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At the end of the day I was a little bit colder!

The morning was quite beautiful, and Flyer and I took a few hours away from the Haasienda to our selves.

Back at home I washed dishes, cleaned the kitchen, steam-cleaned the kitchen carpet, and relaxed to a Netflix documentary on West Point Military Academy.

At 5:00pm, I walked over to the school to watch the band do a parent-run-thru, and gave Quintin his supper.  I returned home to shower and head to Centerville High School for their marching band invitational.

Bellbrook High School was outstanding, and I strongly believed their scores should have been a bit higher than the ones presented by the judges.  I was disappointed in the scoring for this particular band, as this was, undoubtedly, the best show on the competition field tonight.

In our class, Miamisburg walked away with three caption awards, and Fairmont nabbed two.  I was holding my breath for the placements, but Fairmont squeaked by to first place by one point.

Centerville High School was the highlight of the evening.  It was a much different show than what I saw in September, and was full of energy, and excitement.

This was a fantastic day!

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Flyer appears physically healthy, but her mind seems clouded with confusion, and a lack of recognition.  At times, she does not appear to recognize me.  If this condition worsens, I will probably be forced to make a decision.

This morning, we got into the car and took a little jaunt to some of our favorite haunts: Orville Wright’s Oakwood home, Hawthorn Hill; Woodland Cemetery to the Wright Family Grave Site; and the memorial site where the Wright Family home once stood on Hawthorn Street.

Though blind, and confused, when we arrived at the Wright family graves, Flyer sniffed her way to Wilbur’s grave, and stood guard, as she as done since her first visit when I brought the 10 week old puppy home.  Several folks were visiting the gravesite, and were amazed, and impressed with Flyer’s seeming dedication to Wilbur Wright.

I presume this will be the final trip to these sites.  Flyer has bounced back from death once before, however, her mind just seems to be fading fast.

How I do love this little pal who has welcomed every son into the home, offering them added comfort, security, and healing.  Flyer has been a blessed companion.

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I was so proud of the Beavercreek High School Marching Band who performed their 2012 show during the Fairmont vs Beavercreek game’s half-time.  These troopers plowed through the pouring rain and miserable conditions, giving a super performance.

Thank you, Beavercreek Marching Band!

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I am glad the seniors got their moment; however, it was raining pretty steady during this final time on the football field.

Congratulations to all the 2012 Fairmont Marching Band seniors, and to their families!

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The rain has been fairly steady since 10:30am.  The grey, cloudy skies have captured the 44-degree temperature in a bubble that encapsulates the Miami Valley.  The weather channel indicates the rain cell will linger for quite some time.

As I drove by the high school, the marching band, garbed in the warm, long raincoats, was assembled for its last step-off of the season.  Normally, it is not this dark at 6:45pm, but night has fully settled in.

I am hoping the rain will stop shortly.  This is senior night for Fairmont students.  This is the night when senior members of the marching band, football team and cheerleaders are recognized for their contributions, hard work, and dedication.  I am not a fan of football, itself, but am hoping these find young folks will not be robbed of this big moment which, in many ways, is the first of many ‘goodbyes’ to come.

All summer long, we prayed for rain that abandoned most of the country.  The past month we’ve been blessed with much rain on Friday evenings, postponing numerous football games.

Fingers are crossed for tonight!


This morning I drove out to Harshman Road past the Museum of the United States Air Force (and I did not stop!) to walk through one of the many Five Rivers Metro Parks: Eastwood Park.

There were some lovely areas, but the color changes were not nearly as dramatic as last week’s natural canvas.  Plus, the park just did not seem well-tended.  There seemed to be a seediness with cars parking and folks meeting up.

A MetroPark police office drove a few feet in front of me, and stopped.  As he looked back over his shoulder across one of the bridges toward three young adults walking, I caught a whiff of pot.  I looked at officer and said, “I think I smell what you smell.”  He smiled and nodded.  The trio walked past the officer, and eventually he pulled them over, handcuffing the two young men.

