Digging up the Past
Living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has some distinct advantages if you are a Civil War buff. Three major battles were fought in Chattanooga that signaled a turning point in the War between the States.
The battles of Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. My friend Allen Haggard introduced me to the art of metal detecting a few years ago, and I am hooked.
There is nothing like the thrill of digging up a relic that has been in the ground over 150 years. Allen inspired me with his stories of over 30 years of metal detecting in the Chattanooga and North Georgia area. He has literally thousands of artifacts in his possession and knows about every skirmish that took place in the Chattanooga area. His finds include cannonballs, belt buckles, uniform buttons, missiles, and multiple thousands of bullets.
Allen took me on a tour recently and showed me the places he hunted for Civil War treasure that are now subdivisions, shopping centers, etc. He found little known Civil War encampments by soldiers of the North and South and explored many places in his day that would be considered virgin territory.
He is not able to walk and hunt as he did in his younger days, but he occasionally hooks up with me and take some short hunts together. He has a real knack for finding relics and can tell the story of what may have happened in those areas where the soldiers were encamped.
Recently we took a hunt in an area that he discovered years ago near a railroad track. He said, “If you want to find relics, follow the railroad.” The railroads routes in Chattanooga have remained virtually unchanged since the Civil War. Our hunt near the railroad tracks yielded a good find. Allen found a brass button from a uniform of a confederate soldier where a skirmish took place. It was our only find that day, but it was a good one.
Other hunts with Allen have produced some bullets and other small finds that keep me hopeful that one day we may stumble upon a sword or something more significant. It's said that much of the land where battles were fought has been developed by contractors. It's really tough to find a place to hunt because of all the modern progress taking place.
One has to be sure to gain permission and know the local laws and ordinances. Hunting in the wrong place could very easily land a relic hunter in jail with stiff fines. Two relic hunters got caught a few years ago when they crossed over from private land onto the Chickamauga battlefield. The fine was over $5000.00 and a possibility of 5 years in prison.
I never have figured why the Government does not do more excavation on the battlefields around Chattanooga. There are thousands of artifacts still in the ground waiting to be discovered. Those artifacts need to be displayed in museums for the enjoyment of the public. Many artifacts have been found in the early years of the National Park service and are on display in the Chickamauga museum, but there are many more artifacts that lie undiscovered.
One day last winter, Allen took me to an area in the country which is now a subdivision. He pointed to a hillside behind a new home that was covered with trees. He said just beyond those trees is a pit. During the Civil War, the Confederate soldiers became infested with lice. He said they were commanded to take off their old uniforms and burn them in the pit to rid themselves of the lice.
He said that he had found many brass buttons off those uniforms and there were probably many still in the ground. I was inspired and wished that I could take my metal detector and do some digging. This land is no longer open to the public, and it would be difficult to gain permission to hunt this area.
In another area near my home, Allen told me a story of hunting in an area close to where the battle of Graysville, Georgia, was fought. He was hunting on virgin land. He said as he was hunting an area in the woods, his metal detector began to sound off and there were so many beeps it sounded like a machine gun. The ground was full of Union and Confederate bullets. He still has piles of them today and proudly showed me the hundreds of bullets he found from what must have been a fierce battle.
I never will forget the time I found my first bullet. I was living in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the time and had obtained permission to hunt land near an apartment complex not far from a Civil War fort. My son was with me, and I was metal detecting on a ridge when my detector gave its familiar high-pitched sound.
I brushed back the leaves, ready to dig some dirt with my digging tool. When I brushed back the leaves, I found a perfect bullet that had been dropped by a Union Soldier. It was a thrill I would not soon forget! I held in my hand a bullet that was dropped by a soldier over 150 years ago! Since that time I have found other bullets, but none have been near the thrill of finding that first bullet.
A few years ago, I obtained permission to hunt on private property near Missionary Ridge. As I descended down the ridge I had a good beep indicating there was something round in the ground. I dug a few inches and found my first Confederate minie ball. Upon closer examination, I discovered that a face had been carved in the minie ball.
Historians told me the soldiers would often become bored and do such things. As I worked my way laterally along the ridge, I got more beeps on my detector. I finally realized after finding several bullets that I was on a firing line. I could picture those Union Soldiers making their way up the steep ridge to fight the Confederates who were stationed on top of the ridge with their rifles and cannons pointed downward.
