Thursday, December 24, 2009

Looking Back. . .Looking Ahead

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2009 will soon be no more. And with yet another year coming to an end, I cannot help but look back on the year that was. . .and look ahead to the year that will be. Both personally and professionally, 2009 was in many ways a memorable year. On a professional level, June 25 of this past year witnessed the start of my fourth season as a ranger at Antietam National Battlefield. Even after all these years, I still find it hard to believe how fortunate I am to work in one of America's best National Parks doing what I truly love to do and to work alongside some of the best rangers the nation has to offer.

In addition to daily interpretative presentations--talks and tours--I also had the great privilege of helping to lead this year's Battle Anniversary Hikes on September 17. The day began with a steady pour, and although the rain did eventually end, the day remained cloudy and overcast. No matter; it was a rewarding and humbling experience, and one I will long remember.

I will also never forget the great honor I had in 2009 working at the January 20 inauguration of President Barack Obama. . .

. . . and the December 3 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House Ellipse. Both of these were memorable events, ones I will surely tell the grandkids about. . .someday.

(Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In 2009, my efforts to restore the 48th Pennsylvania Monument at Antietam took gigantic steps forward. Through the generosity of scores of individuals and organizations, I am happy to say that the money for this project has been raised and that artist/sculptor Michael Kraus is, at this moment, working on completing the sword. I am beginning to plan a rededication ceremony, which I hope will take place sometime in early April 2010.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I kept myself busy while away from the battlefield this year working on a number of projects. In July, my book on Schuylkill County soldiers at the battles of South Mountain and Antietam was published. I must thank everyone for their kind reviews, including Mike Noirot, who was kind enough to conduct a book interview for his website This Mighty Scourge. You can listen to the interview here, and read some of the reviews here and here.

In addition to Our Boys Did Nobly, 2009 also witnessed the publication of They Will Be Remembered By A Grateful People: Civil War Heroes of Schuylkill County, a book designed for a younger audience, and illustrated by Jared Frederick.

(Thanks, Jared, for your great work. I am hoping we can work together again).

Lastly, my book on Antietam Trivia "hit the shelves" back in April of this year.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Yes, 2009 was, indeed, a memorable year, both on the battlefield and off. And no reflection on the year that was would be complete without mentioning that in early November, the World Series title returned to the Bronx when my Yankees beat the Phillies in six.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
With the year now at an end, I am looking forward to 2010. I am happy to announce that my book Antietam: September 17, 1862, published by the Western Maryland Interpretative Association will be out, hopefully, in the Spring. Also, an article I penned on Nicholas Biddle and the First Defenders will be published in the Spring 2010 issue of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine. I am currently working on a few other projects, including one with one of my Antietam colleagues and Ten Roads Publishing, but I'll keep the topic a mystery for now.

Finally, I want to thank all my readers out there who take the time out of their busy lives to stop on by this blog. It's been more than three years since I first launched this blog, and I can only hope that you enjoy reading it half as much as I enjoy posting.

1 comment:

Jared Frederick said...

Thanks John! I hope we can work together again as well!