Other than that, it felt like an uneventful morning.

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One of the neatest areas of Dayton is The Oregon District located on the Southeast corner of downtown.  It is much like being in The Village of New York City with some of its eateries and unique shops.  Behind the main pass-thru is a section of beautiful old homes.  It is much like stepping back in time, except for the cars parked along the street.

I did not take photographs of the homes as I felt that would be invasive; but I captured a few items that stand out on some of the homes – even a woodpecker making a hole on one of the homes.

This is a bit of Oregon District’s history and archives.

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I had driven through Carriage Hill Farm Park once, but had never stopped.  This morning, after leaving Charleston Falls, I headed a few minutes over to this park.  A beautifully maintained farm from the 1800’s.

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This morning I left the house a little after 9:00am, and drove about 15 miles to Charleston Falls, just north of Dayton and Huber Heights off highway 202.

Very nice scenery, but the falls was barely a trickle.

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I love this quaint little neighborhood across the river from downtown Dayton.  It is where the Wright family lived, and worked.  Although their two story clapboard house no longer stands in its original location at 9 Hawthorn Street (it was removed to Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village), there is an amazing replica on the corner.

The neighborhood’s transformation has been spectacular, and continues to improve.

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Bishop Milton Wright

United Theological Seminary is a United Methodist seminary in Trotwood, Ohio just outside of Dayton in the Dayton metropolitan area. Founded in 1871 by Milton Wright (the father of Orville and Wilbur Wright), it was originally sponsored by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. In 1946 members of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ started a new denomination, the Evangelical United Brethren Church, with which the seminary then became affiliated. When that denomination merged with The Methodist Church in 1968, United Theological Seminary became one of the thirteen official seminaries of the new United Methodist Church. Though the seminary is affiliated with the United Methodist denomination, students come from many denominations and are ordained by a wide range of denominations upon graduation. The seminary houses a Presbyterian, Baptist, and United Church of Christ House of Studies. The seminary also has strong ties to the African-American church tradition, with a number of United graduates or former faculty members being major figures in the American Civil Rights Movement. In recent years, the seminary has become a leading center for discussion of church renewal.

In 1869, the General Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ voted to create and fund a seminary. The motion was suggested by Milton Wright, who later joined the seminary as the chairman of its first executive committee and named the seminary. The denomination’s publishing house was already located in Dayton, making the city an ideal location for its seminary. The school opened as Union Biblical Seminary in Dayton in 1871, operating with two full-time professors. In 1873 the seminary began admitting women. The first graduating class completed their studies in 1874, while the first woman graduated in 1883. An important early supporter of the school was the prominent Rike family, who founded and operated Rike Kumler Co. The school changed its name to Bonebrake Seminary in 1909 to honor Mary and John Bonebrake, who gave the seminary 3,840 acres of land in Kansas in an effort to raise revenue for the school. After the land was sold this amounted to a gift of nearly $100,000. Due to the seminary’s growing popularity and increasing enrollment, school officials had already been looking to expand the school’s campus. In 1911 the seminary, which had previously consisted of only one building, was able to buy a new 274 acre tract of land which was located a mile and a half away from the seminary’s previous plot of land. However, the school did not break ground to build any new facilities until 1920. Eventually the school constructed three buildings on the land, with the new campus being designed by the internationally-acclaimed Olmsted Brothers, who also helped design dozens of other national parks, university campuses, and landmarks around the world, including Biltmore EstateThe Jefferson Memorial, and Yosemite National Park and whose father, Frederick Law Olmsted, designed Central Park. The school was able to hire the Olmsted Brothers due to a sizable contribution from John Henry Patterson, the founder of the National Cash Register Company. The three buildings were all completed in 1923, at which time the seminary sold the building it had previously been occupying. The building was bought by the Evangelical School of Theology, which had formerly been located in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In 1943 the United States government established a top-secret testing site at the Bonebrake Theological Seminary for the Manhattan Project, where research was conducted on the creation of an atomic bomb and polonium was produced that would eventually be used in the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945. In 1946, after a long period of division within the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, some members of the denomination decided to merge with the Evangelical Church, forming a new denomination which would be called the Evangelical United Brethren Church, with which the seminary then became affiliated. In 1954 United Theological Seminary was formed when the existing Bonebrake Seminary merged with The Evangelical School of Theology, which had previously bought the building the seminary had first occupied before moving to their new campus. Four of the faculty members from the Evangelical School of Theology moved to United to remain at the new seminary. A new library was constructed in 1952 and a new dormitory completed in 1957, while 1961 saw the completion of a new worship center. In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church denominations merged. The United Methodist Church was formed by the merger, and the school became one of thirteen seminaries affiliated with the new denomination.

