Posts filed under ‘Lest we forget’

Nov. 11th- Youth Lost- Medals worn- Remember

Design ( artwork Chris Ritchey  2009)

Design ( artwork Chris Ritchey 2009)

I have always tried to Remember those who fought on November the 11th – from granddads, uncles and my father- to my generation, my husband USAF, my cousins and to those friends who have lost their sons to war.

I was pleased and touched the last piece of art work produced by my son was in honor for another young man who gave his life for his country ( in remembrance)- Eric Barnes .

I was reminded on Remembrance Sunday, as I walked through the dining room, of my father . I hadn’t looked at his medals in a very long time as they hung over the sword he bought me ( The Sword of Charlemagne ) incase I ever did Camelot again. He was coerced into polishing up a sword for the theatrical production in which I was involved -a lousy job and one he decided he wouldn’t do again – hence the purchase of the sword !

There was a lot of dust, the ribbons had lost their sharp colours over the decades and they decidedly needed a clean . I knew some of his medals were gone – RN Long Service and Good conduct Medal, The Arctic Star and the Oak cluster – I had used them to pin my dolly’s clothes when I was just a little one.
Although I had written about his Royal Navy Career in the series along with my mother’s remembrances of those days of world war two –

I can’t really remember having ever “looked ” closely at the medals.
I was surprised at the number of theatres of war in which he had been involved. And then, I remembered this man , my father who had been in the Royal Navy before war broke out and had seen so much in those terrible years was only 28 years old when Victory was declared – my mother 26-. War is for the young they say ……

1939-45 Star

1939-45 Star

The 1939 to 1945 Star was awarded for any period of operational service overseas between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 (2 September 1945 in the Far East).Naval personnel qualify after 180 days afloat in areas of operations as laid out in the regulations between certain specified dates.


Naval personnel anywhere at sea in the Mediterranean or in harbour in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between the above dates will qualify. Those serving in direct support of the Eritrean and Abyssinian campaigns between certain other specified dates will also qualify.

THE ARCTIC STAR**** The Arctic Star is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees, 32’N) from the 3rd September, 1939, to the 8th May, 1945, inclusive. The Arctic Star is intended to commemorate the Arctic Convoys and is designed primarily for the ships of the convoys to North Russia and their Escorts. •Royal Navy and Merchant Navy: naval and Merchant Navy service anywhere at sea north of the Arctic Circle to include, but not limited exclusively to, those ships participating in, and in support of, Convoys to North Russia

Atlantic-L THE ATLANTIC STAR******
The Battle of the Atlantic took place between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 as German U boats, aircraft and surface vessels attacked the convoys transporting valuable supplies from America and the colonies to Britain.
Warships of the RN and aircraft of the RAF escorted the convoys, hunted the U boats, fought German ships and, despite some notable German successes, the allies won a comprehensive victory in the Atlantic

Italy_Star THE ITALY STAR Naval personnel must qualify first for the 1939 to 1945 Star before the Italy Star can be awarded. It is then awarded for service at sea in the Mediterranean between the above dates provided that it was directly connected with active operations in the Mediterranean theatre.
George 5th medal
George VI Medal *****The duration of the Second World War in Europe was from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, while in the Pacific Theatre it continued until 2 September 1945. The War Medal 1939–1945 was instituted by the United Kingdom on 16 August 1945 and was awarded to all full-time personnel of the armed forces and merchant marines

My dad also earned the Royal Navy – Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

ww2-oak-leaf-midand the Oak Leaf –

Oak Leaf awarded to personnel who have been mentioned in despatches in action with the enemy (all environments) in war.

HMS Speedwell
I believe ,in researching my dad’s history, a mention of the incident for which he was mentioned in despatches

Cyril Green:

1400 – Explosion in our ship don’t know whether we hit or what it is yet someone gave a scream.

1445 – Explosion was heater drain observation tank in boiler room exploding. 2 stokers seriously scalded and 1 fractured elbow.

We left Harmatris to two Russian tugs and proceeded to Polyarnoe (Russia) at all speed.

I should like Commanding Officers of all Minesweepers to know that I fully appreciate the good work in the difficult conditions in the past few days searching, escorting, and hunting under the nose of the enemy sea and air forces. It does everyone, but especially the Engine room department, great credit that all ships have been ready for service whenever called upon and I am sure that valuable lives and ships have been saved by the good work performed.