On that same ridge, I was hunting relics and stumbled upon another find. This was a more modern find. I started finding gold jewelry all over the ground. I developed a theory. Someone must have stolen that jewelry and tossed it in the woods. I collected many gold charms and small necklaces. When I took them to the gold buyer, I collected over 100.00.
The thing that keeps me going is the thrill of the unknown. The next hunt may reveal the find of a lifetime. Maybe buried Confederate gold or a stash of rifles or swords. I am thankful that I am able to live in an area that is so rich in Civil War history. I hope I can continue to dig up the past with the help of my friend Allen. There is a hunt in the making at this moment. He mentioned an old fort on an island in a lake near my home. When fall rolls around and the snakes are gone, I am sure we will take a trip to the island for some Civil War treasure. I can't wait
In the picture my friend
displays his relics from over 30 years of hunting.
Allen has never been
in it to make money selling artifacts.
He simply wants to preserve the past and has plans to give all his relics to a museum some day.
STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
(Some thoughts as Father's Day approaches)
It was a sunny day in southern Indiana as my dad stepped out of the car on familiar ground. Looking up at the blue summer sky, he declared, “Isn’t the sky so beautiful today!”
Then he looked at me with a passionate gleam in his eyes and said, “Son, never forget to stop and smell the roses in life.”
My dad had just returned home after spending several weeks in the hospital. When the doctor (my first cousin) looked at the x-rays, he became emotionally involved. Falling on the floor and crying uncontrollably, he knew the diagnosis. Liver cancer. Dad's liver was in the final stages of the disease, and Dr. Tuley knew there was nothing he could do about it. So they hooked Dad up with an intravenous machine to regularly deliver morphine to his pain-ridden body.
Dad was returning home for the last time, and in three months, he would pass from this earth to the arms of God. In the meantime, he intended to “smell the roses” while he had opportunity. This meant he would focus on the things that really mattered in life.
To Dad, his family was everything. His smelling the roses in life meant that his final days would be surrounded with visits and conversations with his family and friends. Hugging and kissing his grandkids became a priority. Every moment with my mom was a gift. Laughing and reminiscing with family became his greatest treasure. The roses smelled sweet, and Dad intended to smell every one of them.
As Father's day approaches, we dads may need to take some time to re-evaluate our priorities in life. We never know what may be on the horizon. Each day of life is a gift from God. Country music singer Tim McGraw sang a song that was on the charts for weeks back a few years ago. The title? “Live like you are dying.” A portion of that song is as follows:
“He said I was in my early forties, with a lot of life before me
And one moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days, looking at the x-rays
Talking ‘bout the options and talking ‘bout sweet times.
I asked him, when it sank in, that this might really be the real end
How's it hit 'cha when you get that kind of news?
Man, what did ya do?
I went skydiving
I went rocky mountain climbing
I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denyin'
And he said some day I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin.'”
Dads, cherish the moments in life and live as if you found out you were dying. Since the passing of my dad, who was only 56 when he died, I have tried to pay a little more attention to smelling the roses in life with my own wife and children.
A couple of years ago I went on a father-son outing with my only son Jonathan. I bought a 16 ft. Fischer boat with a 15 hp Johnson motor, and I was anxious to try her out. So Jonathan and I connected up at Chickamauga lake near my home in Chattanooga to test her “sea worthiness.” A couple of casts with my pole found me in a familiar place. My lure got hung in the brush on the bank. So I started up my trolling motor with intention of retrieving my lure. The wind was blowing, and as we neared the shore, I was traveling a little too fast and ended up with brush and limbs in our face and my trolling motor propeller dancing off the rocks! After finally getting things in order, we headed for the middle of the lake to do some fishing in deeper water.
