THE BLOODIEST BATTLE – ANTIETAM

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Over this Memorial Day Week-end I made a road trip down to tour the Antietam National Battlefield Park located just outside of the town of Sharpsburg, MD.  It took me about 3 hrs. to drive here.

The Battle of Antietam was one of the bloodiest Civil War battles that took place here on Sept. 17th, 1863.  More than 23,000 men from the Union & Confederate Army’s were killed here in one single day!

The above Image is of the Dunker Church that was one of the area’s where many soldiers died during the heavy fighting.  The Dunker Church was built in 1852 and was a house of Worship for pacifist German Baptist Brethren that became one of the focal points of the fight between the two Armies.  It received heavy damage, but has been restored to its original look from long ago.

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A closer look at the Dunker Church.

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This is a Historic Image that was taken by Alexander Gardner after the battle.  The Images that I shot were from about the same position.

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I walked inside the Dunker Church and shot this Image of what it looks like today.  Notice that there is not much here.  There is no Alter, no Cross of Christ, or anything to show that it was a Church.  I was a bit surprised to see that.  I don’t know if that is the original wood floor or not.  Maybe back then that’s what they wanted.

I did have a Image of the Dunker Church’s side wall outside to show that all of the many bullet and cannon holes were repaired by the Park Service, but can’t seem to find it.  Sorry.

It was starting to get quite warm while I was walking around with my Pentax and a Tripod.  Getting in and out of the car get’s a bit tough when you Tour a Battlefield like this one.  I finally had to turn on the Air to keep the car cool.  I took this Images, walked around for a bit, and then moved on to another Bloody area.

COAL REGION CHURCH

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This is St. Stanislaus Kosca Catholic Church located in New Minersville, PA.  This Church was build a bit over 200 yrs. ago by the Polish Immigrants who settled in this area.  It has had this name for many years before the Churches in the area decided to consolidate into one.  Now, it is named St. Matthews Catholic Church.  Everything has remained the same, except the name.  A number of years ago, I had the privilege of being able to see the inside of this beautiful church.  I see that not much has changed.  It’s still one pretty Church to see.

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Here is a closer shot of the Alter.  The 2 people shown are a young couple that my Wife knows.  I have no idea who they are.  The Alter is carved from Marble and the Statues are all hand made and painted.  My Wife tells me that under the Alter where the Sacraments are kept are all made of Gold.

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Here is the Manger Scene that is put in the one corner of the Church.  If I offend someone by posting this Image, I don’t really care.  Each figure is hand made and painted!

Since my Wife was born and raised in New Minersville she lived just down the street from this Church.  She attended Services here for just about 20 yrs.

If you all can remember, I have made a number of Posts about the Coal Region Area that is not far from here.  There are many different Churchs & Religions that exist from one Coal Town to another.  This is because the Immigrants people that settled around here to work in the Coal Mines, brought their Religion with them.  Most of them are Catholic, but there are others such as German, Polish, French, Lutheran, and Lithuanian.  In just one Town there can be as many as 5 different Churches.

Notice that there is no “watermark” on the Images.  This is because I did not take these pictures, so I can’t claim them as mine.

 

OLD CHURCH

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While taking a trip down to the Lebanon Valley VA Hospital to pick up my new Hearing Aids, I stopped by this Church that I have seen from the highway a number of times in the past.  This Church had always caught my eye because it seems to stand out from the surrounding area.

This is Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church located just outside Lebanon, PA.  It was built in 1762 and probably has gone thru a number of upgrades since then.  What I like about it is the color & stone work.

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The weather was not so good for shooting Images of this Church.  It was over-cast and splattering a bit of rain, but I thought to stop by while you’re in the area.

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This is what you see from the Highway.  On a bright sunny day, the Church has a much better view than when it’s cloudy, like today.

GRANANTS CHURCH

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This is Granants Church that has been here since the early 1800’s.  I have passed by this old Church many times in the past and always thought about Photographing it.  I finally did.  There are lot’s of old, old graves here.  I don’t know just how far back they go.  It does have a large congration, but how large I have no idea.

Taken with a Nikon Coolpix P600 camera.

Post processing by Lightroom 6

CHRISTMAS EVE

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A few day’s before Christmas Eve this year, I started thinking about going to my ole’ Church for their Christmas Eve Candle Light Service.  I decided to go.

