Posts Tagged ‘Pa’

Thinking About America on Memorial Day

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Thinking About America on Memorial Day

Anthony J. Mussari, Sr.
Kitch Loftus-Mussari
The Face of America Project
Copyright 2016

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. The Wonder Years

Memorial Day is much more than a 3-day weekend or the unofficial start of summer. It is a very important memory day.DSC02635 It is a day when we step back and remember that the price of freedom is not free. It is a day when we demonstrate our gratitude for the men and women who gave their lives to guarantee that all Americans can hold on to the things they love, the things they are and the things we never want to lose.

During our Face of America journey, we had many magic moments that caused us to think about the essence of America and the contributions of genuine heroes.
This is our attempt to summarize in words and images what Memorial Day means to us.

A Place of National Gratitude


When President Harry Truman spoke these words, he was describing the significance of Arlington National Cemetery:

Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices. President Harry S. Truman

There are 230,000 grave markers at Arlington. More than 400,000 people from the United States and 11 other countries are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. More than 4,000,000 people visit the cemetery every year, and 30 people are buried in the cemetery every day.

A Wall of Heroes

The old Irish saying Death leaves a heartache noMarseilles, Illinois one can heal, love creates a memory no one can steal is a perfect description of the picture we received from Anthony Cutrano, the cofounder of the Middle East Conflict Wall Memorial in Marseilles, Illinois. It is a powerful image that needs no explanation.

Built with voluntary contributions of money and labor, this memorial is unique in that it was built to honor the fallen before the conflict ended.

The Crosses of Lafayette


Maya Angelou’s thoughtful comment How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! prompted us to include the name of one of our heroes, 2d Lt. Emily Perez, at the “Crosses of Lafayette” memorial in California.

Emily Perez was the first member of West Point’s “Class of 9-11” to die in combat. She was 23-years-old when she lost her life while leading a convoy in Iraq.

Jeff Heaton the founder of the “Crosses of Lafayette” describes this sacred place as “a tidal wave of grief.” Kitch and I found it to be that and so much more. It is a genuine, from the heart celebration of the courage and service of our heroes and she-roes

What is a Hero?

Joseph Campbell gave us a beautiful definition of a heroPeoples Memorial 2005 when he penned these 16 words. A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

Campbell didn’t know it at the time, but he was articulating what thousands of people experienced when they visited the People’s Memorial to the heroes of Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA.

For 10 years, Shanksville was like a second home to us. The temporary memorial as it was known then was an inspirational place, a peaceful place and a memorable place.
A young student described it perfectly with these unforgettable words. It is a place where Hope is stronger than death.  

40 Angels and 5 Veterans


A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about. Woodrow Wilson

To help visitors better understand what September 11th and Flight 93 was all about Eric Pierson designed the Angels of Freedom. On this Memorial Day, we would like to remember and thank five of those angels who were veterans: William Joseph Cashman, Patrick Joseph Driscoll, Andrew Sonny Garcia, First Officer LeRoy Homer and John Talignani.

America at Its Best

Sometime the perspective of others best defines who we are.Liberty We think that was the case when Nicolas Sarkozy, the 23rd President of the French Republic, shared his definition of America:

What made America great was her ability to transform her own dream into hope for all mankind. America did not tell the millions of men and women who came from every country in the world and who — with their hands, their intelligence and their heart — built the greatest nation in the world: ‘Come, and everything will be given to you.’ She said: Come, and the only limits to what you’ll be able to achieve will be your own courage and your own talent.

What is America?

Many years ago, Harold Ickes, a Pennsylvania native and Secretary of the Interior, asked himself a simple but profound question. What constitutes an American?
His answer reminds us of the essence of America:


Not color nor race nor religion. Not the pedigree of his family nor the place of his birth. Not the coincidence of his citizenship. Not his social status nor his bank account. Not his trade nor his profession. An American is one who loves justice and believes in the dignity of man. An American is one who will fight for his freedom and that of his neighbor. An American is one who will sacrifice property, ease and security in order that he and his children may retain the rights of free men. An American is one in whose heart is engraved the immortal second sentence of the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

On this very special day, Kitch and I will be thinking about the men and women who were willing to give life to these words with their service and their sacrifice for America. We will never forget you.

On this Memorial Day, the poetic words of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper summarize the things we love, the things we are, the things we never want to lose:

God bless our native land,
Land of the newly free,
Oh may she ever stand
For truth and liberty.

God bless our native land,
Where sleep our kindred dead,
Let peace at thy command
Above their graves be shed.

God help our native land,
Bring surcease to her strife,
And shower from thy hand
A more abundant life.

God bless our native land,
Her homes and children bless,
Oh may she ever stand,
For truth and righteousness.

(The picture of Arlington National Cemetery is part of the Library of Congress Collection.)

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Visiting Candy’s Place to Learn about Battling Cancer

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Visiting Candy’s Place to Learn about Battling Cancer
Written by, Tony Mussari
Edited by, Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by, Tony Mussari
Copyright, 2016, Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

“The standard treatments for cancer are not meant to heal, but to destroy.” Andreas Moritz Cancer Is Not a Disease -It’s a Survival Mechanism.

On a damp February afternoon, our Face of America journey took us to Candy’s Place in Forty Fort, PA. This is an extraordinary Cancer WellnessCandy's Place Center where cancer victims and their loved ones can find compassionate encouragement and support.

Kitch and I have experienced the kindness and good will of the people at Candy’s Place. They were helpful in 2011 when Kitch was being treated for breast cancer. For the past five years, Kitch and I have participated in several healing events sponsored by Candy’s Place.

On this special evening, Nick Pokoluk, the author of Scourge of Book_6340the Ages: Glycation, and Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s and Aging hosted an information session in the board room about diet and cancer. Nick has been in the pharmaceutical business for 45 years. He is respected for his comprehensive research techniques and his determination to help people deal with health issues caused by glycation.

Motivated by the experiences he had when his sister was diagnosed with cancer, he is taking his message to audiences large and small in an effort to start a conversation about seldom discussed causes of cancer.

