Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Honoring Their Sacrifice

This scene may look like it jumped out from a history book, as it is a Civil War Confederate encampment on a grassy knoll, next to a large pond, but it happened within view of this present day scene that was not very far away....

The Green-Wood Heights section of Brooklyn, New York, with the iconic skyscraper skyline of lower Manhattan within view. ( All photos will enlarge if double clicked on)

This past Memorial Day weekend there were many events that took place in historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY, to honor the sacrifice of the war casualties and veterans of the Civil War.  This year is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the war.  The Civil War resulted in more fatalities in the United Stated than any other conflict,combined.
Through The Civil War Project, Green-Wood Cemetery has identified over 4,600 Civil War veterans graves, third only to Arlington National Cemetery and West Point.

The Union reenactors encampment.

The Union reenactor encampment was located on the outside perimeter of the cemetery. Green-Wood Cemetery dates back to 1838, and it's elaborate Gothic Arch entrance can been seen in the photo above. The cemetery is 478 acres and contains 560,000 permanent residents.

Led by cavalry, reenactors, and musicians, there was a procession through the cemetery on Sunday, May 29 at 7 PM  which passed thousands of candlelit graves of Civil War Veterans.

Some of the Confederate reenactor marchers joining in. There are 76 identified Confederate veterans buried in the cemetery, including two Confederate Generals. The rest of the 4,600 were Union soldiers.

Union reenactors marchers from the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, known in the Civil War as "DuryƩe's Zouaves."

Almost a thousand people attended this special event. As we all marched in the cemetery we passed many reenactors standing at attention along the cemetery paths to honor the Civil War Veterans.

One personal, and  touching moment for my husband occurred earlier in the day while working with fellow volunteers who were placing flags and luminaries on the known Civil War Veteran's graves.  They were working from maps that had taken months of prior volunteer work to pinpoint each grave sites of the 4,600 men  My husband was working in a section of the cemetery where the headstones were laying horizontally, and as he was trying to locate one last name on the map, he came across the grave of this young man who was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg.  He was not yet listed as a Civil War soldier in the cemetery's database, so my husband felt very grateful that this young man's grave had been found and honored, literally by accident, because of this event.

As the sun went down and the parade continued through the cemetery, the luminaries began to glow and light the graves.

Many of the Civil War Veteran's did not even have a gravestone before the Civil War Project project began nine years ago. Through the effort of  hundreds of volunteers, doing countless hours of research, they were identified, and stones were ordered from the Veteran's Administration to honor these men who served their country.

As night fell, and the parade was completed,  evening ended in Civil War era songs and music.  It was a very memorable evening, and one of three special events that went on at the cemetery this Memorial Day weekend

The Green-Wood Cemetery historian, Jeff Richman, curated a beautiful and extensive Civil War memorabilia exhibit called "Honoring Their Sacrifice,"which is located in the chapel inside the cemetery, and which will be open to the public until June 12, 2011.

There are fascinating artifacts on display. This uniform jacket of John Whitson Seaman on exhibit is missing an arm, as he was wounded in battle and the field doctor had to cut off his sleeve to access the wound to save his life. If you could see the actual size of this uniform you would think a child wore it as it is so tiny.

An authentic drummer boy drum.  The first casualty of  the Civil War for the New York Regiment in 1861 was the 12 year old drummer boy, Clarence McKenzie, killed by friendly fire in Maryland. I've blogged about Clarence on a prior post you can read at this link.

Some of the papers and drawings of Captain Samuel Sim.  Sims was in command of the 51st during its attack on Confederate fortifications at the Crater, Petersburg, Virginia, on July 30, 1864. He was killed in battle while heroically leading his men.

Sims was interred at Green-Wood Cemetery on August 17, 1864. He left behind his fiancee, Caroline Eliza (Carrie) Dayton. Carrie Dayton never married and kept a large collection of the letters Sims had sent to her and other mementos he had passed on to her. She died in 1911. Other letters written by Sims to his sister Lucretia during the Civil War, along with his commissions and drawings, were passed down in his family until the family line ended with the last descendant.

In 1993 charities inherited the estate of this last descendant, and Sim's papers were thrown into the garbage! Fortunately, they were rescued from the trash bins outside the California house by a woman who recognized them as antique documents. Many of the documents were purchased by the great nephew of Carrie Dayton, Stuart MacPherson, who had inherited his great aunt's collection of Sim's mementos.

The Green-Wood Historic Fund has acquired the MacPherson collection of Sim's mementos, and they will never again be in danger of being lost or destroyed.
Original photos of Civil War Generals, Captians, and enlisted men.

Just a small portion of the many artifacts to be seen in the Honoring Their Sacrifice exhibit.

This  brief New York One News video shows coverage of the event. I found what the woman reenactor said about the role women played in the war very interesting, and I'm sure you will too!

Linking this post to "Outdoor Wednesday" event on Susan's blog A Southern Daydreamer. Thanks, Susan! Click the link to see the links to the many blogs participating this week.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day -- Civil War Sesquicentennial

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" ~ John 15:13

On this Memorial Day may we remember the military men and women who have laid down their life for us, so that we may live free.

May we also remember all who serve today, and those who have come home wounded and maimed.

We owe them a great debt and our greatest respect.

Remembering their great sacrifice.