CommanderSenior Officer, Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla “

The HMS Speedwell was a minesweeper and now a segue back to Lorain
and another naval man Admiral Ernest J King

Admiral King

Admiral King

His tribute space has the flags flying – not on a flag pole but a ship’s mast and a “minesweeper mast” at that rescued from the from the old American Ship yard.
Old Mast at American Shipyard
AK flag old

Photo Lisa Miller

Photo Lisa Miller

( Now in place at the Admiral King Tribute Site 1st and Hamilton)

Photo - Lisa Miller

Photo – Lisa Miller



November 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm 2 comments

Memorial Day- 2015- Respect through the ages

A little over 2 1/2 years ago Lorain Mayor- Chase Ritenauer, Chief of Staff- Derek Feurestein , Ariel Vasquez of the Lorain Utilities Dept. met, along with the parents and family members of three of the young men who had lost their lives for our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, on what was then a derelict waste and dumping ground .

We trudged , and I mean that literally, through bracken, weeds, over fallen trees and mud as Ariel explained his vision for what would become Eric Barnes Heroes Walk.
Ariel explained how each young man would have a tribute garden with a bench , signage and artwork along a path which would meander through what was left of a woods, flower beds and a view of Lorain’s lakefront a priority . The pathway would connect the two areas already in place known as, Settlers’ Watch 2009
and at the opposite end of the site Admiral King Tribute site 2011.

The plan was ambitious. Ariel and his crew, with the support of the volunteers and donations through Charleston Village Society, would have phase one completed by November 11th-2012.
marks photos
As I walked the pathway on Pride Day,
I could not credit how far the area had progressed in the months and changing seasons since that walk of vision. The plants grown and tended so beautifully by our volunteer “Constant Gardener- Joe” . Thinking back to that day in 2012 I remembered the look on the faces of the others as we stumbled through the undergrowth – they weren’t so sure themselves this plan would come to fruition!
gavin ryan

Once more this morning, I walked in the sunshine, the blue of the lake sparkling as the waves danced and the wind blew the clouds around an azure sky, with my two grandsons- ages 6 and 3. We were putting out the flags for Memorial Day, a job they hold very dear.

As we went along, making sure each garden and area was recognized, I admonished Gavin telling him to make sure the flags never touched the ground. Being six, the question arose,


I didn’t want to confuse them anymore than I usually do with my explanations and this was an important WHY? I said it was

out of respect for the young men and woman who gave their lives for their country, in this case the United States and the flag was very important as it was carried into battle.

But why can’t it touch the ground- NOG?

I knew from my own history- being English- how important the flag was to my father, uncles and grandfathers , they gave their youth and in some cases their limbs and their lives for their own flag. . union Jack

Even from Roman times the “standard” was considered extremely important –

The standard-bearer normally was in close proximity to the unit leader. When the standard ‘fell’, the unit members did not have a visual point to rally around or return and the possibility that the leader had fallen was great. Loss of a standard in battle was considered to be one of the worst things to happen – the Honor of the unit was lost. By the same token, capturing a standard by an opponent was considered to be a tremendous act of courage.
With England’s long history emblems and flags ( standards) were most important on the field of battle and like the Romans the disappearance of the a standard/ flag on the battle field may well mean the battle was lost.
But I wasn’t absolutely certain about the United States history and the flag not touching the ground– was there another aspect my grandsons should know about?

Once again, the search for a reason – apart from respect as I knew it had to be – sent me to Google. To my surprise, I was brought full circle back to this community of Lorain. As I googled the reasoning, I was directed to a site about the Civil War and my eyes beheld a familiar painting .
gillmore  scan
Yes the Storming of Fort Wagner – the movie Glory – and my dining room companion General Gillmore !!![

Among the troops who assaulted Ft. Wagner was the 54th Massachusetts, a regiment of African-Americans led (as required by regulation) by white commissioned officers. Gillmore had ordered that his forces be integrated and that African-Americans were not to be assigned menial tasks only, such as KP or latrine duty, but instead they were to carry arms into battle. They and their assault on Ft. Wagner were the subject of the 1989 Civil War movie Glory, which starred Morgan Freeman and Matthew Broderick.