What follows here are 20 starred thoughts from his presentation at Candy’s Place.

1. Lifestyle changes are important. We must focus our attention on diet as a cancer agent as well as a cancer adjuvant treatment.

Healthy Choices

2. We must make changes in our diet that are knowledge and fact based.

3. There are ways to use research based information to make people improve their cancer resistance.

4. We must understand and accept the fact that cancer will change your life forever.

5. 580,000 people in the United States will die from cancer in 2016. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1.68 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year.

The majority of all cancers are not inherited. Two out of every three cancers are lifestyle related. We need to spend more time examining and talking about lifestyle and environmental causes of cancer.

7. The three pillars of health and longevity are: Diet, Physical Activity Pillars of Good Healthand Mind/Body (Attitudes).

8. The harsh reality is this: one out of every five people diagnosed with cancer today is a person that has had at least one previous cancer diagnosis. 

9. Chemotherapy may be lifesaving, but it also makes a patient susceptible to cardio-vascular disease, neurological disease, cognitive and emotional issues and functional issues.

10. There are 50 trillion cells in the human body. Every day .0001 percent of cells are mutated. One of the miracles of the human body is that every cell knows what it should be doing, and every cell communicates with every other cell.

11. Growth factors are drivers of cancer. There is a correlation betweenseed and soil_6347 body weight and cancer risk. We must learn to make good choices and manage our weight to minimize risk.

12. The best food choices are whole foods plant based diets, low fat and dairy and modest protein content.   It should also be low in simple carbohydrates, (reduced added sugar, and devoid of sugary drinks).

13. Rely on organic foods as much as possible. Reduce salt intake to 1,500mg a day. Alcohol should be reduced or eliminated.

14. The best food choices are: vegetables, mushrooms, beans and legumes, berries, whole grains and one piece of fruit a day.

15. Consider some very healthful additions such as spices, herbs, cocoa, raw walnuts and almonds, and raw pumpkin seeds.


16. Avoid high protein intake from animal sources. You get the best protein from vegetables.

17. Be aware of this important discovery. Bovine growth hormones are linked with cancer initiation in humans and they are banned in 27 countries.

18. Every animal product has glycated proteins, and glycation destroys DNA and HDL.

19. The browning that occurs in grilling, baking, broiling, frying, pasteurizing and smoking produces glycation.  Increase your use of boiling, steaming, sautéing in vegetable broth for food preparation.

20. Cancer is not only caused by DNA mutation. Cancer is caused by glycation, inflammation, unopposed growth factors activity, and immune system dysfunction.

At the end of his presentation, Nick gave everyone in attendance a colorfulHandouts_6489 graphic entitled The Nutritional Rainbow, a copy of Healthy Eating for Life: Food Choices for Cancer Prevention and Survival published by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and his contact information. He volunteered to address any questions during telephone and personal consultations at no cost.

Nick Pokoluk is a man on a mission. He wants to help. He wants to serve. He wants to comfort people who are suffering, and he is willing to inconvenience himself to bring his alternative message to anyone who will take the time to listen and learn.

He understands the insightful and poignant words of Jeannette Rankin:
“We can take people as far as they want to go, not as far as we want them to go.”

Nick Pokoluk is a classic example of America at its best.

The people at Candy’s Place reflect the light of America at its best. They Three images_6483help people believe they can beat cancer. They give people the hope they need to beat cancer and they enable the cancer patient, and the caregiver to imagine a joyful and peaceful life together after cancer.

Thank you, Nick Pokoluk.

Thank you, Penny Cunningham.

Thank you to the staff and volunteers at Candy’s Place.

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Eagles Mere, PA-A Place of Restoration and Renewal

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Our Day in Eagles Mere, PA – A Place Where Everything Old Is Refreshingly New Again

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Digital Photography by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Copyright 2014
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy… C.S. Lewis

Climbing the Mountain

Eagles Mere is a beautiful little town. It sits majestically in the Allegheny Mountains. It was once a retreat for the wealthy. TodayeMsignIMG_2970 it gives respite to anyone looking for many of the values associated with America at its best: community, confraternity, mindfulness, respect, service, thoughtfulness, preservation and a peaceful and quiet sense of belonging.

At a time in our history when “me,” “now” and “noise” dominate our lives, Eagles Mere gives new meaning to the poetic words of Joaquin Miller:


God’s poet is silence!  His song is unspoken
And yet so profound, and so loud, and so far,
That it thrills you and fills you in measures unbroken—
The unceasing song of the first morning star….

On a beautiful July morning, Kitch and I visited this national treasure in search of peace, and quiet in a setting that encourages human connections and thoughtful solitude.

Mindful of Kitch’s impending total knee replacement surgery and determined to escape the drumbeat of the horrifying news of the day, we decided to celebrate Kitch’s birthday in this place of inspiring natural beauty where traditional values celebrate the past in order to make the present and the future more joyful.

A Lake of Water Lilies

Shortly after we arrived, we discovered a large body of water adjacent to the entrance to the Laurel Path, a popular destination for hikers. The Laurel Path is connected by a wooden footbridge toKitch lLIMG_2982 three other popular attractions for hikers: "Fat Man’s Squeeze," "Lovers Leap," and "Gypsy’s Landing."

We parked our car, and we walked to the edge of what is commonly known as the Outlet Pond.

The Outlet Pond is surrounded by lush trees. Water lilies cover the pond making it a fertile breeding ground for fish that eventually migrate to Eagles Mere Lake, a kidney-shaped, natural spring-fed lake three-quarters of a mile long.

For several minutes, we stood in silence while our eyes and ears recorded the sights and sounds of this natural sanctuary.

The expression on Kitch’s face defined the moment.

This beautiful setting gave truth to John Muir’s words:

Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play and pray, where nature heals and gives strength to body and soul alike.

Living History

Eagles Mere was founded in 1898. Almost a century later, in 1996, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Eagles Mere Historic District contains 339 resources.