I noticed in the bottom of the boat there was a little pump secured to the floor that undoubtedly was there to help pump out water in the event of an emergency. Well, I created one! I decided to turn on the pump to see if it would work. It was dead and I was determined to find out why. I unscrewed the cap to take a look at it. Water started shooting up from the bottom like a fountain. I cried out to my son, “Help! What are we going to do?” Jonathan rushed to the front of the boat and calmly screwed the cap back and the water stopped flowing. Now our feet were bathing in about three inches of cold water. So we decided to start the trolling motor again and head to a more quiet cove. When I started the trolling motor, I noticed smoke coming from a wire that was connected to a battery. Where there is smoke....yes, there is fire! And it happened! The wire caught on fire and started burning like a line leading to dynamite. Again, I panicked. Out of desperation I took my bare hand and yanked on the wire disconnecting it from the battery. By this time Jonathan was laughing and shaking his head. I looked at him and said, “We sure are creating some memories, aren't we son?” He affirmed, and the story has been told over and over again since that memorable time.
I wouldn't trade that experience (as bad as it could have been) for anything in the world. It was dad and son for better or worse! And there are more experiences I have had with all my children that time will not permit me to share. These experiences are part of smelling the roses in life. Nothing else really matters when it is all said and done. At the end of the day, we often discover that family is everything and we stop sweating the small stuff in life.
Have you stopped to smell the roses lately? Hey Dad, why not create some rose smelling adventures? Father's Day would be a good beginning. Take the lead and schedule some quality time with your family. If you live every day like you are dying, you will have no regrets at the end of life's journey.
Note: The following picture is the actual day I spent with Jonathan on lake Chickamauga when the boat caught on fire.
"QUITTERS NEVER WIN AND WINNERS NEVER QUIT"
When things go wrong as they sometimes will, “Quitters Never Win and Winners Never Quit."
The great British Statesman and leader during World War II, Winston Churchill was asked to speak at a college graduation. Churchill sat upon a platform before thousands of students and eveyone anxiously awaited his speech.
After being properly introduced, Churchill rose and made his way to the podium. All eyes followed him antcipating his wise words. Churchill paused for a moment and looked out over the mass of young eager eyes focussed on him.
Then Churchill confidently said, “Young people, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, QUIT!” And he turned to take his seat. A thunderous applause started and, no doubt, those college students never forgot Churchill's speech.
Other great people in histoory had the same philosophy of Churchill. Here are a few of them.
"Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit."
"You're never a loser until you quit trying."
~ Mike Ditka
"Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit."
"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."
~ Richard Bach
"People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don't know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to."
~ George Allen
“It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longert” Einstein (1879-1955), physicist and developer of the theory of relativity
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”--Thomas Edison (1874-1931), inventor of the light bulb
“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”--Henry Ford (1863-1947), founder of Ford Motor Company
“A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying”.--B.F. Skinner (1904-1990), American psychologist
Quotes from Inspirationalspark.com and /www.inc.com/jayson-demers/35-quotes-about-perseverance-and-never-giving-up.html
My father was one of the greatest examples to me in the area of determination. He dropped out of school in the sixth grade. He had dexlexia and could not read. Most people with this disability would give themselves a life sentence of failure. Not my dad. He was determined to overcome his disability and be successful in life.
Dad worked at a factory making refrigerators when he first married mom. He did not enjoy working on an assembly line going through the same boring movements each day. The factory was hot and the work was tough. Instead of quitting his job, he continued to work and devised a plan to go after his dreams.
One day I was playing in our front yard and I heard an automobile turn into our driveway. I stopped playing and saw a big white Cadillac setting there with the engine running. A strange bald headed man sat there and signaled me to come to the vehicle. He rolled down the window and turned off the engine. He was smoking a big cigar. In between puffs, he said, “Son, is your dad at home?” I said, “Yes Sir:, just a minute and I will get him.”
I ran inside the house and said, “Dad, there is some man in our driveway that says he wants to talk to you.” Dad rose with a curious look on his face and stepped outside. As the man got out his Cadillac, I heard my dad exclaim, “Well Herbie! How are you sir, what brings you here today?”
Herbie threw the remainder of his cigar on the gravel and smashed it with his shoe. “Well Russ, he said with a half grin on his face, are you ready to go to work?” My dad looked shocked for a moment. Then he smiled and said, “You bet Herbie! I'm ready to go to work today!”
