June 19, 2014

OGS 2015 Call for Papers

Can you believe it’s June already? Seems like the weeks are flying by at warp speed!

I certainly don’t want to rush things any more, but there’s an event next spring that I’m getting excited about. The Ohio Genealogical Society will be holding its next conference in Columbus (my city!) from April 9-11, 2015. The last time it was in Columbus, in 2011, over 700 people attended. I know I had a lot of fun.

Right now it’s still early stages. The Call for Papers went out in April, and I received this reminder a few days ago:

Just a reminder to speakers: the July 1 deadline for Call For Papers for the 2015 Ohio Genealogical Society's Conference  is a little less than two weeks away. If you have not yet submitted your proposals, we hope to hear from you soon. The cornerstone of a great conference is a great programming, and we can’t wait to see the terrific presentation ideas you have to offer for the 2015 “Ohio: Your Genealogical Cornerstone” conference!

The OGS Conference will be held April 9-11, 2015, at the Sheraton Hotel on Capitol Square in Columbus. The complete Call for Papers can be found at http://www.ogs.org/conference2015/index.php.

I’m eager to see what the line-up of speakers and programs will be. OGS always attracts such great speakers. I hope they'll have a few presentations about how to use DNA results for genealogy. I’ll post more information about the conference in the coming months, as things are announced. After all, at the rate we’re going, next April will be here in a flash!


June 15, 2014

Father's Day Wishes

Wishing a Happy Father’s Day to my dad, my father-in-law, and all the fathers reading this. Enjoy your day!


June 6, 2014

The American Cemetery at Normandy

Omaha Beach, 2012
This is a rerun of a post I wrote following a visit to the American Cemetery, in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy.

American Cemetery Normandy France

Humbling. Sobering. Awe-inspiring.

Perched high atop a cliff overlooking the rugged coastline of France, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a place that defies all superlatives. Everything about it is staggering: the size, the number of graves, the way the sheer beauty of the place contrasts with the desperate battle that waged just below, on Omaha Beach. Looking out over the English Channel on a peaceful day, it's hard to imagine the bloodshed of June 6, 1944.

Visitors enter through a museum that tries to bring some of that enormity down to size. A video tells the stories of a few individual soldiers. World War II uniforms, ration packs, medical kits, letters, equipment, maps, photographs, and more depict the build-up to D-Day and the execution of Operation Overlord. The museum alone could absorb half a day of contemplation. And somehow, it still doesn’t prepare you for what’s next.

For beyond the museum doors lies a sea of green grass and white marble headstones, seemingly without end. Stretched out in neat rows are 9,387 Latin crosses and Stars of David, each marking the final resting place of an American serviceman. Many are unknown. A reverent hush lies over the place as visitors wander through, some looking for a special grave, some just trying to take it all in. There is no doubt that this is sacred ground.

The markers are engraved only with the person’s name, company or division, state, and date of death. Perhaps, as someone suggested to us, it was believed that including the date of birth would make the cemetery seem overwhelmingly sad. We were reminded that 60 percent of the Americans who perished in Europe were sent back to the states for burial, so the ones buried here represent only a fraction of the total losses.

The Memorial, which sits in front of a large reflecting pool, features a striking statue depicting “The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.” Engraved tablets record the names of 1,557 missing in action, while stone maps show the positions of the D-Day landings and air operations. Fresh flowers at the base of the statue express gratitude to the sacrifices of the World War II generation. The families of Dachau concentration camp victims and survivors send a new arrangement every week.

Memorial American Cemetery Normandy

Two American flags fly proudly over the cemetery. At the end of each day, the flags are lowered, one at a time, while a single trumpet plays Taps.

It’s a sight and sound I hope I never forget. Thank you, all who served, and especially those who rest today in Normandy.


© Shelley Bishop 2013. 


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