Kitch ClockIMG_3005

After we parked the car in front of the Sweet Shop, we stood in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue admiring the huge clock that dominates the landscape in front of the restored General Store building. This structure houses several businesses including the Crestmont Bakery, the Museum & Gift Shop, Lakeside Traders shop and the Eagles Mere bookstore.

Our destination was the Museum & Gift Shop. There we had the good fortune to meet Linda Roman and Joan Werner.

Linda is a registered nurse. She and her husband decided to take aLinda- year off to stop and think about the direction and purpose of the next stage of their life. Linda works at the Museum Shop. Her husband works at Eagles Mere Lake. After a brief conversation about the culture of Eagles Mere in contrast with daily life in a big city, we were taken by Linda’s insight and her gentle and welcoming way.

We had an instant connection with Linda on many levels.

Joan Werner is the mayor of Eagles Mere. Originally from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Joan made her way to Eagles Mere, and the rest as they say is history. She is a personable woman who is willing to go out of her way to introduce visitors to the many qualities of her community. Her enthusiasm is infectious. She loves to tell the Eagles Mere story.

Kitch Carol MuseumIMG_3030

While I explained the purpose of our visit to Linda, Joan took Kitch on a tour of the impressive museum that has the look and feel of exhibits we visited at Little Rock, Arkansas, Oklahoma City, Mt. Rushmore and Gettysburg. Obviously the scope of the museum in Eagles Mere is much smaller, but the quality is equal to any museum we visited during our Face of America journey.

We left the museum with a better understanding of the who, what, when, why and "so what" of the glassworks era and George Lewis who acquired the land in 1794 from the heirs of William Penn to the digital era which attracts people who yearn for the peace, quiet and fresh air of this mountain retreat.

Father & Son

While Kitch made her way to the bookstore located on the lower lever of the General Store, I stayed on the porch to talk with NeilFayher & SonIMG_3081 Englehart and his 13-year-old son Nathan.

Neil is the chairman of the Political Science department at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. His credentials are impressive; Ph.D. in Political Science, University of California, San Diego, M.A. in Political Science, University of California, San Diego, B.A. in History and East Asian Studies, Oberlin College.

On this day, his most important title was dad. He and his son were riding bicycles along the quiet streets of Eagles Mere. Other members of his family were relaxing and doing enjoyable things.

When I asked Nathan what he liked most about his vacation in this small mountain town, his faced filed with a smile, and he replied without hesitation:

“Boating …It’s great.”

The image of a father and son having a wonderful time together touched my heart in a special way. It reminded me of a quote and two aphorisms I memorized when I was raising my children:

One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters. George Herbert

Don’t wait to make your son a great man – make him a great boy.  

He who can be a good son will be a good father.

I have a feeling that the memories made in Eagles Mere by Neil and Nathan will strengthen the bond between father and son.

Books and Lunch

When I caught up with Kitch in the book store, she was about to purchase the revised and expanded version of This Good Food.


Kitch loves to read, and she enjoys cooking. She never entered a bookstore she did not like. She was particularly fond of this store and the woman who owns the store. Peggy Martin was friendly and very helpful. She personifies the spirit that makes Eagles Mere so special. No one is in a hurry, and everyone is willing to put their best foot forward so that visitors will have a pleasant experience.

That’s the way it was at the Sweet Shop. Located in one ofSweet shop_IMG_3124 the oldest buildings in the town, it is immaculate inside. Our waiter Austin Wenger, a native of Lancaster, was pleasant and very efficient. The food, especially the salad, was delicious and the meal was reasonably priced.

Austin Pastor chris_3138

After we finished lunch, we had a great conversation with Chris Little. He and his wife operate the Sweet Shop, but it is not his day job.

For several years Chris was an electrical engineer. In 1996, he became a pastor. With a smile on his face, he shared a secret with us:

“When God taps you on the shoulder, you pay attention.”

Visiting the Lake

It was Henry David Thoreau who said:

Lake_IMG_3158A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.

This is certainly true in Eagles Mere.

As we were leaving the Sweet Shop, Linda Roman was taking her lunch break. When she saw us, she crossed the street, and we talkedKitch LindaIMG_3151 about our decision to visit the lake. Linda volunteered to arrange a boat trip around the lake.

The three of us got into our car. We drove a short distance along Pennsylvania Ave. Then we made right turn, and we cautiously made our way down a windy street which took us to the lake.

Upon our arrival, Linda made several unsuccessful attempts to contact her husband. He operates the "Hardly Able," a canvas covered motor launch, boat. The Hardly Able and a life guard boat are the only gas powered boats allowed on the lake. Her kind gesture was but another example of Eagles Mere at its best.


When Linda walked to the village green gazebo, Kitch and I were alone at the boat launch. Surrounded by the peaceful serenity of the lake, we were mesmerized by the magnificent vista and the soothing sound of the wind and the rippling water.

For several minutes, we listened to nature talking to us. The silence was broken when Kitch spoke these words:

“This is the best birthday I have ever had. It is just perfect.”

Our visit to Eagles Mere Lake was relaxing and rejuvenating.

An adaptation of William Wordsworth’s words applies:

We were coming forth into the light of things, because we let Nature be our teacher.

Three Stops

Consignment Shop

When we returned to the center of town, Kitch resumed her tour with stops at a gift shop and the Lily Pad, a woman’s boutique.

While Kitch was shopping, I remained outside snapping pictures of family scenes as they unfolded in this magical town.

Together we entered the Crestmont Bakery in search of aBakery_IMG_3189 hospitality gift.

There we met Logan Samuelsen and Sophie Eldridge. They helped us make the best decision.

We walked out of the bakery with a loaf of raisin & cinnamon bread, and positive memories of our conversation with two delightful young students.

Back to the Lake

Before we left Eagles Mere, we returned to lake. Knowing that our Lake skyIMG_3252road ahead would be filled with many challenges, we wanted to see it, feel it and be touched by its healing energy one more time.

