Our Latest Trip to Ireland

Four weeks ago we departed San Francisco airport and flew off to what was to become one of our greatest vacations ever. We have been back for a week now and I am finally getting around to organizing photo stories for this blog.  It seems that it takes longer every year for our aging bones to shake off the results of jet lag,  particularly when the jet lag turns into a nasty cold!

My wife and I have been happily married for 50 years and we decided to celebrate our golden anniversary by bringing our entire family across the continent and the Atlantic to experience (most of them for the first time) Ireland, the land of my ancestors.

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D-Day and Cousin George

I first posted this article five years ago and am reposting in honor of my Dad’s cousin George and everyone else who participated in D-Day 75 years ago today.

My Dad’s cousin George jumped into Normandy on D-Day, 70 years ago today.

George is the youngest son of my grandfather’s younger brother Everett. His full name is George Duncan Dwyer (Duncan is his mother’s maiden name) but his buddies in the 101st Airborne called him Doc. He was a mid-generation guy, born in 1922, 12 years after my Dad and 17 years before me. His sisters were all a lot older than him. George lost both of his parents when he was pretty young and he was then raised by his older sister Margaret and his Aunt Caroline. And soon after high school graduation he joined the Army. Continue reading

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Paris 2014: The Man Who Saved Notre Dame

The following is a third re-post this week of a  photo story that I uploaded to my blog after returning from our Paris vacation in 2014.

The French Revolution began in 1789 as a revolt against the power of the Monarchy and the Catholic Church in France. By 1793 the king and the queen were executed and all church property was confiscated. The famous cathedral of Notre-Dame was no longer a church. Priests were expelled, statues were destroyed, and the nave was used as a warehouse for food. Napoleon ended the revolution in 1799 and brought religious services back. He even crowned himself emperor in 1804 in Notre Dame. But the neglect continued. Slums grew up around the tall, neglected building and soon the people of Paris forgot all about the magnificent 600 year-old building standing in the heart of town. Then in 1831 a young writer by the name of Victor Hugo published a novel which when translated into English became known as The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

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Paris 2014: Inside Notre-Dame de Paris (a re-post from 5 years ago)

Here is another photo story I posted five years ago after returning from our three-week vacation in Paris. In this posting we look inside the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral.

The architecture we know today as Gothic developed in France in the middle of the 12th century. The main features of this new architectural style as opposed to the old Romanesque were pointed arches, ribbed vaults, high ceilings, stained glass windows and on the outside flying buttresses and gargoyles and chimera. People from all over the world flock to Paris to see one of the finest examples of this architecture: Notre-Dame de Paris on the east side of Ile de la Cité. There is no admission fee to walk inside the cathedral and gaze at the magnificent structure and so Notre Dame has become the most popular tourist site in France. More than 13 million people visit the cathedral every year. Trip Advisor rates Notre Dame as #11 out of 750 attractions in Paris. The tour of the cathedral’s towers is # 14.

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Paris 2014: Notre Dame de Paris

My wife and I spent three weeks in Paris in May of 2014 and during that time we visited Notre Dame twice. The following article is a re-post of an article I first uploaded on August 15, 2014. Later on this week I will post a few more stories and photos from our stay in Paris five years ago.

It’s not the prettiest church we’ve seen. It’s the largest in Paris but we have seen many in Europe that are larger. It’s not even the oldest Gothic church around. St  Denis is older. Hey, but it’s Notre Dame and it dominates the east side of Ile de la Cité and can be seen from most of the city. Napoleon was crowned emperor here. Henry IV and Margaret of Valois were married here. So were Mary, Queen of Scots and Francis II. The world’s greatest organ is here. Charles de Gaulle’s funeral was here. And we were here in May of this year.

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Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

The largest and most horrific battle in the history of North America took place over the first three days of July, 1863 near the tiny hamlet of Gettysburg in southeastern Pennsylvania not far from the Maryland border. More than 10,000 American troops were killed in the battle and another 30,000 were wounded.

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Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

On October 4, 1863 the following proclamation appeared on the font page of The New York Times:

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