Posts Tagged ‘Four Days of Honor and Valor in Gettysburg’

A Special Moment at Wilkes University

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Wilkes students view documentary film on Gettysburg
The Times Leader

October 02. 2014 6:26PM – 1913 Views

By Bill O’Boyle

Photograph by Fred Adams

WILKES-BARRE — Honor and valor, along with character, courage, humility and integrity were words discussed and their definitionsWilkes Presentation displayed at length Wednesday during a two-hour presentation at Wilkes University.

Dr. Tony Mussari Sr., retired King’s College professor, spoke to a group of Wilkes education students about his latest film — “Four Days of Honor and Valor in Gettysburg.” His presentation was part of the Drs. Robert S. and Judith A. Gardner Educational Forum Series that features speakers from the educational and business community.

When the film ended and Mussari stopped speaking, the students came away impressed, challenged and determined to follow the examples depicted in the film.

The documentary was filmed during the 150th Medal of Honor Convention, held in September 2013, in Gettysburg. Six Junior ROTC students from North Plainfield (N.J.) High School are featured: Adriana Miranda, senior; Elijah Sheridan, junior; Jared Ruiz, junior; Ruel Lindsay, junior; Kyle Pacla, junior; and Nancy Bahnasy, sophomore.

The students got to meet and talk to several recipients of the Medal of Honor and they heard the selflessness of each story and the attitude of “we did what we had to do” that echoed through the four days.

And the echoes reverberated at Wilkes, where the students gained a perspective on how important it is to live one’s life in an honorable and ethical way.

Mussari began with a thought for the day from George Washington, the father of our country, who said: “Labor to keep alive in your breast, that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

The New Jersey School Boards Association has supported publication and distribution of a teaching guide of Mussari’s documentary that will be used in all New Jersey public high schools.

“I’m worried about your generation,” Mussari said. “I’m not afraid for your future, but I am concerned.”

Medal of Honor

So Mussari embarked on this journey, with his wife, Kitch Loftus Mussari, to film another documentary to add to their list of completed projects, like those on the Agnes Flood of 1972, the Centralia Fire in 1982 and the Windsor Park series.

This project was 15 months in the making and included 21 trips to Gettysburg, site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

As the students watched the documentary, they learned there are 3,462 Medal of Honor recipients, all but one are men; 63 of them fought at Gettysburg and 1,522 fought in the Civil War. The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.

As Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Barney Barnum said, “I’m not a hero. I’m just Barney Barnum,” the students pondered the question often asked: “What motivated them to do what they did?”

There were plenty of reasons offered, but the overriding response was: “We did what we had to do.”

The students learned the hardest thing to do is doing the right thing, but most of the Medal of Honor recipients in the documentary agreed that when faced with a dangerous situation, a moment arrives when all just reacted and they did what had to be done.

As Sal Giunta, the youngest recipient who served in Afghanistan, said, “Right will always be right.”

Mussari said the lessons learned in Gettysburg need to be learned throughout the U.S. He said one-third of children are born into single-parent families. He said numbers are always increasing of grandparents raising their grandchildren.

“These are challenging times,” Mussari said. “These trends need to change.”

The Wilkes students said the documentary opened their eyes and they came away impressed by how each recipient disregarded their own safety to do what was necessary for the good of their comrades, their communities and their country.

(The Medal of Honor statistics in the documentary reflect the number of recipients as of September 2013)

Kitch Loftus: The Greatest Gift

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

The Greatest Gift: Kitch

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Photography by Tony Mussari, Sr., & Clark Van Orden

You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. A.A. Milne

In the past two days, four articles and two reviews aboutGraphic Four Days of Honor and Valor in Gettysburg were posted in this blog. A short video about 2d Lt Emily Perez was posted on the video page. This article will focus on the person who gave the most before, during and after the location shoot to guarantee the success of this project.

If you lived in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the late 60’s and Warm bilboard70’s, you listened to the most popular radio station, WARM. Affectionately known as the Mighty 590 it was the place for news and entertainment. Kitch Loftus was a member of that awardArtwork pm winning news department.

During the Agnes Flood disaster of 1972, she was everywhere reporting on every phase of the disaster. People who knew her respected her work. They admired her tenacity, and they applauded her pioneering journey as one of the first female broadcast journalists in the state.

I knew her then as a colleague. Today we work together as partners committed to shining the light on people, places and events that constitute the mosaic of the Face of America on its best day.

In 2010, our journey took us to every one of the 48 continentalDoc kitch 2 states. In 2011, with the help of Dr. Dan Kopen, Kitch successfully battled breast cancer. In 2012, she was back on her feet snapping pictures and doing all the things behind the scenes that made this project and the documentaries we produce work.

Her assessments, encouragement and insights are invaluable. She is a consummate professional. She can read people and situations better than any person I know.

This is my humble attempt to say thank you to the person who brought everything together during this production.

Thank you Kitch for the 3,500 pictures you snapped during the Medal of Honor Convention.

Thank you for the connections you made that opened doors.

kitch flag

Thank you for your willingness to do everything from ironing flags for the set to preparing meals for visitors and guests.

Thank you for accepting all of the inconveniences of location shooting, never complaining and always giving your best effort.

Thank you for all the materials you edited and all the time you spent in the editing room reviewing footage, providing insights and suggesting changes.

Thank you for your patient and thoughtful understanding and your Kitch editingwise counsel when we encountered bumps in the road both human and physical.

Thank you for agreeing to bypass a big 30th wedding anniversary so we could allocate time and resources to the project.

Thank you for your help with the gratitude gifts for the screening.

Thank you for being there no matter what the situation or the request.

Thank you for your perseverance despite the horrible pain you experienced in your knee.

Thank you for the outstanding example you provided for the JROTC cadets. You kept moving forward. You never gave up. You solved problems in a quiet and effective way.

Thank you for believing in the dream and loving the dreamer with actions not words.

When I think of all you have done to guarantee the success of Four Days of Honor and Valor in Gettysburg, the words of another pioneer in journalism come to mind:

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.Ann Landers

When I think about our journey, the words of a poet come to mind:

Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star… E.E. Cummings

You reflect the values of the heroes we met in Gettysburg. You always conduct yourself with dignity and class and you always do the right thing.

I am blessed to call you my hero, my best friend, my partner and my wife.

We did it, and that’s the greatest reward of all.

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