Category Archives: Misc Newspaper Articles

Remembering 9/11 and Michael

It’s been 14 years since the attack on America on 9/11 and Michael’s death. All day, I’ve thought of him and every time I have heard Alan Jackson’s song, “Where were you when the world stopped turning” I’ve cried… so needless to say it’s not been a good day. Michael, you have NOT been forgotten and neither have the other amazing Americans and citizens of other freedom loving countries who were taken to soon by an act of cowardice. America has not forgotten and we swear… your sacrifice WILL NOT be in vain! Rest in Peace shipmate… until we meet again.

familyheirlooms

This is a story I wrote immediately after 9/11 and after learning that one of my co-workers, a friend who worked for me onboard USS WASP for three years, had been killed at the Pentagon.  I can’t tell you how that felt to get that phone call. I was on duty and we were watching it unfold on TV. We were scared because we knew that Mike was in the Pentagon that day and worried for his safety. I remember there being talk that out of that huge building and thousands of people being inside, why did Mike have to be one who died. We could hardly see the TV through the tears that were streaming down our faces, praying that he was okay and that the call was a mistake. But it wasn’t. Mike was gone and he wouldn’t have wished anyone else to have taken his place. He…

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It’s not my day… I’m not dead

Each year on the last Monday of May, Americans take a three-day weekend to celebrate Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer. Many spend the weekend grilling, camping or fishing and some head to the beach, but all are enjoying time spent with family and friends. It’s a great start to the summer season but that’s not the real reason we have the holiday weekend. Hopefully, in the midst of enjoying the weekend, we also take time to reflect on the true meaning of the federal holiday.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was a day set aside to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. Decoration Day began after the Civil War ended to honor those who gave their lives during our country’s bloodiest conflict, and was proclaimed, not by the president but by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

America has always given freely of its sons and daughters during its fight for freedom – whether it’s ours or another country’s. Between our first battle, the fight for independence in 1775, to today, May 24, 2015 and our current conflicts in support of the Global War on Terrorism, America has lost almost 1.3 million men and women on the battlefield. Those brave souls who have died in our country’s battles, are who we should be honoring and remembering today.

Fort_logan_national_cemetery_4All day I’ve been the recipient of gratitude and well-wishes – and although I am very grateful and honored that people have been thinking of me and my service to our nation – today’s not about me.

It’s not my day. I’m not dead.

Nor, is it about any other living military person or veteran…. our day is in November and it’s called Veterans Day.

Today is the day to honor our war dead. Those brave men and women, who while answering the call of their nation, made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They are who Memorial Day is for.

Honor them.


Friday’s Faces From the Past: Searching for a lost child

familyheirlooms

Cabinet death card of a young childI came across this beautiful cabinet card in a local antique shop and was drawn to it. The picture is of a beautiful child who apparently died at a young age and his parents had a mourning card made. I could make out a very faint name written on the back – Robert – and I wondered if this was young Robert with the adorable curl on top of his head. I felt compelled to take him home. He didn’t belong in a cold antique shop among hundreds of  nameless lost ancestors. I wanted to find out more about him.

Upon closer examination, I discovered a very, very faint last name… Horne. The front of the picture has the name Forney and Bedford, Iowa which told me that the photographer of the picture was Forney and the picture was taken in Bedford, Iowa so I started searching Ancestry.com for…

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Wednesday’s Child – Papa’s Baby

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IMG_2490

Today, I visited the remnants of an old plantation home located in the Town of Stanton in Haywood County, Tennessee. The site used to be the old home place of Joseph and Lucy Stanton, founders of the town. It is not the original home, as that was burnt down and a smaller home built in its place. Time has been rather kind to the home in the regard that it is still standing but it is evident that the home had not been lived in for many years.

Natural has begun to encroach upon the foundation of the home. Critters, various plants and trees have broken through the barrier long ago designated between nature and man. It is evident that the home was once a modest, yet grandeur home of the times, complete with a front porch that must have seen its share of visitors and family members, relaxing and…

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Support and Defend

Appropriate for today… God Bless our Veterans!

familyheirlooms

I come from a long line of veterans, both American and British, who have fought on both sides of the pond.

My sixth great-grandfather, Alexander Guard and his brothers and cousins fought for a young America during the Revolutionary War. My great-great Uncle Henry George Louis Panchaud or Harry as he was called, was a well-known and decorated colonel in the Boer War in South Africa.

During WWI, my great-great-uncle, Philip Archibald Tatem, was 24 years old when he left his home in Bermuda with the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps and joined the Lincolnshire Regiment in France. He was killed on Sept. 25, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme after heavy fighting. His body was never identified, but he is honored on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing in Somme, France. His younger brother, Graham Tatem, also served in WWI but fortunately did make it back to Bermuda. My paternal…

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Fifty Questions for Family History Interviews

This is NOT my work, but definitely worth sharing. It was posted by , a consultant, genealogist, writer, speaker, trainer and amateur radio operator… in other words, a man of all trades! You can find Lee’s blog, Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog, at http://www.leedrew.com/

Many folks are taking advantage of the FamilySearch initiative “Meet My Grandma.”

interviewThe initiative focuses on writing about memories of her, typically from the memory and experience of the writer.  It is a wonderful exercise that benefits not only the writer but the family and friends of ‘grandma’.

