Thoughts on Giving Thanks

All PA Trails of History sites are closed tomorrow (11/22) for Thanksgiving). For information on site schedules for Friday (11/23) and events going on this weekend through Nov. 29, please check out last week's post.

Through December 31, the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation (PHF) and The State Museum of Pennsylvania are excited to offer a "Buy One Get One Free" membership offer. Renew, rejoin, or join, and you can gift a free membership of equal or lesser value to a friend, family member, or co-worker. Memberships included in this offer are Heritage, Individual, and Family (visit PHF website for details or to purchase online). All categories of membership include free regular admission to sites on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. (Please note, the gift membership must be for individuals or families who have never held a membership with PHF or The State Museum previously.)

Table set with 18th century foods at Conrad Weiser Homestead
This table setting from Conrad Weiser Homestead's Candlelight Tours last weekend makes me think of Thanksgiving (photo via Facebook)
Coming to you a little early this week to get ahead of the holiday. On behalf of all of us here at Trailheads HQ, I'd like to wish all of you the Thanksgiving that makes you most happy. The traditions you love, the people who make you feel special, a victory for your football team (if you celebrate that way), a winning hand at gin rummy (ditto), a nice glass of Beaujolais Nouveau (ditto ditto). Those of us lucky to have enough (or more than enough) have much to be thankful for, but we should also remember not to take it for granted. If you have the chance to help others this holiday, please take it.

American Revolution reenactors in formation with flag at Hope Lodge
Hope Lodge's Whitemarsh Encampment event earlier this month brought American Revolution reenactors to the site (via Facebook)

Following up on our Veterans Day post, I had a little time to think about some other military-related Trails of History info recently and thought I'd share some of it this week. These items illustrate the span of military history that gets covered on the Trails and the relevance of our sites to the present.

Reaching back to the 18th century, Hope Lodge's annual Whitemarsh Encampment presents the stories of Revolutionary War soldiers and civilians, especially related to the Continental Army's stay in the area during November and early December of 1777. I've shared a photo above, and you can find more on the Hope Lodge Facebook page.

As part of the centennial celebration of the end of World War I, Conrad Weiser Homestead held an Armistice Day event on Sunday, November 11. Speakers included Doug Miller, site administrator at Pennsbury Manor, and state Sen. David Argall (R - Schuylkill and Berks). Military reenactors were on hand as well. (In May of 2017, we showed you some before and after photos of a project to clean a World War I doughboy statue on the grounds at Conrad Weiser Homestead, dating from the 1920s.) The event also honored all local veterans (read more in this Reading Eagle article); keep an eye out for Weiser's annual concert honoring veterans, generally held around July 4.

We've shared info before about military reenlistment and promotion ceremonies at Trails of History sites. Back in October, the Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara hosted members of the United States Marine Corps. Gunnery Sgt. Charles Bays reenlisted in USMC and then he and his wife, Kate, left for his new assignment in South Carolina; Bays was promoted to Gunnery Sgt. onboard Niagara in October 2017. Bryan Johnson and Devin Dominech were promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant. (My thanks to Linda Bolla of the museum for the info and photo below.) In other Erie news, the Flagship Niagara League recently announced the promotion of Christopher Cusson to Captain of the U.S. Brig Niagara. Cusson is, among other things, a United States Coast Guard veteran (read more info here).

Marine Staff Sergeant Johnson receives collar insignia from grandfathers
SSgt. Bryan Johnson (left) receives his new collar insignia from his grandfathers. (I'm not crying, you're crying.) (photo L. Bolla)
Prospective applicants for the U.S. military service academies are interviewed by a congressional panel to determine if they will receive a letter of referral from their U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative, a requirement for admission. Last weekend, the Pennsylvania Military Museum hosted 16 candidates and their families. Yesterday, the museum received a lovely note from a woman who was there with her son, who hopes to attend the United States Naval Academy. She complimented the museum on its well-kept and well-organized facilities and was impressed with the exhibits and displays, comparing them favorably to those at the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, Virginia. "It is obvious a lot of time and effort has been spent to make this small museum a true gem!" Kudos to the staff and volunteers at the museum for their work and thanks to Tyler Gum, site administrator, for sharing the info.

On a related but somewhat more somber note, the PA Military Museum has been working with the Jana Marie Foundation, which is devoted to bringing attention to and addressing mental health issues in the Centre County region where the museum is located. The Foundation's STOMPERS Project was developed to embody their goal of stomping out the stigma that often surrounds talking about mental health. STOMPERS are made from shoes and boots on a life-size frame and have different themes depending on their host organization. As a participant in the initiative, the museum is now home to a STOMPER titled "SERVE," which is focused on issues of depression, suicide, and well-being among military veterans and their families. The goal is to help foster conversations between civilian and military communities, between veterans, and among families. This is another way the museum is honoring the military service of Pennsylvanians and recognizing the sacrifices of military families.

STOMPER figure at PA Military Museum
"SERVE," part of STOMPER Project, at PA Military Museum (photo AKF)


Post a Comment