Anniversary: Oh, How the Years Go By, Part 3

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2013
The Face of America Project
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

“Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart.” Eleanor Roosevelt

This morning, Kitch reminded me that today is the third anniversary of our Face of America journey to California, the official start of our search forIMG_6597 examples of America at its best.

To be more specific, on this date in 2010, our destination was Shanksville, Pennsylvania. On the way we made a sentimental stop in Centralia, PA, the place where our documentary career took flight in 1983. Then we drove to Mechanicsburg to have lunch with Katy and Bob Finn, two very special people in our life.  


We ended the day with three of the best people we know Janie Kiehl, Chuck and Jayne Wagner. For ten years, Janie, Chuck and Jayne helped us tell the story of Flight 93 and the People’s Memorial to the passengers and crew who gave IMG_6722their lives for their country on the day the earth stood still for America.

Our dinner and visit in Shanksville ended one of those days that can only be described as practically perfect in every way. Wherever we stopped on February 28, 2010, we felt the warmth and the sense of belonging that is central to America at its best.

The Numbers for 2013

These are the statistics for the third year of ourGNMP_0768_150 project:

9,000 miles traveled in 5 states and 20 cities;

44 articles posted on our Face of America website;

14 visits to Gettysburg.

We produced an hour documentary entitled Walking Into The Light At Gettysburg.

Title Walking Into the Light AA_250

We screened the documentary and hosted a banquet in Gettysburg on January 19, 2013. Without question this was the most ambitious, complicated, challenging, rewarding and time consuming activity of the year.

We are eternally grateful to Bonnie & Frank Orlando, Tim Johnson, Ann Costa, Mandy Moore, Tom Mazur, Ellen and Jerry Mondlak. They encouraged us, helped us and inspired us to make the documentary and the premiere weekend happen.

In July, we started production of a weekly “America at its Best” commentary for the Business Builders Show with Marty Wolff. What a wonderful learning experience this has been. Thank you, Marty.

During the year, we delivered guest lectures at Marywood University, The Community College of Baltimore, Luzerne County Community College and Wilkes University. Thank you, Gale, Rick, Bill, Judy and Bob; we are forever in your debt.

Book Report

This year, we had two false starts with our book America at its Best, and little success in finding a traditional publisher.Lincolnsm

At the moment we are exploring the opportunities available in digital publishing.

Last evening we received a telephone call from a representative of an alternative publishing company who encouraged us to sign a contract with her company. Strange as this may seem, this morning we had a request to write a chapter book about one of our life experiences.

Robert Dahl’s words about writing continue to inspire us: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Looking Forward

In the days and weeks ahead, we will honor an invitation to screen Walking Into the title_250_GLLLight at the annual meeting of the Wyoming Valley Civil War Round Table.

We will present our thoughts about “Gettysburg, Lincoln and Leadership” at the 11th annual Forum and Conference on Ethical Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility at Marywood University.

We will participate in the annual arts festival at the North Plainfield High School, and the school district will host a community screening of Walking Into The Light at Gettysburg.

We will host our annual Windsor Park Camp for our grandchildren. Without question it’s the best event of the summer.

We have a very special documentary project in its preproduction phase, and we will continue the renovation of the garden we began last summer.

A Moment Like No Other


Last month, we received this note from Martin Young:

Hi Tony, Kitch I just posted the song for you guys to check out, I hope you like it. I feel like it came out really well. I may still do a few more things to it but this is certainly very close. Hope everyone is well, take care, Martin

What a joy it was to hear the song we wrote about surviving cancer. We are indebted to Mike Lewis and Martin Young who helped us refine the words and produce the music.

We are in the process of securing a copyright.

A Priceless Gift

Yesterday we received a priceless gift from our friend, Bill Gaydos. Before we left Gettysburg on January 20, Bill told us he intended to write a poem about the documentary.  This week we received a beautiful framed first edition of Bill’s poem.

You can read Bill’s poignant verse at this address:

To everyone who helped realize our dream to produce a documentary about the magic and mystery of Gettysburg, we say thank you.

ALstu_9426_250This has not been the easiest year for us. We encountered many bumps on the road, and we are dealing with some challenges we never expected. That being said, we are determined to keep moving forward.

President Abraham Lincoln said it best: “Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did.”

Until the next time, we hope that all of your stories have happy endings.

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