Monday, July 21, 2014

Military Monday - Basic Training Graduation Photos

My grandfather Chuck Lowry graduated in 1944 as one of 800,000 new soldiers to complete Army Basic Training at Camp Blanding in Jacksonville, Florida. As is common still today, graduates of 'basic' take a formal portrait. It's a chance to show off for parents and loved ones far away in a sharp looking Army uniform. Sadly, it's the same photo we often see in the newspaper when a soldier is killed in action. My grandfather survived (barely) his combat experience in Northern France but had these two photos taken at Camp Blanding.

In this set of photos, he is shown wearing the uniform of a recruit private. His uniform includes the patch of the Army Training Command as well as the Marksmanship Qualification Badge, including Sharpshooter qualifications with a rifle, carbine and one additional weapon that can't be read. He would go on to earn the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, campaign medals for the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater (with one service star) and American Campaign and the World War II Victory Medal.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mystery Monday - The Nameless Nurse

A photo of this woman was in a collection of Lowry and Pepperney family photos from the late 1910's and early 1920's but she was unidentified. Was she a nurse during World War I or in the years after? I don't have any answers here but maybe you do. If so, please share in the comments. Thanks!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cemetery Sunday - A Visit to Arlington National Cemetery

My uncle Tom Witt was in Washington, D.C. for work and wanted to make a point to visit Arlington National Cemetery. As I had not been there in some time, I felt it would make a great time to catch up with him and visit America's most hallowed ground.

Arlington National Cemetery sits on 624 acres and is the final resting place of 400,000 war casualties and veterans. Included in the latter group is my great uncle, Francis Witt Jr. Francis was an Air Force officer who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I've previously written about his evasion and escape after being shot down in 1944 here.

My uncle, and later joined by my wife, son and mother-in-law, spend three hours walking around the cemetery, pausing at interesting or well-known individuals and honoring the unknown Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen with a stop at the Tomb of the Unknown.

Headstone of my great uncle Francis Witt's grave.

The back of the headstone records the birth and death of his wife Mary Lou, buried with him.

My uncle Tom is here digging for a stone to leave on the top of Francis's grave.

Francis had a brother Fred who served in the Marines during World War II, but this isn't him. Ironically, this unrelated Fred is buried just a few rows away from Francis in the same section.

The date of death of Lt. McKamey was striking: June 6, 1944 is D-Day. A Google search revealed that his B-26 Marauder was shot down while on a bombing run to weaken the German forces in the area of Utah Beach. The entire crew was killed.

This entire section contains unknown soldiers from the Civil War.

General Ostermann was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in the 1915 invasion of Haiti. He retired from the Marine Corps as a Major General in 1943, in part because he was not given a combat command during World War II.

America's most decorated soldier. Ever.

The American flag flies inside the Memorial Amphitheater, located behind the Tomb of the Unknown. I have been to Arlington National Cemetery numerous times but had never seen the wonderful exhibit inside the Amphitheater. 

The Tomb of the Unknown

The memorial of the seven astronauts lost when the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart during reentry in 2003.

This panoramic shot captures the memorials to the Space Shuttle Challenger, the loss of American airmen in Operation Eagle Claw in 1980, and the Space Shuttle Columbia.

The grave of Commander Dick Scobee, who was lost in the Challenger disaster.

The mast of the U.S.S. Maine. The 'Maine' exploded in Havana harbor in 1898 and led in part to the Spanish-American War.

"Ask not what your country can do for you..." Part of the memorial wall around JFK's grave.

The gang after a hot morning walking around Arlington.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Four Generations Once Again

I love photos showing four generations of my family. There are quite a few collecting on the blog here, here, here, here, and here. This is another taken two weeks ago at the baptism of my son. My grandmother Barb Viti is holding her great grandson Brendan Lowry with my mom and me on either side. I will feature Brendan's baptism in an upcoming blog post.

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Eddie Lowry, Sr.

Click to enlarge
Edward Martin 'Eddie' Lowry, Sr. is the brother of my great grandfather Charles Edward Lowry. He was born in Leetonia, Ohio on 8 Dec 1896 and died in Canton, Ohio on 17 May 1978. He married and had three children. He looks quite dapper in this clearly professional portrait, with the flowing necktie, pocket square and lit cigarette. I believe this image was taken in the early 1920's. This was in a small collection of Lowry family photos I received from Aunt Mary, who inherited it from my grandfather, Eddie's nephew Chuck.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Military Monday - My Ancestors in the American Revolution

The Battle of Long Island
A few days late, but many genealogy bloggers are in honor of the Fourth of July writing about their ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. I have at least one, but perhaps more, direct ancestor who fought in the Colonies between 1775 and 1783. As my paternal ancestors didn't arrive in the United States until the 1820's, they are on my maternal side.
  • Zephaniah Rogers served as a private in Captain Satterlee's Company, Colonel Elmore's Regiment of the Connecticut Line. Zephaniah is my 5th great grandfather through my maternal grandmother. He enlisted in the regiment on April 16, 1776, less than a month after the British evacuated Boston, for a period of one year. He served in garrison in Johnstown, New York and saw little, if any, combat. He was later awarded a pension for his service. Zephaniah is buried in Indian Run Cemetery in Dublin, Ohio not far from where several of his descendants, including my aunt and sister, live today. I will certainly work to explore his life in the coming months and share those findings here. 
  • The other candidate whose service remains unexplored is Gottfried Wohlfarth (Wolford), who arrived in the United States around the time of the war and would have been of fighting age. He was 35 years old at the end of the war in 1783. I have not confirmed his arrival and thus, his service, if any to his new country.
I have not identified any other direct descendants who may have fought in the Revolution or who could be a candidate for service based on his age and location. If I find additional service for our country's independence or more on Zephaniah Rogers, as the saying goes, 'Watch This Space.'

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Caroline's Baptism

Two weeks ago we baptized my son at Saint Edward Church in Youngstown. I started looking through family photos related to baptisms and found this one. My sister Caroline was baptized at the old Saint Joseph Church, then the Youngstown State University Newman Center, in summer 1983. Around the baptism font are my parents and Caroline's godparents, our aunt Marie Dockry and uncle Mike Lowry. Both are obscured behind the priest, Fr. Ray Thomas. The Newman Center at Saint Joseph Church was torn down in 1992.

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