There is an anesthetizing quality to the lake and its surroundings. It gives special meaning to William Blake’s words:

Great things are done when men and mountains meet.

It puts Rachel Carson’s words in perspective:

It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.

We came to Eagles Mere to escape the harsh realities of our world, the “daily dyings” caused by unconscionable acts of terror, violence and warfare.

We left Eagles Mere refreshed, restored and thankful for the blessings of the freedoms and liberties we enjoy. The people we met and the places we visited form a mental wall of honor that will give us hope and compel us to frequently offer the words of e.e. cummings:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,
and for a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes.

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Adriana Trigiani: Midnight in America

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Adriana Trigiani Shares Her Gift of Light

Mention Adriana Trigiani’s name and Kitch’s face lights up with aadrianasign_266 smile of admiration and satisfaction. Adriana is her favorite writer. Kitch gets great comfort from Adriana’s stories about her parents and her grandmothers.

On a cold, overcast April day, Adriana Trigiani came to Scranton to tell her life story.

On the day of the lecture, we drove to Scranton to register for library cards at the Albright Memorial Library so we could attend Adriana’s lecture. We skipped supper so we would be among the first in line at the Scranton Cultural Center. We were determined to get seats close to the stage, and we did, third row center aisle!

2_Boston_Marathon_explosions_aftermath Aaron Tang.

For us this was more than a night out.  It was an attempt to relieve the pain created by the heartbreaking and heroic events that were playing out in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon.

For almost 90 minutes we listened, laughed and cried during Adriana’s dynamic presentation about immigrants who maximized the opportunities of their new life in the adopted country they loved.

Midnight in America is an expression of gratitude for an inspiring and rejuvenating evening with The Queen of the Big Time.  

To listen to our commentary about Adriana Trigiani, please click the arrow icon next to the title. It may take a few seconds for the file to load.

Midnight in America_Mussari_Loftus

Midnight in America is a production of Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD, 2013, all rights reserved.

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The picture of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon explosions was taken by Aaron Tang on April 15, 2013.

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Heroes without Headlines: Joseph Boytin, Part 7

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Heroes without Headlines: Joseph Boytin, Part 7

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

“A memory is a photograph taken by the heart to make a special moment last forever.” Unknown

A note from a friend, some bumps in the road and a funeral for aFG_JB_5_sm member of the “Greatest Generation” got me thinking about life, death and everything in between.

The note contained an inspiring message about what really matters in life. It was the opposite of just about everything we hear and see in our cluttered, cultural celebration of fame, wealth and power. These, we are told, are the superhighways to happiness and joy. The note from my friend was filled with examples of caring, encouraging, and helping. It reinforced a powerful and poignant message Kitch and I got earlier in the week at St. John the Baptist Church in Larksville, Pennsylvania.

We were there to stand with a former student, Jeff Yedloski and his family, as he said good-bye to his grandfather, Joseph Boytin.


Mr. Boytin was a devoted husband, a loving father, a proud grandfather, a successful coach, a mailman and a friend to many. He served his country with distinction during World War II. At 94, he was one of the 16 million veterans who have been celebrated in quiet and poignant ways for what they did to free the world  from the totalitarian thugs who wanted to build a new world order of exclusion, intolerance and supremacy.

On this day, he was one of the World War II veterans who dieFG_JB_2_sm every ninety seconds in America.

St John the Baptist is a beautiful church. It is filled with artifacts of the church of my parents, a towering marble altar and larger than life spiritual paintings that speak to the love and forgiveness of Christ’s message. In this magnificent setting, Father Gerald Gurka spoke with empathy and honesty about the loss of a loved one:


There aren’t any words to relieve your pain;

Mr. Boytin’s death reminds us that we live on God’s time. Death is a homecoming;

We are hurting, but life continues;

Whenever we do something that your grandfather loved, he is very much alive, because his life was a reflection of the Beatitudes. He was generous, kind, dedicated, loving and committed to serving his community. In so doing, he created something beautiful which is in you;

Work is love named discipline.”

In a very real way, Father Gurka was giving life to the words of Scripture:

Behold God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.

At St. Mary’s Cemetery, I watched the members of the AshleyFG_JB_7_sm American Legion salute the man who earned the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal and the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with three bronze stars.

The pallbearers reverently carried his flag-draped coffin into the chapel where Father Gurka was waiting to say these words of farewell:

FG_JB_8_smThis is his flag, and this is our spiritual heritage.

Joseph Boytin is a genuine hero without headlines and a Face of America on its best day. He will be remembered for all the things that matter in life: family, faith, confraternity, neighborliness, industry, learning, empathy, kindness, responsibility and selfless service to his community and his country.

His life is a portrait of America at its very best. His legacy lives on in his family and those who were touched by the gentle mercies of his caring heart.

Charles H. Spurgeon wrote the words that best apply to Joseph Boytin’s life:

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.

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Heroes without Headlines, Gettysburg, 2012

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Heroes without Headlines, Gettysburg, 2012

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2012
Mussari-Loftus Associates
All Rights Reserved
The Face of America Project

"Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure" Abraham Lincoln

Flag of Honor

The headline in the Gettysburg Times read, “Flies with honor.”

The accompanying picture recorded the moment, shortly before noon, when Barney Barnum and Brian Thacker raised the light blue flag with the impressive emblem under the Stars and Stripes in Lincoln Square on October 17, 2012.

For the people who came to witness this event, it was a very significant moment.

Barnum and Thacker are Medal of Honor recipients. The flag is the simple, but elegant, Medal of Honor flag.

The occasion was a celebration. The Medal of Honor Convention will be held in Gettysburg next September, the place where 63 Medals of Honor were earned in the battle that changed the course of the Civil War.

The flag will fly high above Lincoln Square for one year as a symbol of courage, honor, hope, respect and service.

The flag raising was the highlight of an inspiring ceremony that helped people better understand the Medal of Honor, the veterans who earned it and everything it symbolizes.

