Click here to read about this remarkable family of February 29ers!
Click here to read about this remarkable family of February 29ers!
This has apparently been around since 2005, but I had never seen it before. And I don't mind admitting, it really choked me up. Here's the song -- and here is how it came to be:
The elderly parking lot attendant wasn't in a good mood!
Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, a Delray Beach, Fla. , eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker and musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event.
He pulled up in his car, and the parking attendant began to speak. "I took two bullets for this country and look what I'm doing," he said bitterly.
At first, Bierstock didn't know what to say to the World War II veteran. But he rolled down his window and told the man, "Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you."
Then the old soldier began to cry.
"That really got to me," Bierstock says.
Cut to today.
Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach - a member of Bierstock's band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band - have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful "Before You Go" does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die.
"If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot," says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. "The WW II soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them."
The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web, the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren.
"It made me cry," wrote one veteran's son. Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of wine would he discuss "the unspeakable horrors" he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio, Iwo Jima, Bataan and Omaha Beach. "I can never thank them enough," the son wrote. "Thank you for thinking about them."
Bierstock and Melnick thought about shipping it off to a professional singer, maybe a Lee Greenwood type, but because time was running out for so many veterans, they decided it was best to release it quickly, for free, on the Web. They've sent the song to Sen. John McCain and others in Washington. Already they have been invited to perform it in Houston for a Veterans Day tribute - this after just a few days on the Web. They hope every veteran in America gets a chance to hear it.
GOD BLESS every EVERY veteran... And THANK you to those of you veterans who may receive this!
We're experimenting with some new functionality at RootsTelevision.com and one of the outcomes is this player of videos of random genealogical adventures I've gotten myself mixed up in. It's a little like my greatest hits -- DNA, Annie Moore, Al Sharpton, etc.! I'm looking forward to adding new videos over time. Take a peek if you've got a few minutes. As an added bonus, one of the videos features my dad mocking me for using both of my Smolenyaks!
12-year-old Robert Wadlow appears to be a normal boy in this 1930 census, but click here to see what this record doesn't show. And yup, that's his dad, Harold, with him. If you're really curious, you can also check out the 1920 census that shows Harold and Addie with their exceptional toddler. Just search for "Robert Wadlow" in Illinois, born 1918.
The question isn't who's Gina, but what's GINA -- and why should you care? You can learn everything you need to know here, but an official of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) managed to wrap it all up succinctly when she wrote:
"I don't think people realize how important GINA is for them; its kind of like a seat belt law, you don't realize how much you need it until your head hits the windshield. They won't realize they need GINA until they are denied health insurance or a job based on what their DNA shows. And on the opposite end, there are those who won't test until they know they are protected."
This is genuinely important -- and not just for those of us who are into genetic genealogy. Please take the time to contact your senators and register your concern. As an added incentive, ISOGG is holding a contest with a prize worth $150. Please take a few minutes to read all about the Save GINA Contest -- and spread the word!
I'm delighted to see that my friend, Halvor Moorshead, is at it again with the launch of a new genealogy magazine, this one geared toward beginners. For a free, digital issue, just click below:
You can always tell a true genealogist by the way they respond to the word "cemetery." If you detect a shiver of excitement or outright glee, you know you're talking to a genuine genie. That's why I'm delighted to announce that we've just launched a new cemetery-centered series on RootsTelevision.com!
Check out the much beloved Genealogy Guys in this first episode, taped in Tampa, Florida. The story revolves around a tombstone that was ahead of its time. Take a look and let us know what you think!
Stopped at Starbucks today and liked what I found on my coffee cup, so thought I'd share. Imagine how this felt!
"Once, when excavating the house of a medieval sailor on the coast of the Red Sea in Egypt, I found a still-preserved reed mat in front of a door. Under the doormat was a wooden key with the name of the owner painted on it. It was an extraordinary sense of connection with the last person to walk out of that building 700 years ago.”
– Fred Hiebert, Archaeologist and National Geographic Fellow
Here's a cool article in The Genetic Genealogist about those of us with blue eyes. Looks like we might be our own special branch of mutants! Can't wait to get myself tested at one of the new companies to check out my own rs12913832!
Will be flying out West at the crack of dawn tomorrow and am looking forward to meeting lots of folks in St. George, UT and Hemet, CA. If you're at the Family History Expo in St. George, come see one of my talks or stop by the RootsTelevision booth. Maia's Books will be carrying my books and I'll be sure to hang out with my friends at Ancestry as well! With about 3,000 people expected, it should be quite an event! Check out what Kip Sperry has to say about the Expo in this video.
I'm also looking forward to meeting everyone at The Hemet-San Jacinto Genealogical Society conference next week. These folks are some of the most gung-ho genealogists I've encountered, so I know we're going to have a good time!
But even before all that, I'll be checking out African American Lives 2 tonight on PBS. Want to see everyone's reactions to what we nosy researchers dug up!