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This morning I ventured out to the Dayton VA & Military Cemetery on West Third Street & Gettysburg.  The campus is gorgeous, and the resting place of thousands of servicemen and women is tranquil, and lovely.

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Upcoming Programs

at President Lincoln’s Cottage

Lincoln and the Dakota
A Weekend of Reflection and Remembrance
Join us on October 20th and 21st for a weekend of activities as we honor the 150th anniversary of the 1862 U.S. – Dakota War. Programs include a film screening followed by a guided conversation on Saturday evening and the Dakota Legacy of Survival Round Dance on Sunday afternoon on the South Lawn of the Cottage.

Film and conversation: sold out.

Round Dance: 10/21, 12:00 – 5:00 pm. Free.

Speaker John Borman will give a presentation, “Walk With Me,” during the Round Dance.

For more information, click here.

*This program is presented in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, with support from the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe, the D.C. Native Community Round Dance Planning Committee, and the National Endowment for Humanities.

Cottage Conversations

Want to know more about Lincoln’s cabinet? Join us on Thursday October 25 for the premier lecture in the 2012-2013 Cottage Conversations series. Walter Stahr will speak about his new book, Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man.

Reception: 6:00pm / $10

Lecture: 6:30pm / $10

Reservations: SMiraminy

President Lincoln’s Cottage
Randolph Street at Rock Creek Church Road, NW

Washington, District of Columbia 20011

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I spent a good hour walking through Dayton Metro Parks Cox Arboretum.  The new tree tower is delightful, and provides a panoramic view of the Miami Valley.

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A ton of work goes into this huge undertaking, and it is always so exciting to see the process pay off.

I was responsible for ordering the trophies, and pulling together the awards ceremony for the fifth year, and each year I have more and more fun with this component.

On the other side of the field, near the visitor’s concession building, I managed approximately 20 adults and about 13 student ambassadors who were busy checking-in band directors and serving as host/ambassadors to guide the bands to their warm-up stations, and finally, to the gate for performance.  It ran smoothly, and I am indebted to the diligence and pride of these wonderful parents and students.

I love the awards ceremony.  The seniors and several sponsor identified presenters gather for a brief training, and these students are always so pleasant, pumped, primed and proud for the duty that awaits them.  Their enthusiasm is always such a high-point to the conclusion of an event that involves weeks of planning, countless emails swapped, scratching well-laid plans and creating new plans – even at the last minute, enduring a few minor headaches, walking more in one day than I do in – well, let’s just say a week, greeting bands and directors, and feeling that flood of very slight let-down when the event is off and running. The awards ceremony is the icing on the cake.

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Tonight I went to the Fairmont vs Northmont football game at Kettering’s Rousch Stadium.  I sat with my regular favorites, Paula Bennett and Tony Bane, and two of his children, Jacob and Ellie.  Paula’s husband and son, Don and Sam, were at church camp, and Angela and Noah Bane remained home where it was warm.  We were also joined by two other favorite band moms, Marie Johnson and Diana Cattell.

I shot some photos of the recognized teachers to take the field, especially Candy Clark, a wonderful art teacher who will retire the end of this school year.

A fun night!

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What a grand afternoon!

