Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Holidays

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Perhaps it is a little early, but I've decided to take my annual Holiday Bloggers' Break nonetheless. 'Tis the season for wrapping presents, sending out Christmas cards, decorating, spending time with friends and family, and looking back at yet another year gone by. It has been a good year, generally speaking, with many ups and some downs.
2008 marked my third year at Antietam. Everyday I donned the Gray and Green, I could not help but be thankful for the great privilege it is to be a park ranger and to appreciate just how lucky I am to have realized a lifelong dream. Yet, as a seasonal, I know these days cannot last forever. But no matter where next year may find me, I will always carry lifelong memories of at least three, and hopefully more, years at Antietam. The experience has been incredible, made even more so by my fellow rangers, who truly are some of the greatest people I have ever known.
I've kept myself busy this year writing. My introductory study of the Maryland Campaign and Battle of Antietam is finished and will hopefully hit the shelves of the Antietam Museum Store by the early Spring. I was able to complete yet another manuscript, one that I have worked on since 2005. It is currently under review, and I am hoping that 2009 will witness the publication of this work as well. . .stay tuned. My article on the forgotten life of Nicholas Biddle was published in America's Civil War this past year, and has also been picked up by Pennsylvania Heritage for publication in an upcoming issue. I have some projects slated for '09, and am hoping for a productive year. And, of course, I had a great time churning out posts on this blog. Thank you to all my readers for sticking with me and for all the comments and emails that have been (for the most part) very flattering. I truly do enjoy keeping this site updated, and am looking forward to another year, which will be my third year blogging.
This year has also witnessed the launching of my effort to restore the 48th Pennsylvania monument at Antietam by raising money to replace the missing sword from the statue of Brigadier General James Nagle. I could not be happier with the result thus far. As of today, just over $4,200.00 has been raised. Thanks to everyone who donated for your generosity. There is still a good ways to go, but I am confident we will reach our goal next year, hopefully early on.
With 2008 soon to become a memory, I look forward to 2009. Let me extend to you my warmest Holiday greetings. I wish for you good health and happiness, and everything you wish for yourself. "See" you next year. . .
Happy Holidays!

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Anonymous said...

you forgot van halen

Scott Stemler said...

Ranger Hoptak,
I came across your blog over the summer and have enjoyed it very much. Your posts definitely have me planning a return visit to Antietam. Wishing you and your family all of the best over the holidays.

John David Hoptak said...

Scott. . .thanks for the comment.

And, yes, of course. . .seeing Van Halen (with Diamond Dave) was certainly a highlight of '08.

Anonymous said...

Did you see the town of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, profiled in this past Wednesday's show "Secret Millionaire"? Looked like a sad depressed place, indeed.

aakermit said...

Thanks for your great site. I have started a blog presenting the Civil War Letters of Adj.William B. Phillips, my great-great grandfather. He was one of 6 officers in the 2nd. PA Provisional Heavy Artillery to be captured at the Battle of the Crater. According to author Jim Corrigan "the 2nd. Pennsylvania Provisional Heavy Artillery was the first regiment with any cohisiveness to enter the pit", and they were the very first to emerge beyond it's boundries. Following his capture William Phillips spent 8 months as a prisoner at Camp Asylum, Columbia, SC. The first letter can be read at http://aakermit.blogspot.com
Greg Taylor
Los Angeles, CA.