I eagerly read the following from that battle :

There, also, Sergeant William Carney, who had earlier taken up the National Colors when the color sergeant had been shot, planted the flag and fought off numerous attempts by the Confederates to capture it. Without support, and faced with superior numbers and firepower, the 54th was forced to pull back. Despite two severe wounds, Sergeant Carney carried the colors to the rear. When praised for his bravery, he modestly replied, “I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground.” Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, the first African-American to receive the award.

There was also a poem and later a song from that proud moment coming out from that battle –flag groundres

The next time I walk the path with my grandsons- I will tell them the story of General Gillmore, whose father owned all the land
upon which we walk, when we wander through Settlers’ Watch, Eric Barnes Heroes Walk, and Admiral King Tribute Site and how it was the men under his command who “never let the old flag touch the ground”

Who I am by  Christopher D. Ritchey

Who I am by Christopher D. Ritchey

May 22, 2015 at 7:57 pm 2 comments

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red- Remember

Photo Rosie Hannon UK

Photo Rosie Hannon UK

Tower of London Poppies

Scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe’s heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.

For the past months a huge army of volunteers planted ceramic poppies around the Tower of London. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat.

You may read more about the installation here

Every evening the “Last Post” was played. Americans have not embraced the poppy here in the USA. The poppy may not have been recognized with its significance but the “Last Post” has certainly made an impact and is played reverently throughout the nations. Armistice Day 11-11-11 was the thought of King George the V. Exactly a year after the guns of World War 1 fell silent 1919 he prounounced:
Geoge the 5th

I believe,’ he had announced, ‘that my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of the Great Deliverance, and those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

He suggested that ‘at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there may be, for the brief space of two minutes, a complete suspension of all our normal activities’.

The parade ended with a bagpipe lament and the playing of the Last Post on a solo bugle. The use of the humble, functional bugle — rather than a cavalry call proclaimed with ceremonial splendour by state trumpeters — was a poignant, heartrending lament for the hundreds of thousands of ordinary husbands, sons and fathers for whom the nation grieved.

Royal Marine Playing The Last Post in Afghanistan MOD-
last post

During World War I the Last Post took on a new significance, with a bugler standing over every grave and playing the haunting melody at the start and end of each day

Although the origins of its haunting melody are unknown, the Last Post had been used since the beginning of the 18th century in Army camps to mark the ending of the day and the sealing of perimeter fences. In hostelries and brothels, it was sounded to alert Army personnel that they should return to their headquarters.

During the previous 50 years or so, however — and particularly during World War I — the tune had taken on a new significance. No longer just a military signal, it had become a powerful symbol for the ending of a life, rather than the literal close of a day.

During the Battle of the Somme, a tradition arose that the dead were buried at the beginning and end of each day. Morning and evening, a bugler would stand over every grave, playing the Last Post……….
………..That first Armistice Day commemoration in 1919 would complete the melody’s transformation from practical signal into the unique, almost sacred, symbol it has become for both army personnel and civilians today.
(Daily Mail)

On November the 11th here in the USA Veterans Posts and organizations will be honouring the fallen for all the wars, the Last Post will be played , eyes will fill with tears and honor will be given to those who have died and given young lives for us, including the young unknown soldier from World War One who wrote the poem before he went over the top ( of the trenches)into ” no mans land “.

over the op

and whose words now touch millions 100 years later:
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
By Anon – Unknown Soldier

The blood swept lands and seas of red,
Where angels dare to tread.
As I put my hand to reach,
As God cried a tear of pain as the angels fell,
Again and again.
As the tears of mine fell to the ground,
To sleep with the flowers of red,
As any be dead.
My children see and work through fields
of my own with corn and wheat,
Blessed by love so far from pain of my resting
Fields so far from my love.
It be time to put my hand up and end this pain
Of living hell, to see the people around me
Fall someone angel as the mist falls around,
And the rain so thick with black
thunder I hear
Over the clouds, to sleep forever and kiss
The flower of my people gone before time
To sleep and cry no more.
I put my hand up and see the land of red,
This is my time to go over,
I may not come back So sleep, kiss the boys for me.


November 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm 2 comments

General(ly) Gillmore- The Last Post – Lorain Part 12

Peggy  Gillmore- (Josephine Jean) Gillmore 4th Street, Lorain Ohio

Peggy Gillmore-
(Josephine Jean) Gillmore
4th Street, Lorain Ohio

I have wandered , these past weeks, through the lives of a family totally disconnected from my own- The Gillmores.