For me, it was the beginning of a day, I will never forget.


I did not know about the event when I arrived in Gettysburg on Tuesday, October 16.  My mind was focused on the seven meetings, I had arranged to finalize plans for the premiere of our documentary, Walking Into the Light at Gettysburg.  I was on my way to a meeting at the Convention and Visitors Bureau when I literally bumped it to a very pleasant man on Steinwehr Ave.

I was lost. When I asked him for directions to Middle Street, he took the time to respond in detail. Before we knew it, we were engaged in a wonderful conversation about his work as a photographer and my mission to get the word out about our project.

Del Hilbert is a welcoming person, a kind person, a thoughtful person and a person of faith. He invited me to visit his studio. I accepted, and he put a coin in the parking meter.  That unexpected act of kindness established the foundation and tone of our emerging friendship. We talked about our interests and one of our mutual friends, Frank Orlando, aka General Robert E. Lee. Del gave me one of the pictures he took of Frank, and he invited me to join him on Wednesday morning at the circle by the David Wills House, the home where President Lincoln was a guest during his visit to Gettysburg in November 1863.

A Unique Face of America Moment

Wednesday, October 17, was a magnificent autumn day. When I arrived at the circle, I did not know what to expect.

A crowd was building. The mood was festive, but reserved.  People were talking in hushed tones.  Wherever one looked something was happening.

Two bright yellow school vans transporting 14 members of the Gettysburg High School Band were being parked adjacent to the Gettysburg Hotel.

Junior ROTC students,Emma Bahm, Gabrielle Minor, John Tully and Aaron Scruggs were taking their places under the watchful eye of Thomas A Bores, SFC, U.S. Army retired. 

An Honor Guard was forming, Gettysburg’s Mayor, William Troxell, was greeting people with a smile and a firm handshake.

A pleasant young woman named Ashley greeted everyone with her radiant smile as she distributed folders containing information about the event and the Medal of Honor Society.

An incredibly talented senior executive from the Webster Group, AJ Bowanas, helped people make connections. Kristen Holland, Project Manager for the Congressional Medal of Honor Convention in Gettysburg, attended to last minute details with great dignity.

Carl Whitehall, Media Relations Manager, for the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, greeted old friends like Frank and Bonnie Orlando and Pastor Steve Herr.

Then it happened, two men appeared to my left. They were quietly and politely shaking hands with people as they made their way toward the platform where the program would take place. I watched them with great interest. It was the first time I had ever seen a Medal of Honor recipient. In fact, it was the first time I had seen a person wearing a Medal of Honor.

Suddenly I was face to face with Brian Thacker. He was dressed in a blue sport coat and grey dress pants. He was not as tall as I had imagined he would be. Without the medal he was wearing, one could easily misidentify him as a business executive.  He was more reserved than I expected, and he was more generous with his time than I expected.

On March 31, 1971, he earned the Medal of Honor because he was a leader who displayed no thought for himself as he worked courageously and effectively in the face of unimaginable danger to guarantee the safety of others. He was the person who survived eight days in the jungle of Vietnam without food or water. He was the junior officer who years later told a reporter, “I was afraid. Yet fear is a wonderful motivator. It sharpens your brain and then your only objective is to survive.”

When my moment came, all I could do was look him in the eye and say these words, “Thank you for your service to America.”

His response was polite and grateful.

A few minutes later, I found myself in a similar situation with Barney Barnum. He is smaller than I thought he would be. In my mind, he is a giant for what he did and the way he did it.

Barnum is a man with a perpetual smile on his face. Without the gold medal with the blue ribbon hanging from his neck, you would think he is everyone’s favorite grandfather. When you are in his presence the feeling of awe is palpable, but his smile puts you at ease. 

His moment came on December 18, 1965. Like all Medal of Honor recipients in the face of danger, he acted with complete disregard for his own safety. He took the initiative. He gave encouragement. He assumed a leadership position. What he did is best described in his citation:

“His sound and swift decisions and his obvious calm served to stabilize the badly decimated units and his gallant example as he stood exposed repeatedly to point out targets served as an inspiration to all. Provided with two armed helicopters, he moved fearlessly through enemy fire to control the air attack against the firmly entrenched enemy while skillfully directing one platoon in a successful counterattack in the key enemy positions. Having thus cleared a small area, he requested and directed the landing of two transport helicopters for the evacuation of the dead and wounded. He then assisted in the mopping up and final seizure of the battalion’s objective.”

When I met Barney Barnum, I offered my expression of gratitude. He responded with a smile, a warm handshake and the words, “Thank you so much.”

After that moment, time passed quickly.

Dressed in their Army of the Potomac uniforms and directed by David Conklin, the high school musicians played popular selections from the Civil War.

Robert J. Monahan, Jr., President and CEO of the Congressional Medal of Honor Convention in Gettysburg, began the program with a well-crafted welcome.

The Gettysburg Area High School Army JROTC Cadets recited the Pledge of Allegiance with conviction and passion.

Pastor Steve Herr delivered his invocation with feeling and grace. The concluding three sentences of his prayer touched the hearts of everyone in the crowd:

“Finally, Lord we also pray for peace among all peoples. For peace in our hearts and minds, among our citizens, and among nations. We pray that you would inspire us with the courage to devote our lives to serving our fellow citizens and caring for your people.”

Without warning, the most instructive moment of the ceremony happened. Mayor Troxell came to the podium to offer remarks. For some reason, the microphone moved and he could not be heard.

Without hesitation, Barney Barnum stealthfully made his way to the mike stand. He dislodged the mike from its holder, and he stood next to the mayor holding the microphone in just the right place so that everyone in the audience could hear what he was saying.

That act, that moment, that rescue spoke volumes about Barnum, his values and his medal. Just as he had done in a much more dangerous circumstance in Vietnam all those years ago, his instinctive sense of service to others took over.  He forgot about his role as a distinguished guest. He dismissed his personal comfort. He rushed in to help the mayor and everyone else.

