From multiple sources your correspondent (“I”) had learned about and followed through with signing up for a COVID-19 vaccine through the Philadelphia government website. Shortly after I got my first vaccination! Here’s how it went down. A few weeks after registering I received a notice that I could make an appointment for a shot by filling out a form. The form took me step-by-step through what I needed to provide in the way of information about my health and age and and such. I was given an opportunity to select a time of day and then was assigned appointment date on March 15 at 9:30 am. By about 9 AM hundreds of us were already gathering in a long line along the western wall of the convention center. Yellow vested attendants prompted us to keep our distance and to have our identification ready. They also asked few preliminary questions about our health today. The line moved slowly but deliberately along to the entrance. There, a uniformed soldier asked to see our ID again and provide a couple particulars. Once inside, we were directed into long lines and turning a corner, were directed by a small cadre of military personnel assigned us to one of what seemed to the hundreds of tables where other personnel were administering shots. I said at the end of the table and another person at the other end. As soon as the marine finished administering her shot he had me roll up my sleeve to the shoulder and and politely shot me with what looked like a small orange click needle, handed me my CDC vaccination card and directed me to the area where I needed to sign up for my second shot. A jolly FEMA worker stickered us, those willing, with “I got my Covid-19 vaccine!” labels. I could have waited in line to schedule an appointment with personnel but I opened to scan with my phone camera the QR code that another worker offered me to do this online. This took me step by step through the registration system for the second shot. And then, we vaccinated, wound our way toward the exit where another attendant cheerily reminded us, “See you on April 5th!” As we exited the doors, hardly 20 minutes after we had first entered, I may have felt like waving my arms above my head in exultation but the woman in front of me actually did. Watch military personnel administer vaccines to people at FEMA mass vaccination site in Philadelphia here
One recent, hot morning, your correspondent came across a small group of hikers wearing red t-shirts, carrying backpacks and hoisting two large American flags as they approached an entrance to the Wissahickon woods. They are the the Philadelphia Chapter of Team Red, White and Blue (RWB) teamrwb.org John Bond, second from left, and Joel Stark, center, are both army vets. They are flanked by their civilian supporters, team members Caitlin Pollard, Joan Kim and Heather Jordan, Stark's sister (left to right). Team RWB, Stark explains, is "a veteran service organization based around the United States enriching veterans' lives through social and physical connections." This morning they were out on a "ruck march" with weighted bags. Stark opened his to show a weight that brought his pack's weight to about thirty-five pounds. Bond had college textbooks in his pack for weight. Pollard says,"I always like being part of Team RWB because it allows me to do something with people and not just for people," Stark triggered laughter when he added, "The idea is - we can sweat together."
Watch video interview with military veterans and civilian supporters who are team members of the Philadelphia chapter of TeamRWBV discussing the physical and social activities they sponsor to promote the well-being and health of vets.
Dorothy Brown, 69, has lived on her family's property in Solebury township on Old Windybush Road nearly all her life, first in the house up the hill, where her brother lives, and now in the house her grandmother had built as a retirement home. Four generations have enjoyed extended family living between the two houses. Brown relishes the sounds, the smells and the people that she knows so well and figures she's the oldest resident in the township. Old Windybush Road was the main route for farmers bringing their produce to sell in Philadelphia. There was a watering trough for horses across the road and a blacksmith's down the road where the farmers could get their horses shod. The area has become very developed over the years but bond issues have allowed the purchase of development rights to preserve thirty percent as farmland and open space. Watch video interview about historic Solebury township.
Click this link to a video where Dorothy Brown shows an 8 pound cannon ball dating back to the Revolutionary War that her daughter found sticking out of the mud on her way home from work at an ice cream store in New Hope. Brown recounts that the British were bombarding the colonists from the New Jersey side of the Delaware River after Washington had commandeered all their boats.
Watch video interview of Iraq war vet on long solo Memorial Day walk with PTSD dog. On Memorial Day, Iraq war vet Bobby Caroselli, gears up and takes a trek to commemorate his 28 fallen battalion comrades until he can walk no further. One arm and shoulder cradle the pole upon which a large American flag is hoisted while the other hand firmly holds the harness of his PTSD German Shepherd, "Corporal." He is outfitted in a camouflage flak vest, as is his dog, and his backpack bears the names of his fallen mates. He served in the army infantry during the 2007 surge and, only 19 at the time, he says he grew up fast. When asked about his combat experience he relates only that he had "seen enough." He remembers his buddies fondly and, recalling their humor and imaginative pranks, a smile comes over his face. Your correspondent struck up a conversation with Caroselli after he had paused near the war memorial atop the Water Tower Recreation Center fields. He and Corporal then resumed their solitary Memorial day march under gray, drizzly skies, the red and white striped flag flapping and snapping smartly behind.