I have found them to be fascinating, courageous, strong of character, with a work ethic that would put most of us to shame. They are a family who were founders of at least two communities in this young country. They participated from the beginning of this country- through the Revolutionary War-, prospered, hauled a settlement out of a wilderness, fought for freedom, faced adversity with confidence, sailed the inland seas, built the ships and helped take America to the skies .

On my desk are faded newspaper clippings, tantalizing mentions of yet another Brigadier General WILLIAM EUGENE Gillmore– ( born in Lorain.) He was the son of Quartus J Gilmore ( brother to our General Quincy Gillmore) and the grandson of the original Quartus Gillmore . Another Brigadier General being honoured, mentioned in a fading letter. A letter asking Peggy to attend the ceremony at Wright Patterson Air Force Base-

wpat scanresrev

October 27th 1976 the ceremony to memorialize William E Gillmore by naming the building which houses the Air Force Logistics Command Headquarters “Gillmore Hall”

It seems this son of Lorain was heavily involved in the new “airservice” – the people he rubbed shoulders with are still remembered today.

Wright and Gillmore
The members of the Main Committee of NACA which met in Washington, D.C. on April 18, 1929. Shown from left to right: John F. Victory, Secretary; Dr. William F.Durand; Dr. Orville Wright; Dr. George K. Burgess; Brig. Gen. William E. Gillmore; Maj. Gen. James E. Fechet; Dr. Joesph S. Ames, Chairman; Rear Adm. David W. Taylor, USN (Ret.), Vice Chairman; Capt. Emory S. Land; Rear Adm. William A. Moffet; Dr. Samual W. Stratton; Dr. George W. Lewis, Director of Aeronautical Research; Dr. Charles F. Marvin. Dr. Charles G. Abbot was absent.

Brig. General  William Eugene Gillmore  1875-1948

Brig. General William Eugene Gillmore 1875-1948

at the forefront of aviation in this country – Aviation in the US Army- 1919-1939
air excercisresw
Gillmore planeres
( Gillmore far right )

I am afraid to open one more file folder of news clippings because I just keep finding more and more. The only place in Lorain you will find a plaque mentioning “The GILLMORES” -is a little plaque at Lake View Park for General Quincy A Gillmore – the chap who started it these posts when he arrived in my dining room. And even that plaque is incorrect – the birthdate of 1820 is incorrect- it is 1825
Gilmour Tablet
Nowhere else in this community is there mention of the Gillmores- not on any house/home or even in what is now known as Veterans Park – given to the city by General Gillmore’s sister Sophia Gillmore Leslie. And yet, there were veterans aplenty in this family.

The importance of the Gillmores to a fledging nation, the pioneers of Lorain, the fact that the house on 4th street, the last of the Lorain Gillmore’s is all that is left of those 1,000 acres!
403 Oberlin (2)

This charming home the last “testament” to a founding family who did more than pull a city from the wilderness, their drive and expertise have touched and guided a nation. Their worthiness embraced and memorialized in other communities, as with Thomas Wilford, The State of Michigan commemorates his life and story whilst Lorain?????- well just another rental up for sale.wilford collage
I cannot believe what little regard this community has for their very unique history. But what do you expect from the local Lorain community who remain ignorant of their “story”. Even the local historical society ( of whom Peggy was one of the original members) turns down a portrait “sight unseen” of a native son who gave so much to the birth of a nation including his part with freeing the slaves. Do THEY know “their history” one has to wonder?
gillmore  scan
I am tired of preaching to the choir on Lorain’s unique maritime and pioneer history. It seems most think the history started with the advent of steel , it didn’t.

Unless history has dollars and or “grants” attached it really doesn’t seem it is worthwhile in this city. The streets and homes where those that formed this nation walked and lived unmarked and unremarkable.

Could Lorain make money out of its heritage? Yes ! but first they have to know what it is and where to find it! For the most part Lorain’s tangible and tactile history is going down like the Titanic. Oh! you will find some archives, and memorabilia in the “museums” but along her streets where you can see the remnants of her early days- the homes of the “Captains Courageous”, of those nation builders, early pioneers, the movers and shakers are fading very fast.