In that moment, with that act, he exemplified why he is the personification of America at its best. His action sent a powerful message to everyone assembled in Lincoln Square. Service to others, kindness to others, helping others and caring about the success of others is central to America at its best.

Shortly before I left Lincoln Square, I noticed a TV cameraman setting up a shot for an interview with Barney Barnum. When I reached the location, I took a picture of the man who saved the moment for the mayor. Then I positioned myself in a place where we could make eye contact. The words I spoke to this unassuming hero came straight from my heart, “You are an American treasure.”

He blushed. Then he smiled with an expression of gratitude unlike anything I have ever experienced, and one which I will never forget.

That’s what heroes without headlines do. They make indelible impressions on our heart, and they make us want to reach up for our higher angels.

There are 81 living Medal of Honor recipients. Would that every American would have the opportunity to meet at least one of them and experience, in real time, the goodness, kindness, courage, patriotism and service that makes each of them a model to be imitated, respected and honored.

In my opinion, what makes them so special is not power, wealth, status or notoriety.  On the contrary, they are special because they are just like us. They are human, they have fears, they wonder about their future, they love their children and yearn for their safety, happiness and success. They bear the aches and pains of life, yet they never complain. Their actions are motivated by service not selfishness, grace not greed, humility not pride.

The two men I met in Gettysburg see themselves as a soldier and a marine who did nothing more than serve their country.

The Medal of Honor does not signify perfection. In my mind, it is a statement about excellence. The 3,458 men and one woman who have earned it acted in the best interest of their neighbors, their friends and their country. They thought about others before themselves. In so doing, they established a model of behavior that encourages the weak to be strong, the timid to be courageous, and the powerful to be generous. Their behavior on the battlefield and in the public square gives truth to the words of Abraham Lincoln, “We must rise with the occasion…Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.”

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Gone Too Soon

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Gone Too Soon

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2012
Mussari-Loftus Associates
All Rights Reserved
The Face of America Project

The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be
a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer and
holier sort than
you have known before
Abraham Lincoln

Gone Too Soon

I only knew him for a short time, and I did not know him well. Nevertheless, during the board meetings we attended at the Back Mountain Memorial Library, the person I watched and listened to taught me well.

He was dedicated, determined and devoted to his work.

He was competent and comprehensive about his assignments.

He measured his words, and he never spoke in a hurtful way.

He was candid, genuine, humorous and very affirming.

He was a responsible man who always wanted to do his best.

He extended himself to open the door for others.

With all that said, I saw in his eyes and felt from his heart a kind of pain and worry that made life difficult for him and those he loved.

In July, he sent me a beautiful note filled with words of affirmation and encouragement. It came from the goodness of his heart. It was intended to help people connect, and make people feel the warmth of community. There was, however, a sense of urgency. It was as if he knew his time was limited.

We never had the meeting he suggested. He was hospitalized. His seat in the boardroom was empty. His voice was silent.

The news of his death confirmed the words of Thomas Merton, “Death is something you see very clearly with eyes in the center of your heart.”

Dick Evans was a college graduate, an Air Force veteran, a devoted husband and parent, a successful businessman and a community leader. He personified the characteristics of millions of Americans born in the shadow of World War II: determination, persistence, resilience, a desire to serve and a deeply felt obligation to honor and respect parents, family, community and country.

Dick Evans will be missed by his family, his friends and his colleagues on the Back Mountain Memorial Library Board.

He was a man with presence, a man with passion and a man with ideas.

He was a Face of America on its best day.

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Four Days in North Plainfield, NJ, Part 3

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Teaching Moments

Written By Tony Mussari
Photographs By Kitch Mussari
Copyright 2011
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project,

Teaching Moments

“Nine-tenths of education is encouragement.” Anatole France

Doc 05: the Challenge

Prior to my visit to the North Plainfield High School for two presentations to the student body, I spent many restless nights conceptualizing the nature, objectives and tone for this unique teaching opportunity.

I wanted to connect with the students. I wanted to engage the students in a series of exercises that would reinvigorate the seeds of optimism and opportunity planted by their teachers. I wanted to inform the students about the material in our documentary about Shanksville and transformation. I wanted to define the word hero in a way they would not forget. I wanted to leave these students with positive memories about themselves and what they learned.

It was a tall order for a person who is old enough to be their grandfather. It was a challenging for someone who had not spoken to an audience of 500 students in a high school setting in more than 30 years.

For three weeks, I had been thinking, reading, planning and mulling over in my mind what I would say, and how I would say it.

To be very honest, I was somewhat apprehensive about the situation I had gotten myself into, but I was determined to make the best of it.

Several things worked to my advantage. I like these students. I admire the educational leaders in their school district. I respect their teachers. I know a good deal about the history and culture of the school district.  My wife and I have been here several times, and I taught small groups of students in their classrooms during our visits. I was a guest speaker at two athletic awards banquets, and I recorded a number of public service trips taken by the cheerleaders and their coach Skip Pulcrano.

When the light of discovery and direction finally went on in my mind, it was simple, understandable and very practical. I would do something my mother always encouraged me to do. I would be myself. I would teach in much the same way I taught in my own classroom, from my heart as well as my head. I would apply the information I learned from a teacher at Kent State University: “Effective teaching is as much about good performance as it is about good information.”

Doc 05: the Content

Now that I had a strategy, I could spend time thinking about content, examples and a theme.

The main event for the assembly was a screening of our documentary Shanksville, PA: A Place of Transformation. The film features 12 Cheerleaders from North Plainfield who visited the people’s memorial in Shanksville in 2010 during our Face of America Journey, three Flight 93 Ambassadors who helped us during our ten year What is America? project in Shanksville, the woman who took the only picture of Flight 93’s ending, Val McClatchey and the woman who created the 9/11 National Remembrance Flag, Joanne Galvin.

The film addresses several questions about America at its best, American heroes and American values. It begins with the North Plainfield High School Concert Band playing Flight of Valor.  It ends with a montage of images summarizing the events of September 11, to the music of Jo Ann Biviano’s I’ll Always Remember.   