Quintin and I left the house at 11:00am for downtown Dayton.  Stopped at a music store we seldom frequent to get some guitar strings, and then on to our familiar no-school day haunt – the Chinese restaurant across from the Victoria Theatre in the old Biltmore Hotel.

We traipsed across town to Carillon Park to absorb the beautiful fall weather, and then wound our way through Hills & Dales Park before ending the venture with some frozen yogurt from Awesome Yogurt at the corner of Far Hills & Dorothy Lane.

What a fantastic time with the son, and some of our favorite places in Dayton!

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Figured I’d really try my hand at photography during band rehearsal where there is a lot of movement.

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Quintin broke his glasses, and I decided to walk the 5-6 blocks to the optometrist’s office so I could practice with the new camera.  I really like having a camera where I do not have to edit photos!  Really neat!

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It seems as though I have done nothing but bid farewell to people this past month – beautiful people from my youth who I dearly loved.

Today at 4:30pm, Margaret Blubaugh Stiner, more familiarly known as ‘Margie,’ passed away.  While I’ve bid farewell to too many family and dear friends this past month, this one is pretty hard.

The Elwood Public Library

My freshman year of high school I began working at the Elwood Public Library.  Margie was the librarian in charge of scheduling and training the high school workers.  At first, she was not keen on my working at the library because I was drum-major of the marching band and she feared my schedule would always be an issue.  However, the scheduling was always easy, and Margie, after admitting her initial reaction to me working at the library, said that she was so glad she was over-ruled.

Margie, and her husband, Craig, were dear friends with my grandparents, Leroy & Donna Barmes, when they were young couples dating.  Grandpa & Craig played on the same baseball team that was coached by my great grandfather, Virgil “Red” Barmes.  Grandpa and Craig enlisted in WWII together, leaving Margie and Grandma behind in Elwood.  Margie said she and Grandma Donna became much like sisters during this time.

Craig’s middle name was “Dalone” and he always signed his letters to Margie, “From Dalone Ranger.”

After the war, both couples were married and the family years began.

I spent a good deal of time at the library while growing up, and always ventured upstairs to the adult library to say, “hello,” to Mrs. Stiner who, like my Uncle Dewey Smith at the post office, always seemed to have time to chat with me.

Craig & Margie Stiner at my high school graduation

My favorite time to work was Tuesday nights when it was Margie’s turn to close.  Quite often she would have the books shelved for me so we would have some chat time while we worked together the last few hours of the evening.  This is where I learned even more of my family’s history.  Margie adored my great-grandparents – Garrett & Belle Clary, and Virgil & Thelma Barmes – and shared many stories of time spent with them.  Margie’s daughter, Gail, worked as a dispatcher at the Elwood Police Department when my grandfather was an officer, so I got even more stories from a different angle.

For me, it was TUESDAYS WITH MARGIE.  And what wonderful, memorable evenings Tuesdays were.

The Elwood Public Library was one of the highlights of my high school years.  In so many ways, we became a family.  The adult librarians who worked with Margie, Francie Robertson, Mitzi Thomas, Lynn Ishay, Rita McQuitty, and the students who passed through during my era, Janice Strong Eddy, Julie Summers, Shawn Heaton, Cheryl McQuitty, will always be a treasured part of my youth.

My junior year of high school, Craig became the librarian’s custodian, and he always loved sharing stories about the years when he and my grandfather played ball.  I especially loved the summer months when I went in early because I knew I would get to see Craig, and learn more about my family history.

My last day to work at the library before leaving for Ball State University was bittersweet.  Margie scheduled me to close with her one last time.  It was so hard to see her big blue eyes fill with tears as she hugged me.

I saw Margie as much as I could during quick visits home these past twenty-eight years since leaving Elwood.  Shortly before Grandpa Leroy passed away, he and I walked over to Craig and Margie’s house.  Craig had been incapacitated and could not speak.  His eyes filled with tears as Grandpa walked onto their back patio.  After we left, Grandpa stopped at the corner and began wiping away tears.  “I hate to see Craig in such bad shape.  I know he’s not got long.”  Craig died a few weeks later, and Grandpa died shortly after.

