Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Back in the saddle...again.

Except for my posts from this week I see that it's almost exactly three years since my last post.  Now that I'm back at my much-loved Antietam, I expect that I'll be posting with some frequency.  Do stay tuned.


Divided Loyalties

Just across the road from Dunker Church, on a slight rise, sits the Maryland monument.  It is a little eight-sided temple - four sides for the Maryland units that fought in the battle and four for the Confederates.  It's a reminder that divided Maryland was Unionist in the west, and had Confederate leanings in the east.

From just south of Boonsboro,


Monday, October 16, 2017

Full Circle

This is where I came in.  



After three and a half years absence, I decided to get my park back.  I started volunteering again at Antietam National Battlefield last Monday.  This is how I started my NPS adventure nearly twelve years ago.

I'm still rangering full-time on the National Mall, and commuting twenty hours per week.

I guess I got tired of waiting to be called back to Antietam.  I was pretty broken hearted when I had to leave, and for over a year I expected to be hired back at any moment, but as the months turned into years, I realized that that chapter may be over.  I was, I'll admit, a little angry that things ended the way that they did.  But recently, I realized that any hard feelings were pointless and that I simply wanted my park back.  Today was my second day on the job, hanging out in Dunker Church chatting up visitors.

It sure feels good to be back...

just south of Boonsboro.


ps, as far as ever returning as a ranger...hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The National Mall: World War II Memorial

Last week I spent one day at the new WWII Memorial.  Although the day started out sunny and balmy, by the end of the day I was wet and cold from the rain.  Such is the life of a park ranger.  I really enjoyed the day and here follows some photos and my impressions of the day.

The Memorial is at the opposite end of the reflecting pool from the Lincoln Memorial.

The preexisting Rainbow Pool was incorporated into the design of the Memorial.  Also the Memorial was designed in a manner so as to not obscure the line-of-sight from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument.
The Monument was dedicated on May 29 (my birthday) 2004.

There are numerous water features to the Memorial. which I like a lot. Moving water adds animation to any space. also its a very nice white-noise generator to block out the ever present noise of jet airplanes, helicopters, and sirens.

Among the visitors are always numerous veterans including those from the
 "Greatest Generation" of WWII.

Two massive gates bookend the Memorial, one inscribed "Atlantic"...

and the other "Pacific".  Looking from the Washington Monument the Pacific theater of war is commemorated on the left and the Atlantic on the right.

Twenty-four bronze bas-reliefs provide illustrative scenes of combat, industry, and agriculture. Homefront and battlefront are both interpreted.

 each star represents 100 Americans killed in the war. There are 4,048 such stars ; a tribute to the sacrifice of more than 405,000 American lives


Within each gate are four enormous eagles suspending the laurel wreath of victory...

and on the floor is a large medallion showing Nike, the goddess of victory, breaking the sword of Mars, the god of war.

Forming the oval shape of the Memorial are granite pylons for each US state, possession, and territory.  Alternating wreaths of oak for industry...

and wheat for agriculture, decorate each.

and states...

are all bound together by bronze ropes representing the unity of the nation in the great struggle against European fascism and Japanese militarism.

Quotes abound, lauding the efforts of the military...

but also those of civilians,,,

men and women.


"Honor Flights" fly in large groups of WWII veterans from across the country.  Here a large group from the Chicago area is assembling for a memorial program.

The event opened with a color guard presenting the colors.

Nearly a hundred WWII veterans were in attendance.  All of these former GI's of "the good war" are justly proud of their monument, built to commemorate their service and sacrifice and to remain long after they are gone to remind future generations of the price of freedom.
And each one of  these men an women are tickled by a phenomenon unique to their time of service...

their old buddy Kilroy, immortalized in granite.
Drying out and warming up, just north of Boonsboro,
Ranger Mannie

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A week of training at Ford's Theater

This was a week of training at Ford's Theater; my head's still spinning.  Does 9:00 entry include the ranger program?  Does a 9:30 entry include the museum?  is the 3:45 a ranger program in the theater or a walk-through? Can visitors re-enter the museum after the program? What time do you "drop the rope" and at what time does the rope go back up?,  How can you tell who gets Acoustiguides? What are the stacks of extra Petersen house tickets for?  Where do your store the stanchions?

Its a million details that come together to make it all a smooth-running operation, fortunately there is a group of Ford's Theater rangers and Ford's Theater Society visitor services people who were all very patient in showing me the ropes, and answering, and answering again, my numerous questions.

To the left of the historic theater is the modern facility housing the Ford's Theater society; that's the group which, among other good things, continues the tradition of the theater being a live performance stage will a full season of programming.

The theater is pretty gorgeous with plenty of seating.

The presidential box is still festooned with bunting just as it was on that fateful evening.

Here's a glimpse of part of the backstage area with some of the wardrobe for Driving Miss Daisy - the current production at the theater.

The steps to the balcony...

reveal some of the beautiful detail in this place.

The museum on the lower level is very good.  Here is a depiction of the constant flow of favor and office-seekers who continually plagued Lincoln. 
 I'm here to lobby President Lincoln to make me a GS-9.

The box office is located in the adjoining modern building.

There is always a long line of people waiting to get in to the theater, but the line moves very quickly.  The partnership of people from the Society and park rangers creates a choreography which flows visitors through the theater efficiently.  And as I already mentioned its a pretty complicated affair.  They make it look easy and its all quite seamless for the visitors. 

Across the street is a 6' x 6' island of free-enterprise. This is typical for nearly every street corner off the mall.  There's something for nearly everyone at the souvenir stands that set up in the morning and vanish in the evening.

In the museum is the instrument that produced one of the greatest tragedies in American history.

Put Ford's Theater at the top of your list for your next trip to our nation's capital.

Now that my Ford's theater training is complete, I'm eager to see where next week will find me.

See you on the mall.

Ranger Mannie
(from just north of Boonsboro)