This screening provided an excellent opportunity to talk about the person who inspired our Face of America Journey, 2LT Emily Perez, the first Black/Hispanic honors graduate to lose her life in Iraq. I could tie Emily’s Legacy into the life work of another inspirational American, Professor George N. Parks, the teacher who built a national reputation for the Minuteman Marching Band at the University of Massachusetts. His work with students could be linked with another motivational teacher and coach, Herb Brooks and his 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team.

The documentary films Kitch and I produced about Coach Brooks and Professor Parks and the short films we edited about Emily Perez, gave me all the material I needed to tell their stores in what I hoped would be a compelling and interesting way to the students in North Plainfield.

The narratives of each of these American heroes gave me an opportunity to address the question, What is a hero? I could make the significant distinction between a hero and a celebrity. That would open the door to the matter I wanted to emphasize for the students, the impressive examples of industry and service Kitch and I found in North Plainfield, the genuine goodness of this place and the radiant Face of America it projects.

Doc 05: The Moment

The first assembly began sometime after 9 a.m. on a beautiful Monday morning. After introductions by the principal, Jerard Stevenson and the Supervisor of Fine Arts, Tom Mazur, I climbed the steps to the stage. Standing behind the podium, I waited for a few seconds, and then I enthusiastically greeted the students.   

They responded and we were off to a very good start.

After a few moments, I made a costume change.

The year I retired from teaching, Kitch and I worked with twenty students on a documentary project about the 25th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice. It was designed to teach the students life lessons and work values by studying Coach Herb Brooks and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. During my final night as a teacher, the students gave me what they called a “Miracle Shirt.” It is one of my most treasured possessions. I wore it under my academic gown at graduation and one other time during a guest lecturer at St. Mary’s College in Moraga California.

I explained the importance of the shirt, and its symbolism.  Then, I walked to the easel next to the podium. I removed the shirt uncovering a framed picture of a smiling Emily Perez. Just before I put the shirt on, I told the students I was going to wear this shirt for the third time to honor them. The comment resonated with the audience.

For the next few minutes we did some exercises that got the students out of their seats and enabled them to have some fun, learn some lessons about life, success, coping with disappointment, pursuing excellence and accepting themselves.

Whatever I asked the students to do they did with zest and involvement. It was such a joyful experience.  We were working together, learning together, celebrating together and having a good time together.

To be honest, it felt good to be in a classroom with so many students who were enthusiastically participating.

My segue to the film was a short story about Emily Perez: her background; her accomplishments in the classroom, on the athletic field and her impressive record of selfless service to others. I compared her courage and heroism to the actions of the heroes of flight 93. I asked the students to watch the film with their hearts as well as their eyes. I asked them to listen with their ears and their hearts to the things their classmates would say about their hopes, their dreams and their country.

The room grew silent, the lights went out and the film began. I made my way to the back of the auditorium. My heart was pumping in overdrive, and my spirits were about as high as the azure blue sky above. It was one of the best teaching opportunities of my lifetime.
In my heart of hearts, I believed that I connected with the students. I did what I came here to do.   I reinforced my strong belief that this is a place where one finds the Face of America’s tomorrow today.

When the film ended, I had a few moments with the students, and then they left the auditorium to attend their regularly scheduled classes. As they filed out of the room, several students offered encouraging comments about their experience. When I was about to leave, I was greeted by a substitute teacher who, with tears in her eyes, hugged me and expressed her thanks.

Later in the day she wrote these words:

I wanted to thank you once again for all your incredible dedication and work in such a necessary area, that of reaffirming the goodness of our wonderful country and its young people, and that of honoring our fallen.

I cannot begin to describe to you how profound and cathartic an effect your work had upon me. I felt certain that I had composed myself long prior to approaching you, yet upon our handshake I felt this overwhelming wave of emotion come back over me.  Call it gratitude, call it inspiration, respect, etc. but I was very shocked at the depth and range of feelings I experienced. 

I feel your documentary does exactly what any great documentary is supposed to do:  it informs and extols while getting people to think and REACT to what they are learning.  I can’t call it anything less than a spiritual experience. 

It definitely has everything to do with the fact that I am so very proud of my brother, a current civilian private contractor, post-military officer who was presented a bronze medal and now works actively in the wage for peace in counter-terrorism intelligence. 

Please take my words with you as an additional level of affirmation and inspiration that you and your wife so richly deserve, as you have inspired so many. 

God has Blessed You, Dr. Mussari and your lovely wife… may your work never stop moving forward to inspire everyone

On Tuesday morning at 8:30 we returned to the auditorium for another assembly. It was a memorable beginning to a very long day that would culminate in a public screening at 7:00 p.m.

Throughout the day two thoughts reverberated in my mind:

The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book. Author Unknown

It’s not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted. Linda Conway

Thank You, Tom Mazur.

Thank you, Skip Pulcrano.

Thank You, Jerard Stephenson.

Thank You, Marilyn Birnbaum.

Thank you, North Plainfield students for giving an old teacher a new classroom and memories that will last a lifetime.

Tony & Kitch Mussari
The Face of America Project
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Heroes Without Headlines, Part 2

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Heroes Without Headlines, Part 2
By Tony Mussari
Copyright 2011
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”Anais Nin

Finding the Essence of America in a Flood Zone

As the Susquehanna River flows, Mocanaqua, Pennsylvania, is 26 miles north of Bloomsburg, PA. It is a small community of less than 7,000 people. The name of the town is said to be the name given to Frances Slocum after she was kidnapped by the Delaware Indians in 1778. It means Little Bear Woman.

Kitch and I were introduced to Mocanaqua by one of our former students, Phillip Yacuboski.  In 2000, we were producing Windsor Park Stories. Phillip was working at a local TV station. He asked us to produce a documentary about his church, St. Mary’s of Mocanaqua for the Local Legacy Project sponsored by the Library of Congress. We said yes. The project brought us to his hometown, and the rest as they say is history.