And this evening, I’ve shed some tears, too.  I feel as though my a bit more of my wonderful youth has slipped a little further away, and a treasured, beloved link to my family’s past has now ended.  Though her health was gradually declining, and we knew the end was closing in, Margie’s passing is still very hard this evening.

Though forty years separated us in age, our spirits were always linked with our love of family and friends, our mutual devotion to our hometown and its rich history, and our ability to share tons of laughter.

Where ever you are, Dear Friend, know you will always be loved…

Please give Craig, Grandpa Leroy, and Grandma Donna a hug from me…

For a week I’ve been pumped about today’s events at Dayton’s historic Woodland Cemetery.  The annual Woodland Days – a walking tour of the cemetery where guests meet various actors portraying Dayton’s exciting heritage – and a ceremony celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  My good friend, Bob Koogler, a President Lincoln re-enactor, was scheduled to speak.

Quintin and I arrived at 12:15pm as the sky began dripping with a light rain.  I was determined to use my new camera, and fortunately, the rain blew over rather quickly.  However, it was still a bit on the chilly side.

At first we joined the tour, but decided to strike out on our own after visiting Erma Bombeck at her gravesite.

Woodland Cemetery is always a rush for me!  It is about ten minutes from my home, and I visit at least once a month.  My favorite spot – one of many – is the pinnacle where you can look out over the Miami Valley.  Before the large gazebo was built, I often climbed the point to eat my lunch with Flyer at my side.  It is a breath-taking view, and the months of Fall and Spring are absolutely gorgeous.

We covered the entire cemetery – as usual – and stopped to speak with some of the volunteers portraying Woodland’s more well-known inhabitants as they awaited the round of tours.

Fortunately, we arrived just in time to see President Lincoln, represented by Centerville’s own, Bob Koogler, speak about his newly written “Emancipation Proclamation,” which goes into effect January 1, 1863.  Bob has been a dear friend for many years, and we have enjoyed many wonderful productions together.  Bob’s wife, Sarah, was the very first person I met when I moved to Dayton in 1990.  Sarah often accompanies Bob on his Lincoln outings, and was there today as The First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln.  The President and First Lady were guests of honor for the Civil War ceremony, an laid the wreath at the foot of the soldiers’ monument.

Despite the weather’s gloominess, it was still a grand day at Woodland Cemetery, and spending time with Quinny.

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Yesterday, I received a note in my mailbox that contained a money order.  The note read,

“You’ve been talking about getting a new camera for a while.  You take great pictures.  Go get a camera and continue charting your world.”

And the note was unsigned.

I decided I would test-drive several cameras; however, the camera I brought home last night, a Sony Make Believe Cyber Shot (DSC-HX100V) is quite awesome.  And, it took little time to figure out the basics.  Still more to learn, but I think this is a keeper!

Practice shots with different settings…

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Hey Gang!

I have a high school senior voice/musical theatre student from Kettering’s Fairmont High School here in Ohio, who is writing her senior research paper on the musical theatre industry.  Her thesis statement is centered around:

How musical theatre has affected the American culture between 1920 to the present.

If you have any:

  • personal/professional thoughts on this topic
  • any sources to which she might turn

please feel free to share.

Her rough draft is due Monday, October 29th.

Thanking you all in advance…  Darin


I missed the double rainbow that everyone else seemed to capture this morning.  The sky, for a while, was a kaleidoscope of colors and textures as a divided rain cell moved in across The Miami Valley.

The reds, yellows and burnt-oranges are joining the palate of green that rises above the roof tops.  I captured several areas from the front porch, and the second floor.

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Mock trial finds

Mary Todd Lincoln was not insane

Re-enactment at presidential museum finds former first lady wrongfully committed

By Jason Nevel

Posted Oct 01, 2012 @ 10:44 PM


Jurors in 1875 made the wrong choice in committing Mary Todd Lincoln to a mental institution, a retrial of the famous case found Monday.

