio

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Monuments of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry Company B "Adams County Cavalry" and "Bell's Cavalry"

The girls and I were headed to the barn one snowy day last week and I had an opportunity to take a picture of one of two monuments on Baltimore Pike (Route 97) that have always caught our eye, (they have horses on them, mom!) however the lighting or timing has never been good. This has always been a great way for our family to learn more about all the beautiful memorials in and around the battlefield and of course, about the battle itself. (Just don't remind them of how I pulled over randomly onto the shoulder to snap this shot-a little bold given there was hardly a shoulder at all thanks to the snow plows-thank God there was no traffic-I promise I wouldn't have done it otherwise, really) and decided now is as good a time as any to research a little more about them.
Here's what we discovered:

"Company B of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry, known as the "Adams County Cavalry" during Gettysburg and as "Bell's Cavalry" after the Campaign, has two monuments, both of which are within 30 yards of each other on the Baltimore Pike. They are on the east side of the road and in the area that was known as "McAllister's Field," about 200 yards south of Colgrove Avenue and across from Powers Hill.

The 21st was organized to serve six months, just prior to the battle, as part of the general militia mobilization to meet the threat of General Robert E. Lee's invasion of the State. It was recruited from volunteers who were already at Harrisburg for the purpose of mustering into a unit, and was made up of a small nucleus of veterans of the 21st Cavalry as well as militia-trained youngsters from the immediate boroughs surrounding Gettysburg. The unit was organized from the counties of Adams, Cumberland, Chester, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York. The members were mustered in at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, and in Philadelphia, on June 21, 1863. The commander of the Adams County Cavalry was Captain Robert Bell. On June 24, in Gettysburg, Major Granville O. Haller officially swore in the unit for State service for a term of six months. They became Company B of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry in August.
Bell was born in Menallen Township in northern Adams County in 1830, descended from Scots-Irish settlers from the mid-1700's. Several of his ancestors had served during the Revolution. When Bell enlisted in his company in June of 1863, he was married to Abigail King, and was a farmer. He served through the war until July 1865 and returned to farming, also working as a cashier in Gettysburg's bank.
A citizen of Adams County, George W. Sandoe, enlisted in the Adams County Cavalry. However, his service would be short-lived. On the evening of June 25, 1863, the unit moved into town and picketed all the roads north, east, and south. Bell was given the assignment of moving west toward Chambersburg to reconnoiter as far as Cashtown. They then moved back into Gettysburg after spotting advanced Confederate Cavalry along the Chambersburg Pike. They posted videttes throughout the town on the morning of the 26th to cover all approaches. Accompanying Captain Bell was Major C.M. Knox, adjutant to Major Granville O. Haller, commanding officer of the District of Susquehanna. On Major Knox's request, most of Bell's cavalry company pulled back amid light skirmishing as the 26th Pennsylvania Militia also withdrew. The troopers successfully covered the flanks of the 26th Militia as that unit pulled back on the railroad grading through town. As elements of Confederate General Jubal Early's Division entered the town of Gettysburg, the first Confederate force to do so during the Campaign, one of Early's brigadiers, John B. Gordon, sent out pickets to patrol the roads radiating from the town to the south and east. In this vicinity were green troopers of the Adams County Cavalry, who had failed to get the order to pull back. Private Sandoe was posted on the Baltimore Pike near the Nathaniel Lightener home, sitting on his horse and talking with Daniel Lightener, son of Nathaniel. A scrub growth of bushes and trees blocked the view of Confederate pickets from Colonel Elijah White's 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry from them. The pickets ordered them to surrender. Sandoe's companions jumped their horses back over a fence and escaped. As Sandoe tried to do the same while firing, his horse stumbled and fell. Recovering, Sandoe spurred the horse, trying to escape, but was shot in the head and lay dying in the Pike, just two miles from his home. Just six days after enlisting in the Union Army, and only three days after being mustered in, Sandoe became the first Union casualty in the Gettysburg area during the Campaign. Thousands more would follow him just days later. Sandoe today is interred in the Mount Joy Church Cemetery in Mount Joy, Adams County, just south of Gettysburg.He is shown in the photograph taken soon after his wedding with his wife Anna Caskey Sandoe. This view was taken circa 1862 and is courtesy of Fred Hawthone.

Elizabeth Thorn, caretaker of Gettysburg's Evergreen Cemetery in her husband's absence, left an account from the trooper of White's Battalion who shot Sandoe. As the trooper afterward led Sandoe's horse toward the Cemetery, he was asked about the extra horse. "Yes," replied the Virginian, "the -- shot at me, but he did not hit me, and I shot him and blowed him down like nothing, and here I got his horse and he lays down the pike."

The strength of the Adams County Cavalry was 76. Sandoe was the one trooper killed, 9 were wounded, and two missing. The troopers carried Sharps and Burnside carbines, with Colt .44 revolvers.

Both of the monuments are located in the area where Sandoe was shot and killed. The monument above on the right was erected first, and is the State Memorial, using state appropriation in the amount of $1500. Atop the base is a highly polished granite ball inset with a sculpture of a mount's head. A year later, veterans of the unit erected the second monument, above left, atop a cluster of boulders slightly further south on the Pike. Funds for this monument were raised privately, the motivation likely being that this would allow officers of the unit to place their names on this monument (at the time, no names were permitted on state-appropriated monuments).

The first monument was dedicated on October 5, 1893, and was sculpted by Edwin Elwell. It is made of Connecticut granite. The second monument was dedicated on October 4, 1894, containing a sculpture of a horse's head inside a large horseshoe, and tells the story of Private Sandoe.

After the battle, in August, Bell's company was made Company B of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry as was detailed as Provost Guard on the Gettysburg Battlefield. They were ordered to search for misappropriated government property under the direction of the quartermaster in town. Bell acted as Provost Marshal at Gettysburg until at least December, 1863, with his company performing the duties of military police and sentinels in the town and at Camp Letterman, the Federal hospital established north of town."
Courtesy of J. David Petruzzi from his website the Buford's Boys

What I'm Reading This Week....

Aaaah, the sun is shining, the wind is dying down, no work or appointments today-just helping the girls with their schoolwork. I think I will enjoy one of my very favorite things to do, READ! And because I can't bear to keep such fantastic literature to myself, I want to share an excerpt from Billy Collin's "The Trouble With Poetry"


I lie in a bedroom of a house
that was built in 1862, we were told-
the two windows still facing east
into the bright reveille of the sun.

The early birds are chirping,
and I think of those who have slept here before,
the family we bought the house from....

and the engineer they told us about
who lived here alone before them,
the one who built onto the back
of the house a large glassy room with wood beams.

I have an old photograph of the house
in blacck and white, a few small trees
and a curved dirt driveway,
but I do not know who lived here then.

So I go back to the Civil War
and to the farmer who built the house
and the rough stone walls
that encompass the house and run up into the woods.....

I love the feeling of having so many glorious books and not knowing which one to pick up first. May all of you experience this at least once in your life! Have a wonderful day XO, Andi