We should also write more in-depth histories about our ancestors.  Hopefully, we capture their memories, knowledge, sense of humor and sense of reality from their perspective.

A great way to uncover clues to your family history or to get great quotes for journaling in a heritage scrapbook is a family interview.  By asking the right, open-ended questions, you’re sure to collect a wealth of family tales. Use this list of family history interview questions to help you get started, but be sure to personalize the interview with your own questions as well.

  • What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?
  • When and where were you born?
  • How did your family come to live there?
  • Were there other family members in the area? Who?
  • What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
  • Were there any special items in the house that you remember?
  • What is your earliest childhood memory?
  • Describe the personalities of your family members.
  • What kind of games did you play growing up?
  • What was your favorite toy and why?
  • What was your favorite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?
  • Did you have family chores? What were they? Which was your least favorite?
  • Did you receive an allowance? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?
  • What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?
  • What school activities and sports did you participate in?
  • Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
  • Who were your childhood heroes?
  • What were your favorite songs and music?
  • Did you have any pets? If so, what kind and what were their names?
  • What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
  • Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
  • Who were your friends when you were growing up?
    What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
  • Describe a typical family dinner.
  • Did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?
  • How were holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family? Did your family have special traditions?
  • How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child?
  • Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
  • What do you know about your family surname?
  • Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
  • What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
  • Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
  • Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
  • Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
  • Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
  • What was the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?
  • When and how did you meet your spouse? What did you do on dates?
  • What was it like when you proposed (or were proposed to)? Where and when did it happen? How did you feel?
  • Where and when did you get married?
  • What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
  • How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?
  • What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
  • How did you find out your were going to be a parent for the first time?
  • Why did you choose your children’s names?
  • What was your proudest moment as a parent?
  • What did your family enjoy doing together?
  •  What was your profession and how did you choose it?
  • If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
  • Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?
  • What accomplishments were you the most proud of?
  • What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

Posted 27 Sep 2014 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog


LOST TIES

Armando Balifrank Onorati early 1950s and his oldest son Gary Steven Onorati, USMC, 1990.

Armando Balifrank Onorati, USA in the  early 1950s and his oldest son Gary Steven Onorati, USMC, 1990.

Facebook is an amazing and innovative tool… it helps you stay connected with family and friends near and far. You can share pictures with family members and watch each others children grow up without having to actually be close. You can keep track of loved ones stationed overseas or in war zones, keep up-to-date with what friends are up to, follow pages of interests, businesses you enjoy patronizing or causes you believe in. You have the ability to reach masses with one post, to stir emotions in strangers and to bring awareness and support to what’s important to you or even reconnect with lost family members. But even with all of its benefits in expanding communication and contact with people globally, Facebook, I believe has destroyed the art of communication between families.

How many of you use Facebook on a daily basis? How many of you stay signed into Facebook on a 24-hour basis? How many of you get text messages, tweets or some other forms of alert when there is a new post on your page, a response to a thread or conversation you are following or when someone instant messages you? How many are willing to be honest about how much time they spend on Facebook on a daily basis? Is it more than an hour? Several hours? The entire day?

I am guilty of all of the above.

Why do we do it? Because it’s easy and less personal. It takes less time to send a text message than it does to have an actual conversation. It’s less confrontational to send a blast to someone we’re upset with than to face them face-to-face. It’s easier to be brave behind the anonymity of a computer screen than to face someone in person. It’s easier to share information than it is to share feelings.

Facebook told me my oldest son got married. Or rather, my Auntie did, after she read about it on Facebook and she was living in Florida. My son and his now wife were living with me in my home in Tennessee. But Facebook also allowed me to keep in touch with my brother almost on a daily basis while he was stationed in Iraq for two years. Facebook also informed me when he returned home, got married to a new wife and no longer needed my support.

Tonight, Facebook informed me of the passing of my father-in-law,  Armando Balifrank Onorati, a man I had met only in passing in 2001. Facebook told me that my father-in-law died just a few hours ago at age 81, and even though I had never talked to him, I feel a loss. I feel sad that I never had the opportunity to get to know the man who was responsible for the birth of the man I have been in love with for more than 27 years. I feel pain that my sons’ grandfather never got to meet them, to talk to them or to see the wonderful job that his son did with raising his grandsons. I feel sad that this man, the reason my children exist at all, never knew he had a great-grandson who lives to carry on his name. I feel pain that my husband and my sons will not know first hand of the legacy and the history of the Onorati name. I feel sad and I cry tonight with the knowledge that an opportunity has been forever lost, a treasure has been stolen and for all its benefits, after being estranged for more than 45 years, even Facebook couldn’t bring a family back together.


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