The re-enactment was held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, with area judges serving as attorneys arguing for and against the widow of President Lincoln. The audience served as the jury.

In 1875, the nation’s former first lady was judged insane during a trial in Chicago and ordered to a Batavia sanitarium. She obtained an early release, and, one year later, another jury found her sane.

First Lady Mary Lincon

For more than 100 years, historians have debated whether there was enough evidence to ever commit Mrs. Lincoln to an institution. In Monday’s event, actors in period costumes portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln and her son Robert Lincoln, who filed the petition to have his mother involuntarily committed. The retrial lasted more than two hours.

The vote on whether to institutionalize the troubled first lady was 68 for and 159 against. A similar retrial was held Sept. 24 in Chicago. Audience members there also overwhelmingly disagreed with the initial verdict.

Beth Pendergast, a Springfield audience member, said she believed there was enough to prove Mary Todd Lincoln was insane based on her erratic behavior.

Historical accounts describe Mary Todd Lincoln as slowly going insane after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the death of three sons. However, some people argue Robert Lincoln was trying to protect the family’s reputation.

To open up the trial, Robert Lincoln, portrayed by Zach Kenney of Chicago, was questioned by a lawyer portrayed by Ronald Spears, a circuit judge in Christian County.

Robert Lincoln said his mother, for unknown reasons, thought he was ill and traveled from Florida to Chicago to see him. On the train ride there, she said someone tried to poison her coffee and steal her purse, he said.

While staying at a hotel in Chicago, Robert Lincoln further testified that his mother thought the city of Chicago was on fire, she could hear voices through the walls, and his mother thought he was going to kill her. There was also testimony about Mrs. Lincoln’s spending habits.

Having her committed was for her safety, Robert Lincoln said.

“I want to protect her and provide her the treatment she needs,” he said.

Mrs. Lincoln’s defense said she feared for Robert Lincoln’s safety because her three other sons had died of illness. Her actions were motivated by her desire to protect her surviving son, her lawyer said.

Actress Sally Field as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln

Hear the Silent Speak – A Civil War 150th Anniversary Educational Experience

History buffs, teachers, students, genealogists, and the curious alike are invited to visit “Hear the Silent Speak,” a free Civil War Sesquicentennial living history event hosted by Dayton’s Major General W. T. Sherman Camp 93 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War:

1-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7 in the Grand Army of the Republic Veterans Section of Historic Woodland Cemetery, 118 Woodland Avenue, Dayton 45409.

Bob Koogler as President Lincoln

Along with a display of Civil War equipment and performances of 19th century music, living historians will share information concerning some known and little known War Between the States 1861-65 soldiers, sailors and citizens. Among them, Colonel Hiram Strong who commanded Montgomery County’s 93rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Chaplain William Earnshaw who was National Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic veterans organization 1879-1880, and Private George Washington Fair, the soldier atop Dayton’s Civil War Monument downtown.

There will be a wreath-laying ceremony in the G.A.R. Section at 1 p.m., a guided tour of veteran’s grave sites at 2 p.m., and a Civil War music concert at 3 p.m. A President Lincoln re-enactor (Bob Koogler) will deliver and discuss the Emancipation Proclamation at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

The event, sanctioned by the Ohio Historical Society CW150 Committee and the Lincoln Society of
Dayton, is associated with Discover Historic Woodland Day Oct. 7. From the Cemetery’s front gate at 1:30. 2:30, and 3:30 p.m., Woodland volunteers will conduct guided tours to grave sites of famous Daytonians including Erma Bombeck, the Wright Brothers, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and other historic people buried in the cemetery.

For more information concerning Hear the Silent Speak, email Sherman Camp at .

For more information concerning Historic Woodland Days, telephone Woodland Cemetery at
937.228.3221or go to

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October 2012
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