Herbie said, “Russ the reason why I drove over here today is because if I don't give you a job you are not going to leave me alone! I am weary of you coming to my house every week, so I decided to drive to your house and give you a job to get you off my back.” Then he chuckled and told my dad what day to report to work.
After Herbie drove away my dad sat down on the front poarch and put his face in his hands and began to cry. My mother was hugging him and it was one of the greatest days in my family memories. All this came about because my dad was determined not to quit. He never gave up on his dream and the Lord rewarded him with one of the highest paying jobs in our state.
Some of our readers may be going through similar circumstances. You may be frustrated and right on the edge of quitting. Don't “throw in the towel” dear friends, you may be right on the verge of a major breathrough in your life. It is my hope the following poem will give you a little extra motivation to stay the course.
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
Whe he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
My dad, Russell Tuley.
Deputy Regent OSMTJ
On behalf of the Communications Director, Senior Editor, Editor in Chief, Managing editor and the editorial staff, writers and artists of chevalier fidèle I would like to welcome Brigadier General Ronald S. Mangum to his new position as Deputy Regent OSMTJ.
My Adventure with the Lord
A Greeting from Editor-in-Chief
It is with great pleasure and blessings I bring all of my Knights Templar friends greetings.
I felt you needed to get to know me better as the new Editor-in-Chief of our newspaper.
I am truly excited about the opportunity Sir Willard Carpenter has given me to serve you. In the months ahead I will take over the administrative duties for Brother Carpenter so he can have more time to help our publication grow.
I was raised in a little town in Indiana called Boonville. It was founded by Patrick Boone, cousin of Daniel Boone. Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home is not far from Boonville, and it is said that he learned the law in our town. I think it amounted to the fact that he borrowed some books from the court house there.
Boonville had similarities to the fictional Mayberry on television. We had our characters. There was a little woman named Pete who wore a police uniform and guarded the meters around our town square. Everyone called her “Pete the meter maid.” She was ruthless in her writing of parking tickets. She wore black glasses with lens that looked like the bottom of coke bottles. If you let your parking meter get one tick over, she was on it like a rooster on a june bug!
We had two barber shops in town which were much like Floyd’s in Mayberry. As a boy, I could easily find out what was going on in the community while waiting to get a haircut. Sometimes I got too much information!
Our Barney Fife was a guy with a mental disability named Harold. (Image provided upper left) Harold was loved by everyone around town. The police department gave him a uniform, badge, whistle and keys. The keys did not work on any of the stores around town, but Harold felt mighty important yanking on the doors every evening to make sure they were locked.
Harold lived with his mother for years until she died. After that, the fire department took responsibility for him and made sure he was clothed, bathed and fed. He was often the Grand Marshall of our Christmas parade each year. People were that way in Boonville, and I sure miss those nostalgic times.
I was born in 1956. Elvis's “Hound Dog” hit the charts, and Dwight D. Eisenhower was President. At age four, I contracted old fashioned scarlett fever and nearly died as my fever soared to over 106. My mom and dad prayed and begged God to spare my life. They promised if the Lord spared my life, they would give me to Him for His service.
In 1978 I revealed to my mom and dad that I believed the Lord was calling me into ministry. My mother cried and said she always knew I was going to be a preacher.
I was working at the time, and I had ordered a new red Ford pickup truck. I knew I couldn't afford the payments and still attend college, so I put this before the Lord. He answered unexpectedly.
The truck dealer called me one day and said, “Terry, I am sorry to inform you that there has been a railroad strike and your truck will not be coming in as scheduled.” He added, “It may be a long while before it arrives.”
My heart skipped a beat for a moment. I knew this was God's way of answering my prayer. I worked up some courage and said, “Just cancel that truck order; I have other plans.”
In 1978, I entered a small college for ministers near our town and began studying for ministry. One day I was sitting in class and a beautiful brunette sat down beside me and smiled. It was my wife to be, Jill. We dated and decided to marry in 1979. This June will mark 39 years of marriage. My wife knew what she was getting into when she married me; she is a pastor’s kid.
Shortly after we married we decided to go to Nashville, Tennessee, and enroll at Free Will Baptist Bible College. There I received my BA degree in Bible and pastoral administration. I pastored churches throughout the south and finally obtained my Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. I pastored nearly 30 years, and at age 61, I am semi-retired residing in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where our youngest daughter lives.