All of the photos above were taken at the Korean War Memorial at Brighton Park (where Park Place meets the Boardwalk) in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Two brothers, one Union (left) , one Confederate (right), mortally wounded at the same battle at Petersburg, Virginia, and laid to rest side by side in Green-Wood Cemetery. New Federal issue gravestones were erected through the Green-Wood Civil War Project to augment the original gravestones, which are now illegible from weather damage. This year marks the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, and there will be special remembrances, countrywide, to honor the men lost in that war.

Green-Wood Cemetery -- Memorial Day 2007

Memorial Day begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War. One hundred and fifty years ago, on April 12, 1861, at 4:30 a.m., secessionist batteries surrounding Fort Sumter began their artillery bombardment of Union forces, and the Civil War had begun.
If you are in the vicinity of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, this weekend you should make an effort to attend at least one of the two day memorial services that will take place to honor the more than 4,500 identified Civil War Veterans, both Union and Confederate, that are buried there. Volunteers have marked the graves of all the veterans with American flags and luminaries.  On Sunday evening there will be a Calvary horse procession, led by Civil War re-enactors, past the candle lit graves as musicians and singers perform Civil War songs. On Monday there will be a march to the major Civil War Soldiers Lot and descendants of Civil War soldiers buried in Green-Wood Cemetery will read the names of their ancestors. Ceremonies include artillery rifle salutes and musical tributes.

Both events will be very memorable!

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Third Birthday to Pink Saturday

This Saturday will be the third birthday of Beverly's "Pink Saturday" event on her blog How Sweet the Sound!  Congratulations, Beverly, on hosting such a fun, long lasting event and filling so many blogs with the color pink each week! 
I know that the photo above has caused many young women looking for pink bridesmaids dresses to visit my blog through Google images, ever since my first contribution to Pink Saturday, as it is my most popular post according to Blogger stats.
My daughter is the tallest bridesmaid in this photo that I took at her friend's wedding in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, four years ago.

Pink Saturday has encouraged me to be on the lookout for the color pink in my daily life, both in New York City and my travels.  More than once, I've excitedly spotted something unexpectedly in the color pink and snapped a photo thinking that: "This will be perfect for this week's Pink Saturday post!"

I was also thrilled to be part of the special Pink Saturday feature done in Artful Blogging Magazine where my Pink chandelier photo was one of the photos chosen to be published!

Through the years of Pink Saturday I've made quite a few pink flower collages so I'd like to share a few special ones again. The pink cherry blossom photos above were taken in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

This assortment of pink roses were also found in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

A beautiful assortment of pink flowers in Wagner Park along the Battery Park esplanade in Manhattan.

Pink orchids at the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden located in the Bronx.

Thank you, Beverly, for bringing pink into my world!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Above the Clouds in the Willis Tower

Where can you see sights like this, where you feel as if you are looking out onto a heavenly landscape?  (All photos will enlarge if double clicked on, use your back arrow to return to the post)

That is what the views looked like that day my husband and I visited the observation deck of the Willis Tower  (formally known as the Sears Tower) located in Chicago. Standing at 1,450 feet and 110 stories high, Willis Tower is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The building held the record for the world’s tallest building in the world for 25 years until the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia were built in 1998. In 2000, one of the building’s antennas was extended to 1,729 feet, making it again the world’s tallest building to the tip of its antenna. The building held this title until early 2009 when Burj Dubai topped out at over 2,600 feet, which now makes it the tallest man-made structure in the world.       

The Willis Tower is located on Wacker Drive in the heart of the West Loop of Chicago.  I had to use my camera's wide angle lens just to try to capture the whole length of the building as it reached up above the clouds!

The Skydeck observation deck is 103 stories, 412 meters, or 1,353 feet high!  On a clear day you can look out onto four states and up to 50 miles.

The morning we visited a cold front was coming in and the outside air temperature was falling from the high 70's to the high 50's. Clouds were quickly forming over Lake Michigan

We could see the giant cloud formation approaching like a giant fluffy blanket being pulled up over the city.

It began to cover all but the highest surrounding buildings.

It made everything look surreal and so heavenly.

If they dare, a visitor to the Skydeck can step out on The Ledge, which are glass boxes extending out 4.3 feet on the west side of the building.  In the photo above my husband was in one of the ledges taking a video of me ......

......as I was standing in another ledge!

It does take a bit of bravery to walk out into the ledges and look around and down.

The views were well worth it and are exhilarating!

Many visitors were brave enough to do it, and a ledge was a popular place to stand......

...........to take in all the views.........

........ before the clouds covered everything.

If you'd like to see what the entire experience of visiting the Willis Tower Skydeck on a clear day is like, from the ground floor exhibit up to the Skydeck floor itself, and onto The Ledge platforms, you can watch this Youtube video:

I'd love to visit Skydeck again, when the sky is blue, but I'm also happy to have visited on a day when I felt like I was above the clouds in heaven. It's a view of Chicago I'll never forget!

I'm linking this post to the "Outdoor Wednesday" event on Susan's blog A Southern Daydreamer and also to Skywatch Friday -- thanks to all of their crew.

PS: I have been experiencing problems leaving comments today because of another apparent Blogger bug. I wasn't able to sign in automatically with my Blogspot profile when trying to leave a comment. I kept coming up as "anonymous."  I heard  in e-mail from a few others bloggers who were having the same problem. I discovered that I had to click on "select profile" under the comment box and sign in with my name and blog URL. That worked!  It's a longer step, but hopefully everything will be back to normal with Blogger soon. If you are having this problem try my solution and hopefully it will also work for you.

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