Old Frederick County Courthouse Civil War Museum Guide Carol Miller recounts that Winchester Virginia changed hands many times between the Union and Confederate forces during the Civil War. And during the war, the Courthouse was used as a hospital, barracks and a prison by both sides. During restoration, a curse on the Confederacy President Jefferson Davis was found carved into the wall in the upstairs area, presumably by a union soldier, and is on view with many rifles, swords, shot, and relics of the conflict. Miller read the inscription aloud from memory and says its imagery reflects influence of the fraternal organization of Masons. "To Jeff Davis may he be set afloat on a boat without compass or rudder then that any contents be swallowed by a shark the shark by a whale whale in the devils belly and the devil in hell the gates locked the key lost. And further may he be put in the north west corner with a south east wind blowing ashes in his eyes for all eternity."
Christina Lee of BonLynn Cleaners was listening to a Korean language radio station when I asked her about the current tense situation in the Koreas. Lee came to the U.S. in 1986 from South Korea and does not know anyone living in North Korea nor of anyone who travels there. From what she has seen on Korean news, she believes the current North Korean leader, 29 year-old Kim Jung-un, is too young, which she thinks could be very dangerous. But Lee’s friends and family in South Korea don’t take North Korea’s [militaristic] threats seriously. She thinks reunification is inevitable but that it will bring tension and be accompanied by economic hardship, similar to when East and West Germany were re-united. To make the transition a lot smoother, she believes, the two Koreas must come up with a clear plan and follow it step by step.
Watch video interview here. (Sorry for shakiness of camera)
I went to a party in West Virginia and it was a guy’s retirement party. And he had this t-shirt on and it said “Glasgow, Scotland” because he was in the military, he was in the Marines, or Navy that one, one of three. And we’re having a few drinks and someone says, you should go up to the microphone, it’s Karaoke and say you’re Kaley’s son from Scotland. I said, “I can’t do that.” He says, “Come on.” So eventually we had a whip around. And the whip around was up to sixty dollars and being Scotch, you can’t turn down that money. So I went up to the microphone. I was like, “It’s finally great to meet my Dad bringing me here to meet at his retirement party.” Half the party knew I was doing it but the other half didn’t. So it was like, “Chhhh!” But it turned out the guy knew, he found out this was going to happen. He stood up, come up and just hugged us for a good five minutes. I was standing there, I didn’t know he knew. So I was kind of thinking this is great, he thinks, this guy doesn’t know. And then his mother comes from nowhere so gives us a hug. “It’s great to meet you now.” “Oh, you too.” And eventually I found out they knew. But later on I’m talking to this girl at the party and getting a bit closer to her. It’s going all right. A guy comes up to me, “You all know she’s your cousin.” And I’m like, yeah. “It’s alright now, you’re in West Virginia.” I thought it was brilliant"
As related by a UK Elite soccer coach who, for this story, prefers to be identified as "John Deere."
"Tracker" Dan is a reservist with the United States Navy SEALS and has served on active duty in Iraq where he had a months-long assignment guarding former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Dan, who is part Cherokee, teaches nature and survival skills that he was first introduced to as a child by his parents. He can be reached at http://www.trackerdan.com/
“SEAL” stands for sea, air and land. So we train for all of our ocean stuff which is diving with re-breathers, where there’s no bubbles. So being able to insert to either get somebody out or do reconnaissance that kind of thing. Or to disable a ship in a foreign port which we’re trying to keep from escaping to somewhere else. There’s the small inflatable boat stuff for inserting over the beach. And of course we have all our air ops, free-fall, parachuting into the ocean, getting into a boat and taking that to an objective. Getting hostages out of a situation or doing reconnaissance. Or for boarding ships and taking them over and turning them around if there’s an embargo or something like that. YOU TEACH SURVIVAL SKILLS, TOO? That’s something I did before I went into the military. I teach survival skills to the SEAL teams as a civilian and I did it when I was activated as a reservist. I taught them jungle survival down in South America Then of course we have our land training too which is all our marksmanship, patrolling and room clearing.- being able to take down a house safely and get hostages out or clearing it of bad guys or going in and capturing bad guys. That involves sniper work and communications, a lot of radio type stuff. It’s not always this way but the army generally has the highest ranking officers so they are in charge of SOCOM which is the joint operations between all the U.S. military. They’re basically the administrators. They say you guys can do this job; you guys can do that job. When we’re over in war areas, the Army’s in control, so it’s very important for us to be good at comms. Because they’ll use us for reconnaissance and stuff like that. They like to take the good jobs because they’re in control. They’ll give us everything they don’t want to do. We have to very good on the radios to let them know where we’re at, where the bad guys are at, and what’s going on.
I SEE YOU’RE IN UNIFORM WITH THE MARINES AND YOU’RE STANDING IN FRONT OF ONAS QUAKER SLEEPOVER CAMP. “I’m actually with Valley Forge Military Academy around the corner. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER SUMMER CAMPERS? We have a day camp that goes from age 6 up to 14 years of age, an overnight camp, sports specific camps. We have a football camp that’s run by Glenn Foley, a former NFl player, captain of the Jets, a fitness camp for high schoolers…HAVE YOU SEEN SERVICE OVERSEAS? “I started years ago. My first deployment was Lebanon. I was in Beirut. I was in Desert Storm, Desert Shield. The only active hot zones I’ve been in were in Lebanon and the middle east.” CPT, Peter Ross, USMC, Director of Fitness, Valley Forge Military Academy. Watch video here.