Lorain historical home

Lorain historical home

Elyria Historical Home

Elyria Historical Home

Peggy Gillmore 2007

Peggy Gillmore 2007

Peggy , if you are somewhere close, I have tried my best to document and archive the Gillmore story. The links are there in the posts for those interested in finding more. I know I have just touched the surface and there is so much more .


General Quincy Adams Gillmore’s portrait has looked at me these many weeks reminding me of my guilt that I didn’t do more when you were just a few houses away. I know you would be thrilled the home you so loved built in 1895 has, thanks to your out of state family, been reroofed, painted and landscaped. The house once more something of which a “Gillmore” and especially you would have been so proud, as is the neighborhood. I wish I could do more. Unfortunately , unless there is “money in it” Lorain doesn’t see the worthiness of her history. How much more do they need ? This city has a history of which “movies are made” .

I am sorry Peggy. I have tried my best but sometimes my best is not good enough. I have not the expertise to make a town “feel the passion” of its history but I promise I will make sure your files and photos , portrait and print finds a home worthy of your family, and a home where they will be cherished – not dismissed.

Gillmore House Today!

General(ly) Gilmore

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part 10
Part Eleven

October 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm 10 comments

General (ly) Gillmore – Lorain- Civil War – Part 5


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four
Quartus Gillmore came with his father from Mass. to clear and work the 1,000 acres .

Quartus sons He had 4 sons and 4 daughters

Below is a photo of Quartus Gillmore and Elizabeth Reid. ( center) ( courtesy of Matt Weisman)
Gillmore Family

The photo was purchased by Matt Weisman as a photo of Quartus and his family as stated with the text here :

Seller Notes: “Huge Vintage One Of A Kind Photo”
Original/Reprint: Original Print Photo Type: Huge Albumen
Listed By: Dealer or Reseller Subject: Quincy AdamsGilmore,Parents,Brother,AustrianKnight
Date of Creation: 1861 Region of Origin: US
Huge Old Photo The person seated at the lower right is Brigadier General Quincy Adams Gillmore (1825-1888). My guess is that the two people seated in the center front are Quartus Gillmore (1790-1869) and his wife Elizabeth Reid Gilmore (1797-1876)…..the parents of Brigadier General Quincy Adams Gillmore. My guess is that the person seated lower left is Cornelius Reid Gillmore (1841-1911)..the brother of Brigadier General Quincy Adams Gillmore. My guess is that the person standing furthest to the left is Ann Fitzgerald Gillmore (1840-1914) …the wife of Cornelius Reid Gillmore. —————– I believe that the photo album that this pic came from belonged to Cornelius Reid Gillmore. His is the pic in the album (not included) that is in the number 1 position. A pic in the number 3 position in the album is for certain Brigadier General Quincy Adams Gillmore. That pic is in a separate listing. Notice how the women behind Cornelius is close to him and has her hand on him as if she is his wife…an affectionate touching it really looks like…. Then notice how the women behind Quincy Adams is sort of further back and the hand is on him like she is feeling sorry for him in terms of Quincy losing his wife in 1861. I believe this pic was taken in the early to mid 1860s.Probably 1861. The Album which this photo came from included many cabinet photos of the people in this photo later in life. One of those cabinet photos was Quincy Adams Gillmore. Right smack in the middle of some of the other cabinet photos of people in this huge photo. Another Tell is look at the hair of Quartus and look at the hair around the ear of Quincy in the other listing of him as a Brigadier General. (if the other listing is up) The hair is sort of wavy around the ears of both of them.

**** ED. NOTE
This is, as stated, “guess work” by the seller- personally I have a reasonable doubt as to the person said to be General Gillmore is our General- however, I would love to have the people here confirmed as to their identity .

None the less General Quincy Adams Gillmore was the son of Quartus and Elizabeth and was born on the family farm – now known as Lakeview Park.

Matt Weisman

Matt Weisman

There are a great many stories and accounts of General Gillmore “some” of which can be found here

and Matt Weisman local historian, researcher has presentations available on the fame and life of General Quincy Adams Gillmore .
You can reach Matt and read about the presentation in the document link that follows:

Local History Presentations by Matthew Weisman

There is a lot more to Quincy Adams Gillmore- a young man who authored a poem at West Point in 1846 titled Erie ( now for sale on E-Bay for $6,500 dollars )

But I want to go back to recent history – that of the gathering in my dining room- as we salivated like kids in a candy store over the artifacts from Peggy.