We are truly blessed to be parents of three kids who love the Lord. All three of my children are serving in full-time ministry, two at a church in Staten Island, New York, and one at a church in Cleveland, Tennessee.
I have five beautiful grandchildren and one on the way. We always tried to be there for our kids while they were growing up, always present at their events, always available to listen to them and counsel with them. We often told them that trust is earned. We would let them do things and go places, but they were expected to follow our rules. They knew what to expect if they messed up, and we lovingly disciplined them. They still appreciate their upbringing. They are trying duplicate it with their children.
Pastor's kids sometimes can be the most rebellious kids on earth. When someone asks, “Why are the pastors kids so mean?” I tell them it is because they play with the deacon's kids! My kids were not perfect and they made mistakes like other kids. Basically they were obedient and respectful to our leadership. I think their obedience and respect come from the love they felt from Jill and I.
I enjoy writing books. In 2006 my book Battlefields and Blessings; Stories of faith and courage from the Civil War was published. I never dreamed it would be so successful. The Lord put his blessings on this humble servant’s work and allowed my book to be nominated for the Golden Medallion award in 2006. I went to the World Congress Center in Atlanta and attended the ceremonies. I was an unknown author, surrounded by people like Tim LaHaye, John Piper and many others who were well known in the Christian writing circles. My book did not win the award. Joni Ericksen Toda won the prize with her book Pearls of Great Price. I was so humbled and honored to even be associated with such giants of the faith. In 2008 country music singer and friend Mark Wills took cases of my books to Iraq and gave to the soldiers. My book has also become recommended reading on one of our military bases. Recently, I published a similar book entitled, Battlefields and Blessings; Stories of Faith and Courage from the Christian Officers of the Civil War. Both my books are available on Amazon.com.
I am in the fourth quarter of my life, but I know the Lord is not through with me yet. I believe my calling to the Knight's Templars will give me tremendous opportunity to touch the lives of others. I wish to be a source of encouragement to you in your walk with Christ. The Lord may lead me eventually into the rank of Chaplain within our organization. That is in his hands and those in leadership. In the meantime I am a CAA working on my requirements like many of you. Feel free to contact me if I can ever help you or pray for you. I have met many already whom I call my friends and looking forward to meeting new friends. I hope my articles will be a source of encouragement and blessings in the months ahead.
Non Nobis Domine, Terry R. Tuley
Editor in Chief. (new to the team)
Where they are you will find that someone left. Left a mark, a smile, a tear, lessons, they walked, they spoke, breathed, smelled, tasted, felt, touched.
Normally when I write I begin with an idea, develop the idea and find the scripture. I was recently approached by my pastor with scripture and asked to write about it.
Novel or new ideas challenge me to novel approaches. I knew that I would get help, that there was a broad lesson to the scripture that I had read.
The golden goose we affectionately called the little, old, but agile Hyundai Elantra. I had picked it up at auction a year ago. It squeeled as the belt wouldn’t cooperate with the rest of the engine when I started it.
I never had to worry about this little car that didn’t know how to quit. I parked it anywhere. I enjoyed shifting thru its five gears. I played Christmas music beyond the time of the celebrations of that time.
Last week there came a time to get rid of two of my vehicles so as to lighten the insurance burden. I thought to myself I would like to get what I had paid into it in the past year. Within hours I had a couple of dozen offers.
My wife, Michele, handled the numerous people who texted their interest. The next day I had one person who stopped by and verbalized interest. He said he would let me know by 2pm.
I no sooner had my front door closed when three men pulled up in a van unexpectedly. Not knowing what to expect they also were interested, the one guy Eric told me he wanted it. I assured him that if the other guy doesn’t want it he could have it. Disappointed he looked back at his friend and said, “If I’m meant to have it, I will.”
God’s fingerprints, I thought to myself. These men were the faithful. I knew at that time that the other guy wouldn’t take the car and Eric would have the car he so wanted.
Two o’clock came and went without a phone call, I called the other guy back who told me he was sorry he didn’t call, but he bought the other car. God’s fingerprints.
Texting Eric I wrote “It’s yours”. Coincident is a word in my world without a definition nor meaning. God’s fingerprints I see constantly.
