for the love of god and country: the ceremony at ebenezer

dsc_9202Today’s ceremony at the ruins of Ebenezer A.M.E. on Bacton Hill Road today literally made me cry.  I was so overcome with emotion that the ruin and cemetery are finally getting well-deserved recognition and attention.  #thisplacematters , all 184 years of it.

dsc_9253When I got to the graveyard, people were assembling. Media, neighbors, passers-by who decided to pull over and stop, descendants of those souls buried there, a representative from the East Whiteland Historical Commission, some of my “Ladies of Ebenezer”, the Willistown Troop 78 Scouts, Luke Phayre the Eagle Scout and his family (including his mom Kathy and grandfather) , many local veterans, three member of the East Whiteland Police Department,  WCU Student Veterans Group members, and  Al Terrell.

dsc_9082It was so overwhelming to me, it truly was such a beautiful sight. It was indeed something I was not sure I would ever see and among other things I so wished Ann Christie had lived long enough to see this happen – which is why some of the Ladies of Ebenezer were there today – we had made Ann a promise because she truly loved the site and had tried for years before my interest to get to this point.  We also felt today we were able to honor her, along with the black Civil War soldiers and other souls buried at Ebenezer. After so many decades of truly wanton neglect, these people were honored.

dsc_9300It was long overdue, but our very history is often such a cruel mistress.

dsc_9108Our ceremony was opened by Luke Phayre. He spoke about his project and thanked people who have been helping him.  He spoke very well and is truly a poised and wonderful young man.

dsc_9088Captain Howard A. Crawford, USAF, MSC (Ret) who is the Commander of the West Chester American Legion Post 134 (Bernard Schlegel Post) spoke simply and eloquently

“We’re here today to honor Civil War soldiers…African American soldiers that died…[who] weren’t given the honors of a true [military] burial.”

dsc_9273His son played taps for the soldiers on a bugle.  Veterans gave a military rifle salute, and if memory serves I think it is called a three volley salute.

dsc_9149And East Whiteland Police Department sent three representatives.  These fine gentlemen came in full uniform and participated.  I was so touched that they wanted to do this, especially today when they were on their way to bury a former brother officer who had served with them and passed away.  At a time in this country when people are so darn critical of our men in blue – like those Bryn Mawr College students this week for example – I think these are the quiet moments that most police critics tend to overlook that speak volumes as to the characters of those who serve. Bravo, East Whiteland Police Department. Such a generous gesture on your own day of loss.

dsc_9317In a nation currently torn asunder by varying political factions and beliefs, those of us involved at Ebenezer are humbled by this kind gesture on the part of Chester County veterans and local police and others who believe in our quest to save Ebenezer and honor those buried here.

Today we saw people leave their politics at home and come together. It was such a poignant and beautiful thing to be part of the week before Thanksgiving. This is what it means to come together and be Americans. There was no race, creed, color, or political divide we were all just Americans coming together to honor our dead. It was so inspiring and true and good a thing. Days like this give us all hope.

Thanks for stopping by.  Read the Daily Local tomorrow too.


dear bryn mawr and haverford college students, thanks for the hate protest


Photo courtesy of Ardmore Shutterbug on location in Ardmore at the protest.

This is a protest that was orchestrated by a Bryn Mawr College student who I am told hails from Indiana.


I do not care what side. What do people get from disrupting lives and affecting traffic and putting their own lives at risk for less than legitimate or well thought out reasons? Does all that enact change? And what has LMPD (Lower Merion Police Department) done exactly to deserve this at this time?

Fomenting HATE on any side of an issue does NOT enact positive change and I am sorry but I think it is total and utter bulltwinkies to say:

“The LMPD is our enemy…The people of Montgomery County are too comfortable. Folks on the Main Line aren’t forced to see protests in the city.”

There is nothing truly peaceful about the intent that bothers me. This summer there was a PEACEFUL march organized by a young lady with a lot more style. This is not peaceful.

What these over-indulged privileged college students at elite private (and very liberal) colleges  ON THE MAIN LINE will be doing in actuality is scaring the crap out of residents and ordinary working people who have nothing to do with any of this. And given the time of day, people traveling on Lancaster Avenue who work shift work will have a hard time getting to their minimum wage jobs that the architects of this march know nothing about.

I am all for being the change you seek. But not with inflammatory rhetoric like this. That is morally and ethically reprehensible. Hate begets hate.

Again as per the screenshot  the organizer is a Bryn Mawr College student.  A white middle class college student from the Midwest, and what does she know in her limited life experience from strife?

And why did this Megan Murray organize this? Did she experience any issues with the police department where I used to call home and where West Chester’s former Borough Manager Ernie McNeely is not the Township Manager?  My research and the research of others indicates no, so is this like “Oh it’s Wednesday, I think I will wash my hair, eat pizza for lunch, and protest before dinner to burn off calories”?

It’s ludicrous, and I do not respect this.  This is like a recreational protest, or they had nothing to do.  Hate begets hate.

If these spoiled, predominantly white college students think it is a hardship to go to elite private liberal colleges on the Main Line (which is not conservative held at this point and has not for years) let them transfer and go elsewhere.