Of course there were the photos and history of the Gillmores and the pride they felt for their famous Civil War General. This was evidenced by an old print found tightly rolled in a cardboard tube –


Unfortunately, the whole print would not fit in my scanner but here is a jpg of the 1890 print .
gillmore  scan

The finding of this print sent us off on the little known “glory” of the General……….

To be continued

September 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm 1 comment

September 11th- the Memory and the Terror -2014

Photo Mark Teleha

Photo Mark Teleha

Since I cannot bring myself to use the visuals of what is still happening in Syria and Iraq – I have chosen Mark’s photo as yet another wave breaks upon our shore.

NOTE: We are now at the 13th Anniversary of September 11th – and still we are in fear and loathing of those that try to strike terror in the hearts of ordinary folk. Beheadings, torture, rapes and whole societies wiped out and today- September 11th we remember the day the terror came home to the USA! I wrote the following on the 10th anniversary, reprising once again as we take yet another step in the horror which the world of fanatical religions dictating our lives.

design by Chris Ritchey

10 years it is unbelievable to me a decade has passed – the sights and sounds of that day so vivid still- an act which will send the perpetrators to perdition.

Normally I would write an updated remembrance but I am in my own kind of man-made purgatory at the moment so I choose to remember as I did last year (below) . I also remember 9-11-09 …. the day of hope as Chris took his first infusion of SGN 35…… that September 11th dawning with hope just as years before a glorious September morn saw hope crashing to the earth…… the outcome was the same “grief and loss”………..a time to remember those that continue to give their lives ………………………….

Loose Change Poster – design by Chris Ritchey

‘Kind” -having or showing a tender and considerate and helpful nature

There was no “kindness” in the nature of that September day as terror flew into the everyday working lives of those who experienced the dreadful destruction of September 11th 2001

They say you remember where you were and what you were doing until you die certain events-

September 3rd- 1939

Dec. 7th – 1941

November 22-1963

And September 11th 2001.

ED NOTE:The linked video is from ordinary citizens with a view of the destruction- released 5 years after that September 11th day

I was sitting on the couch that morning, having my first cup of tea- my son- in -law to be called

“We are being attacked”

Knowing his penchant for practical jokes and phone calls I said

yeah yeah right- tell me more”

Just then my daughter came down the stairs with the phone in her hand , hair dripping wet –

Mum he is right a plane just flew into a building in New York – turn on the television.

Another call beeped in it was my mum

“Oh there has been a terrible accident a plane has flown into a skyscraper”

Just as she said that Tony ( my cousin who was over for a trip ) is heard in the back ground

“Bloody Hell there is another one.”

We all went silent, incredulous watching as devastation rained down from the sky on a beautiful September morning.

I called my son- he told me that they were being evacuated from the college and told to return home- there was something going on in Cleveland , as he was heading to his campus apartment there were agents and militia armed with weapons in and around the streets- it was very tense. They were told to stay inside.

That day had a profound effect on this nation – I remember for the next two mornings- as I watered the garden not a sound from the sky , no roaring of the high-speed boats out on the lake- traffic was almost non existent- the sound of a siren sent chills- flags appeared outside the houses and on the streets – as if a patriotic garden bloomed from the carnage.

We did not move from the television- we watched as if from another planet the “human” story unfold that day. We hardly knew how to express our thoughts -the ugliness of hatred brought home -engulfing and billowing out as the towers and civilization fell in the name of “Jihad”.

As for those that carried out these attacks there are no adequate words of condemnation. Their barbarism will stand as their shame for all eternity.
–British Prime Minister Tony Blair

My son used his talents , he did a series of posters – that I have yet to find since his passing. It was after that day my son wore his patriotism proudly – always one to fly the flag ( more on that at the closure of this blog) he defended her the way he knew best through his work.

Yes , I am remembering Septembers and they are tinged with pride , lack of understanding , helplessness and prejudice against those that cause pain to the human heart and condition ………

and all who weep including the willow WE REMEMBER SEPT 11TH IN OUR OWN WAY!

September 10, 2014 at 9:35 pm 2 comments

Eric Barnes’ Heroes Walk- Lorain County Beautiful

Logo - Chris Ritchey

Logo – Chris Ritchey

ED NOTE: Charleston Village Society
received the notification a few days ago , Eric Barnes’ Heroes Walk, received a nomination for the 2014 Award. Since we were required to send in information about the project and since our “defense” of the property caused such “blathering” recently,
I thought it would be a good time to share our response to the Awards Committee. We may not win but the people who have given so much are most certainly winners already!


