My son, Brion, and his wife, Alicia, are the focus of my blog today. Brion is in the 10th Mountain Division of the Army and is stationed at Fort Drum in New York. Last January his Batallion was deployed to Afghanistan for a year's deployment. Other than a 15-day leave in October he has spent the last year in Afghanistan. He returned home to Fort Drum on January 10.
From the time Brion was a little boy we suspected that he would one day be a soldier. Just about every time Saturday rolled around he would ask us what we were going to do today. We'd ask him what he wanted to do and he'd say he wanted to go to Gettysburg. We live about 15 miles from Gettysburg so it wasn't a big trip. Sunday afternoon he would ask the same question. We spent many hours walking or driving around the battlefield, and hanging out in Gettysburg. By the time he was 9 years old he wanted to be a reenactor in the worse way.
He and Duck joined a Company of men who portrayed Pennsylvania Bucktails. Brion was too young to carry a gun and portray a soldier so he became a drummerboy. At first he and his dad went to events together and then, as Brion grew older, he went to Living History events on his own and with friends who were also reenactors. Most people don't realize that there are reenactors and people who are living historians. The reenactors dress up and attend events, but that's about as far as it goes. Brion became a living historian. He was meticulous about his attire and his portrayal. As a teenager he sometimes had men much older ask him for advice about their portrayal or about certain battles. While still in highschool, Brion was asked to participate in the filming of some Civil War documentaries for the History Channel. He had the usual highschool senior portraits, but his main picture was a wetplate photograph in his Civil War attire. Gibson, who is a well-known wet-plate photographer, took his portrait. When the Civil War Times magazine did an article on "Arti-fakes"--modern day images that could be passed off for originals, Brion's image was one of those selected for the magazine article.
We are very proud of Brion and the man he has become. We love Alicia and think of her as a daughter. While stationed at Fort Drum Brion has become an avid fan of duck hunting. He and Alicia, both, are looking forward to some duck hunting adventures. Brion has a vast assortment of duck calls, and likes to practice using them. We feel sorry for Alicia in that regard as well as for anyone living in about a 5-mile radius.
Since arriving home they've had an addition to their family. His name is Brody and he is an 8-week old chocolate lab/golden retriever mix. They are hoping to train him to retrieve, and have already begun his training.
The photo above was taken when Brion's company returned to Fort Drum. It was probably about 3:00 in the morning when that photo was taken.