Archive for May, 2012

Thomas (3)

Thomas (2)

Thomas (4)

Thomas (4)

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Veterans section (9)

Veterans section (10)


Veterans section (3)

Veterans section (2)

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Bennet Riley detail

Major General Bennet Riley was the last military governor of California before it achieved statehood. Riley had a lengthy military career, enlisting as a young man and first serving in the War of 1812. He fought in the wars with Native Americans in the south, including the Seminole Was. Following his service as a general in the Mexican-American War, he took up his post in California as military governor. He gave his name to both Fort Riley and Riley County in Kansas.

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Albion Howe

I did a little more digging into the story of Brevet Captain Albion Howe (who shares his name with a Civil War general who died in 1897). The Modoc War, where United States forces clashed with Native Americans, occurred in Oregon. The local Native Americans used the lava beds, created by ancient volcanic activity, to hold off the U.S. forces for months. Howe, who had been a major during the Civil War, was killed during this action. A sketch of Albion Howe can be found here. He also has a stained glass window dedicated by his wife to him in the Chapel of the Centurion.

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Miller Gillett (2)

Miller Gillett

For the longest time, I have had the same signature file on my email:

My grandfather once told me there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
-Indira Ghandi

It is there much more for me than anyone else. It’s a philosophy I try to adhere to, and while I have found other quotes I like, none was as personally needed. It’s a reminder I need, and I get it, every single time I compose an email. But about a month ago, I finally added a second quote.

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.
-Neil deGrasse Tyson

In a lot of ways, “while there is time let us do good” reads very similarly to Tyson’s second philosophy – “lessen the suffering of others.” It’s my interpretation of what “do good” means.

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I can only imagine that she at some point must have uttered these words.

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Pillars Emma

Emma Ruth Pillars loved flowers.  We know because her tombstone says so and because three years after she died, her husband donated the Emma Pillars Garden of Memory to Fostoria Fountain Cemetery so that she could rest forever with the flowers and trees she had loved in life.

Pillars Memorial Garden (2)

Pillars Memorial Garden (3)

Pillars Memorial Garden

It’s almost overwhelming how much love is bundled up in that little three word epitaph, “she loved flowers.”  It is the kind of thing that you say when you are trying to convey the utter internal devastation you feel at a loved one’s death to someone who didn’t know them.  How do you explain a life?  How do you explain a person?  How do you explain the hundreds or thousands of little moments that pile up into something coherent, into the bond you had?  You can’t.  I could write about my grandmother and everything I can remember about her every day for the rest of my life on this blog, but in the end, you wouldn’t know her.  You would know some things about her, but the sinews that stitched my heart to hers from the moment I was born until the day she died overwhelm any words I have ever learned.  And so, when you are Edward Ralph Pillars, a widower of a woman who enjoyed flowers more than nearly anything else in the world, you want to leave a monument that provides a glimpse of your love and devotion to her.  And so you build her a garden with her name on it and, when you try to find the words that communicate your sense of loss, you fall back on the simple statement “she loved flowers.”

Pillars Edward

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I just found a journal from the university trip I took west in 1998.  Rereading it, this entry caught my eye.  Boy, if only my friend Nate had known then that I would have this blog.  (I looked him up on Facebook so maybe he will soon).

Tuesday, May 26, 1998
…We’re visiting the Lincoln Boyhood Memorial.  I bought a postcard of the grave of Lincoln’s mother.  Nate said he wouldn’t send a postcard of a grave to anyone he liked…

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You don’t get to see a beautiful epitaph like this one very often. It makes me wonder who wrote it for her – it’s the kind of thing that I wish was on my grandmother’s stone. My grandmother loved doing things for other people, and the most important other people were her family. She and her sisters got together every Saturday to go shopping, and then on Sunday she would go visiting. It wasn’t until she died that I realized just how much she was the glue that held so many people together.

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