Protest for the sake of protest is just silly. Those colleges need local police forces and other first responders like EMTs and fire fighters.

And for these colleges to allow their students to make full time residents uncomfortable just because some student decided that “Folks on the Main Line aren’t forced to see protests in the city. We will change all that by disrupting their communities…”


Do we come to your dorms with bullhorns and protest your existence?

Does this organizer even realize that (a) the top 2% she feels have wronged her live far, far away from the downtown Ardmore business district and the people whose lives they are disrupting are more common folk who do not breath rarefied air and actually WORK for a living? and (b) Even people in the city don’t necessarily see any protests, because why? OH yeah, Philadelphia is a very large major metropolitan city, isn’t it?

People actually protesting Trump or any other political figure I actually get.  But picking on a police department where you go to college that has never done anything to you yet you call them all facists I do not get and I do not respect.

Update: Protest planned for Wednesday afternoon in Lower Merion

  • By Richard Ilgenfritz @rpilgenfritz on Twitter
  • Updated Nov 15, 2016

When contacted through the email on the flyer, Magen Murray, a political science major in the Class of 2018 and a native of the Midwest, said they have a number of goals for the demonstration…..

She went on to add, “Ultimately we hope that this demonstration will spark a dialogue in the community and will put pressure on the LMPD to withdraw from the FOP, take substantial steps to end racial profiling on the Main Line and to take a stand against Trump and the hate he stands for.”

According to Murray, the marchers are planning to walk on the sidewalks for the first part and then walk into the streets once they get closer to the police station. The protest will stop on the sidewalk in front of the police station.

Murray said since having posted the information, their event page has received “significant harassment.” She added that besides harassment they have also received threats.

Ok what planet does this girl live on? She is a temporary resident of Lower Merion because she goes to college here and she wants the police departments around here to withdraw from the FOP?  That is nuts and just dumb and unrealistic.  Is she going to go back to her nice Midwestern hometown at Thanksgiving and step and repeat there? Is she going to do this to her hometown police department too?

And this headline just popped up:

LM police keep peace between anti-police protestors and pro-police supporters

Police keep peace between anti-police, anti-Trump protestors and pro-police, pro-Trump supporters

  • By Susan Greenspon @susangreenspon on Twitter

….After 4 p.m. Wednesday, Lower Merion police officers, on bike, escorted the students who were protesting them from Haverford College to the Lower Merion Township Building. Carrying signs and chanting, “No good cops in a racist system,” the more than 4 dozen college-aged men and women crossed Lancaster Avenue at Rittenhouse Place and proceeded past the pro-police supporters, into the parking lot and over to the steps of the township building.

Shouts of “Misinformed, go back to your dorms!” and “USA, USA!” were hurled by the adults carrying the pro-police signs…Helicopters from TV news channels hovered overhead, car and truck horns beeped to show support and, after about 20 minutes, the students left the steps, still chanting, and strode back west along the Lancaster Avenue sidewalk.

Misinfomed, go back to your dorms, indeed.  All they accomplished was creating a stressful situation for full time tax paying residents and a local police force. And technically they protested on the steps of the township administration building, not the police department.

I found another blogger who wrote about this today, and  this blogger who put up a post to the Republican Committee of Lower Merion and Narberth because she didn’t like the fact that they acted on how this protest offended them (it offended Democrats too) and here is something which popped out at me  from their post (right or wrong):

You know what I wish would happen?  I wish you would welcome the protesters.  Make them cookies or something.  Welcome them.  Talk to them.  Show them that you actually share some of their concerns.  Show them sympathy instead of resistance.

I do not wish to quibble with this blogger because if you take the time to read her entire post she makes several very good points (so read her post) , BUT where I DO disagree is these aren’t the kids you bake cookies for.  They are just angry .   Did these students reach out to elected officials or even this police department before they decided to stage a protest? I see no evidence of that anywhere.  All I see are a bunch of kids who decided that the Main Line needed to be disrupted.

Now look, I will admit freely, that I pretty much stopped paying attention to the Republican committee in Lower Merion Township years ago.   I am also a registered Independent at this point.  And this blogger and I had a similar epiphany about traditional party politics.  I am pretty much a moderate and this country has no place for moderates of any type at this point.  We are a country of extremes and it is tearing us ALL apart. And that is the thing about these kids who decided it was Wednesday let’s protest: they are contributing to the extremes. The extremes are killing us.  It has to stop.

And my last word is I am someone who has participated in several peaceful protests over the years. This did not have peaceful anything in mind when planned, was offensive,  and the impetus was to in essence teach those bad Main Liners a lesson.

Kids, you got some media and you fomented more hate and divide. You became part of the problem, not part of any potential solution.

But the Main Liners you wanted to teach a lesson too?  They won’t even break a sweat, they can’t see any of this from their windows, and they don’t give a damn what you think….or probably me either for that matter.  They are what they are.  If you don’t identify with the Main Line, don’t like the Main Line, move.  I did. I  now wish I had done it years ago.