ERIC BARNES’ HEROES WALK – Lorain County Beautiful 2014

A small pathway was originally planned as a way to connect the area known as Settlers’ Watch, 2nd Street and Oberlin Ave. to the area where Charleston Village Society Inc. had recently completed The Admiral King Tribute Site, 1st Street and Hamilton Ave. . The area of brush and trees in between the two sites had become a dumping ground for all manner of trash, garbage and undesirable activities within this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood. It took 25 loads of 5 ton dump trucks to clear what is now the area known as Eric Barnes’ Heroes Walk.

At the same moment in time as this clearance was happening, Lorain City Council was looking to honor Eric Barnes, who had been killed in action in Iraq. Councilman Dan Given asked if Charleston Village Society (CVSI) could do something in his honor. Since we already had the Eric Barnes Eagle tree carving at Settler’s Watch pathwaSWAK

and the Admiral King Tribute site on the opposite side of the block of land we proposed a linking of the sites honoring two heroes, Eric Barnes and Fleet Admiral Ernest J King. eagle  and AK

What started off as a simple walkway then grew as more information on Lorain’s lost heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan was researched. The walk became a huge project and is being done in three phases. The initial phase laid out the gardens of tribute for all the young men (to date) who were killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who were also born in Lorain.

As you walk along the pathway, you will see signage depicting the personal information for each hero- a bench where one can sit and enjoy the views of Lake Erie, their own garden space and piece of individualized art work. Each of the heroes’ families were contacted as to what they would like to see the signage , which was designed by volunteers and paid for with donations from the community , as to the verbiage and which spot along the walk they would like for their sons or brothers as well as any favorite plants .
LPD Honor Gurad

CVSI raised the money for the signs, plants, art work and expenses encountered through donations to our 501C3 s. The community also donated plants, trees and labor. Two of the benches, are from the now demolished Lorain Admiral King High School. The benches donated by class member were repurposed and were placed in the tribute spaces of the two Lorain City Schools graduates, Marine Lance Corporal David Hall and Army 1st Sgt. Bruce Horner. The other benches for Marine Lance Corporal Ryan Giese and Army Sgt. Louis Torres are also made of recycled material.

CVSI, as with the Settlers’ Watch site which is 95% repurposed and recycled material, including the trees and the mulch and the Admiral King Tribute Site which is also 100% repurposed and recycled ( apart from the flags which fly on the ship’s mast flag pole), has focused on recycling and repurposing for Eric Barnes’ Heroes Walk .

All the lighting is “solar” and the pathway itself is being covered with recycled concrete, when we can acquire it, this also fits the requirement for the Americans with Disabilities recommendations. Phase Two was completed this past spring.

As we continue with Phase Three of the project, the community will find the United States Marine Corps. Monument being placed and a flag pole. The site has been prepared for that aspect of the walk thanks to the City of Lorain who actually own the property. The tree carvings from the tree lawn on 2nd Street will also be re-positioned along the walkway as they are being refurbished and the wood stabilized.

Every day there are volunteers weeding, planting and watering the site. The site is ongoing and growing with something different every day, every week

We have received in kind donations of lighted bollards, (yet to be placed) more trees and plants as the site grows. 100% of every monetary donation goes toward the site. However it is the labor and in kind donations from the community, as a whole, which make this honor for our heroes even possible.


Eric Barnes’ Heroes Walk which started as a simple “pathway” has now become a place of tranquility , reflection and beauty , a place honoring Lorain’s young men who gave their all in this most recent of wars. The gardens along the winding path, once a place for dumping trash, are now places of pride within the neighborhood. Every summer evening will find people walking, children playing on the green spaces neighbors enjoying the cooling breezes. There is once again a sense of community, as noted on the 4th of July , as families gathered respectfully to watch the 4th of July fireworks and the freedom they represent- earned at the ultimate price to pay by the young men honored along the walk of heroes . This special place is reminder to all who now enjoy the sights , sounds , the fragrance of blossoms of our freedom every day and a pride has returned in this Lorain’s oldest and much abused over the decades , neighborhood.

August 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm 2 comments

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