As I turned to the text given to me in Mark 1:9-15 I find the lesson on God’s fingerprints.
9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
12 And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
God had already been there at the time of John the Baptist. He let him know that Jesus would come to be baptized. That he Jesus would also be baptized in the spirit also.
There was a plan for Jesus of his father who prepared him for his life from that time going forward as there was a plan for his birth going forward to this time where the spirit came down in the form of a dove.
As any father he acknowledged his son publicly praising him, letting him know that he was pleased. Then sent him thru the spirit into the wilderness to be “trained”.
When Jesus came from the wilderness and into Galilee to preach, all was God’s plan. All, if they were looking would have noticed God’s fingerprints.
Today as during the time of Jesus and John the Baptist there are no coincidences, only God’s plan in our lives as there was a plan for Jesus and John and the many of the faithful to follow.
Today as during that time you only need to open your heart and souls eyes and see “The Fingerprints”.
The Quiet Sentinel
This is a piece I had done for the Boyertown Bulletin. May 2017, Memorial day tribute. To remind us of the sacrifices of our men and woman who are in harms way both in and out of combat zones.
Driving East on West Philadelphia Avenue, leaving the area of the Oley Valley, the sun is bright, wisps of clouds white with pale magenta painting the blue overhead. As I crest the hill on a slight right turn a camouflaged figure comes into view on the left.
Standing at attention and at present arms I am met by a Boyertown Bear standing tall at over 6 foot. The figure of the bear in the older “BDU” (Battle Dress Uniform) fully replaced by the ACU in 2007, is adorned with the name U.S. Army, the rank of PFC (Private First Class), Dog tags with DOB (Date of Birth) 10/26/1986, and what struck me most, his name, Zimmerman.
The name struck me on a personal level. As a historian the name Zimmerman is a family name of German origin. Zimmerman is also a family name on my wife’s side for this area of Pennsylvania Deutsch, which she is descended.
I had not known about this statue until a little while after it was erected. The soldier interested me more. He was a classmate of my daughter. Death, when it comes to our children of Boyertown, has a way of coming home.
Not knowing where he was buried I had looked around the Fairview Cemetary. There are many soldiers who had gone previously from many wars as well as veterans who rest there. The camouflaged bear is representative of them all.
My look into Travis’s life began with his internment at New Goshenhoppen UCC, where the original Zimmerman’s settled in Pennsylvania with my wife’s family. Travis get’s closer.
Being small towns Boyertown and Gilbertsville, straddle route 100 where the now Giant food store lies and the former Bonanza stood and Travis worked. He made people smile especially those who were close to him.
Having always wanting to join the Army while at Boyertown H.S. Travis Zimmerman enlisted in July after he graduated in 2005.
Following basic and advanced training as an infantryman he went to his unit at Fort Campbell. Assigned to the 2nd Battalian of the 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). Also known as the Screaming Eagles or what we lovingly knew it as “Pukin Buzzards”, this is my old division that I had enlisted in and was moved from to the 86th Combat Support Hospital, which also was in theater at the time. PFC Travis Zimmerman get’s even closer as I now identify with him.
PFC Zimmerman had not been in the theater of combat but a short while in Baghdad, Iraq in what is otherwise know as the “sandbox” when he was killed by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) on 22 April 2006. He was on foot doing recon near his OP (Observation Post) when he was killed.
Nothing touches families more than to lose a loved one under any condition. But to lose a loved one to combat stings the soul with its suddenness and many questions.
Though I do identify with the fears of families who have family in the military with my son and son-in-law who are presently serving in the Army. I cannot pretend to know what this family has gone thru with the loss of Travis now during the 10 anniversary of his death. I cannot even with all of the ways I identify with him.
I can however keep his family in prayer as I do what I can here to honor the memory of this young soldier with what was all his plans, dreams, and life which could, as others, be seen in his eyes.
Passing by the camouflaged bear I am as we all should be this Memorial Day, marked with the reality of the son’s and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who had lost someone in defense of our nation. They should above all be kept in prayer and honored for their sacrifice.
Passing, as I drive slowly, I am solemnly reminded by The Quiet Sentinel”.