This is the same Church that I was Confirmed in back in the early 60’s.  I apologize for the Image quality.  Was taken with my Phone.  The ole’ Church has under gone some changes since my Sunday’s here every morning, but it is still pretty much the same.

The Pews have changed.  A few of them have been removed to give people in wheel-chairs a place to be farther forward than before.  The Chapel now has a screen hanging down with the Service Hymns words so people can sing along.  You can also read the Scriptures on the screen as the Pastor reads them.  In the back, behind me and out of the Image, is the new over-flow area that now has soft plush chairs for our Senior members.  It has gotten bigger than years ago.  There are also new Table Lamps along side the chairs for the congregation to read along.  And with all that, the Church has gotten much bigger with new Sunday School Rooms, and Social Quarters.  It has grown much over the passing years.

I have many memories of this Lutheran Church.  Being a teen-age back then, I had to attend every Church Service on each Sunday until I was a confirmed member of the Congregation.  There was no air-conditioning then.  An open window was for air during the Summer when it was hot.  Now, the whole Church has air.  There are now padded seats that I never had before.  The Candle Light Service, with all the lighted candles, makes the Chapel take on a new look.  It’s pretty when all the electric lights are turned off, to leave nothing but candle light to see and sing.  I will return here, again.

Happy Holidays!

Les

WEST POINT, NY

 

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A little less than a week ago, we made a bus trip up to see the West Point Military Academy where most all Army Officers of the US , that can afford going here come from.  Since I am a Member of the American Legion Post #878 in Oley, I and my Wife signed up for the Tour that was offered.  The Bus left the Legion parking lot at 0700 hrs. and took about 3 hrs. to drive up here.

Now, before you can enter the Military Academy, Security Officers come aboard the bus and check each of us for proper ID.  You just can’t walk into this place!  You must have a Valid Picture ID, such as a Drivers License or Passport.  You MUST be a American Citizen to enter here.  If you do not have proper ID, you don’t enter!  It’s that simple.  The Officer came aboard the bus and checked everyone!

After winding around some different roads, our first stop was the Military Academy’s Chapel.  There are 4 different Chapel’s on the base.  This, Christian, Chapel was the only one we could go inside and see for ourselves.  They have a Chapel for each Religion.  A Jewish Chapel, a Catholic Chapel, and Protestant.  Notice I say “Chapel” all the time.  Churches on base are always referred to as a Chapel.  There is no church.  This is where all the Protestant Cadets go for Sunday worship.  It seat’s quite a few.  Just don’t remember how many.  It’s huge to see.

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Now, this is part of the inside looking towards the Alter.  We were only allowed to photograph parts of the Chapel.  Others were restricted.  Each book has to be exactly aligned with all the others after each Service.  Floors are polished, pews, brass fixtures, lights, flags, and most everything is kept in top shape and clean!  You walk Reverence is the name of the game here!  Famous Generals of the US Army all attended here and up front are brass plates showing where they all sat.  Its quite a place to see.

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Continue on to the Parade Grounds where you see all the Cadets in their dress Uniforms marching before Graduation.  Would you believe that these Parade Grounds are Hallowed Ground?  Well, it is.  No one, but no one, is allowed to walk on this field of Honor unless special permission is granted!  The buildings in the back are all dorms for the Cadets, with more being built.  The Statue in the far center is of Gen. George Washington.  Other Statue’s around are Gen. George Westmoreland, Gen. George Patton, and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.  There are very, very strict rules here that must be obeyed or you are out!  It will cost the prospective Officer more than $500,000 to attend here!  If you are lucky to make it thru the training, you will graduate a Lt. in the US Army.  That’s if you make it!  This is no easy place to attend.

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The weather was starting to turn cloudy and cool, but I took this shot looking from the Parade Grounds to the Protestant Chapel that you see in pictures of West Point.  There were a whole lot of other stuff that I would have enjoyed seeing, but the Tour only takes you to certain places.  The rest are restricted area’s.  In a sense it’s good that it is.  You just don’t want anyone walking around these grounds.

At the end of the Tour, which lasted about 2 hrs. I was tired from walking around where we were allowed to, and getting on and off the bus.  The bus left the Academy and then stopped off at the West Point Welcome Center where you could find most any kind of trinket with US Army Logo.  Since I spent 11 yrs. in the US Navy, guess there was no Navy stuff here!

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading.

Les