Fast forward 11 years. Phillip is the overnight assignment editor at WBAL TV, Baltimore, Maryland, and we are on our way to visit the flood damaged sections of Mocanaqua.  

After we drove through a flood damaged neighborhood that sits less than 100 yards from the river’s edge, we noticed what appeared to be a carpenter carrying materials into a home on River Street. Little did we know, then, that we were about to meet a person who would speak with authority about the flood and what it means to enjoy the blessings of American citizenship.

Jerzy Milkucki was born in Poland.  He immigrated to America 17 years ago. After his five year probationary period, he became an American citizen. He is a painter by profession, but he is skilled in carpentry as well.  On this Sunday afternoon he was installing drywall in his dining room.

Jerzy is a natural conversationalist.  He was a delight to interview. He is genuine, honest, sincere and very positive. He believes the warning system worked. In fact, he had enough time to take everything upstairs where he spent the night of September 9, waiting for the river to crest. Before the river receded, he used his kayak to float around the neighborhood checking for damage and looking for people who needed help. He was favorably impressed by the help he received after the flood from the Red Cross, the Polish Falcons and volunteer firefighters. His experiences with FEMA were excellent, and the people he met there were, in his words, “very nice.”

When our conversation turned to his thoughts about America, the expression on his face and the cadence of his words spoke volumes.

“America is a beautiful country,” he told me.  This is a country for living. It is a country of opportunity for everybody.  It is a beautiful country. Last year I was in Alaska, a beautiful place. I was in the west states. I was in Florida. I was all over.  One day, if I have the money and time I would like to experience all of the states of America. It is a beautiful country, beautiful people, not everybody, but my experience is with very good, good people, helpful, very kind and very warm. It’s nice.”

When I asked him to compare life in Poland with his experience in America, he willingly shared these thoughts:

“In Poland, the political, economic situation is like this.  The money you make for living, it’s not enough. The level of living over there, you have to be working from morning until night, and it’s still going to be hard to make it."

"Here, you know, you learn something; you do the job, you work hard, you make money. It’s like my family. My wife works. My daughter is going to a very good university, Fordham University. In Poland, I would not be able to afford to put her in a good university. Over here she is a top student, speaks three languages, and she is going for the fourth one. I tell her hard work, hard work, hard work and then you are going to have it easy in your life.”

What did Jerzy Milkucki learn from his flood experience?

He is stronger as a person, more independent. In his words, “my view is way, way wider. I know who is the real person, and who is the one who is trying to slide under. I can count on my neighbors.”

Before I left his home, Jerzy summarized the past two months with this observation:

“In my experience, I survived flood and fire. I don’t know what’s going to be next. The good thing about a flood is you know it’s coming, and you have time to prepare yourself. It brings the community together.”

Don’t Live Next to a Creek

On our way home we stopped in West Nanticoke to speak with John Nash.  He was installing a light over his front door. He stopped what he was doing to talk with us, and his story reinforced the one we had just recorded in Mocanaqua.

His experience with all of the agencies of government was positive. “Everyone in the community pulled together,” he said, “and everybody just helped each other out.”  He believes America on its best day is people helping people.

His mother, Sylvia Nash, knows this is a tough time, but she refuses to sit back and feel sorry for herself. She is determined to keep moving forward.

When I asked her son what was the most important lesson he learned, she interrupted our conversation with six words spoken with authority:

“Don’t live next to a creek.”

Kitch and I have spent the better part of two years talking with people who live in small towns across America.  It never ceases to amaze us what we have learned from these conversations. On this November afternoon, the people we met and the things they shared give truth to the words of Rebecca Harding Davis:

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world, and a good enough man for any world.”

That’s the essence of the Face of America, and that’s what America is all about on its best day.

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The Face of America: Montoursville

Monday, July 18th, 2011

The Face of America: Montoursville, PA

By Tony Mussari & Kitch Loftus-Mussari
The Face of America Project
Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, 2011

I saw the Face of America today. It belongs to a big man with a 19th century mustache that covers the scars of loss embedded deep in the lining of his face.

I saw the Face of America today. It belongs to a long distance runner and cross-country coach who carries in her heart the burning memory of the death of two of her team members.

I saw the Face of America today. It belongs to more than 200 runners and walkers who came to Indian Park to celebrate 21 people who are forever a part of American history.

I saw the Face of America today. It belongs to eight cheerleaders from the high school in North Plainfield, New Jersey, a place that defines diversity and community service at its very best.

I saw the Face of America today. It belongs to a photojournalist who conducted herself with dignity, class and distinction.

I saw the Face of America today. It is filled with hope for tomorrow and respect for yesterday.

These Faces of America came together to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the tragic ending of TWA Flight 800.

The man with the mustache lost a daughter named Julia. He was standing with Rev. Steve McGough, who knows in real ways the unimaginable suffering of parents like Chuck Grimm.

The long distance runner and coach Stephanie Bedison lost two of her team members, Jordan Bower and Jody Loudenslager.

The North Plainfield cheerleaders came to continue their annual tradition of community service, to affirm the special nature of this event, and to present a flag that flew over each of the locations that pay tribute to another unforgettable day, September 11, 2001.

The photojournalist, Karen Kennedy showed respect for the people and the event she was covering.

Everyone assembled here came to make a statement about America at its best. A caring nation, a helping nation, a supportive nation, a proud nation that does not forget its fallen, and finds a way to turn tragedy into the triumph of the human spirit.

This is the America of Montoursville, Pennsylvania, North Plainfield, New Jersey, Berwick and Sunbury, Pennsylvania and dozens of other communities represented at this race.

It’s the best that small town America has to offer. A welcoming place, a comforting place, a beautiful place where love of country, family and community makes one proud to be an American and humble in the presence of these heroes who push aside the tears of tragedy and move forward with confident and thoughtful hearts.

The people we met on this Day of Remembrance are the Face of America on its best day, and we are the beneficiaries of their example, kindness and good will.

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