On a cool morning in April of 2016, I visited a small prairie in the wilderness of Virginia. A wide-open field of grass sloped into a deep ravine. Blooming purple and white Dogwoods whispered in the breeze and showered the place with petals. Butterflies flitted everywhere – especially Tiger Swallowtails, their yellow and black wings a marked contrast with the fresh green grass.
Standing among such beauty, you’d never think so much blood got spilled here. The only sign of it are a few stone monuments with faded carving. Next to them, a sign reading “Bloody Angle” points to a ripple in the grass that barely qualifies as a shallow ditch. But one-hundred-fifty years ago, “Bloody Angle” wasn’t just a ripple in a peaceful meadow. It was the scene of one of the most horrific encounters of the American Civil War.
Twenty-four years ago, a man named Kevin Wisniewski arrived at the annual EAA airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He stood out in the crowd of thousands, because he came dressed as an officer from World War II. Every piece of his gear was authentic, part of a lifelong collection. He wondered around the displays of World War II planes in the show’s famed “Warbird Alley,” and his outfit enthralled onlookers. Many asked to take photos with him. His outfit was such a hit that the next year, Kevin asked his best friend to join him. A few years after that, representatives of Warbird Alley approached them and asked them to set up a camp there. Read More
A cold, unfeeling marble stone
That’s all there is for the soldier unknown
Lost in a graveyard as big as the sea
My love comes looking but won’t find me
Because all I have is a white marble stone
And all it says is “soldier unknown”
I fought like the heroes, we were the same
But I got no medal, they don’t even know my name
I was just one body in an ocean of death
Just one warrior who took a dying breath
I got no honors, nothing to show
Just this marble stone, white as snow Read More
His story is one of the most famous from the American Civil War, and it spawned a monument in Fredericksburg, Virginia, that still stands today. His actions atop a blood-soaked battlefield captured imaginations and hearts even in the modern era. This is the story of Richard Rowland Kirkland, otherwise known as the Angel of Marye’s Heights.
The tale first appeared in the Charleston News and Courier in 1880. Written by former Confederate General Joseph B. Kershaw, it goes a little something like this:
The 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, in particular the Union charge up Marye’s Heights, spelled disaster for Uncle Sam. Not far outside the city, the Confederate line had deeply entrenched at the top of a sharp slope behind a sturdy stone wall. It was an optimal position, allowing the rebels a steel free-for-all over Read More
The Fremont Culture – Lost Tribe of Utah
In Mid-May, I found myself in beautiful Moab, Utah. The state has a pull for me – the red rock canyons, the wide open fields, the deep blue skies and the snow-capped mountains. Everywhere you look, it’s beautiful.
This time, while hiking through the Arches National Park, I got to learn about another gem of Utah. This one is harder to see among the sprawling scenery, swarms of tourists, and tangles of hiking trails. It is faded with age and blended into the canyons, but for those willing to stop for a closer look, it’s a glimpse hundreds of years back in time. Read More