A unique calling

The Grant Mansion has a unique place in Atlanta's history, if it can be preserved.
The Grant Mansion has a unique place in Atlanta’s history, if it can be preserved.

It’s rather unassuming, yet quite historic. It doesn’t dazzle with extraordinary colours or flashy architecture. To the contrary, its simple lines, modest proportions and utilitarian features speak more of its being a family dwelling than a historic building. But in the City of Atlanta, the Grant Mansion has a unique distinction. It’s one of the few Civil War period buildings not destroyed in the burning of the city 150 years ago by Union Gen. W.T. Sherman. Initially, its survival is attributed to one odd factor.

“Because Union troops found Masonic paraphernalia in the house,” documentation at the historic site explains today, “(soldiers) were instructed not to harm the houses of Masons.”

Building better citizens

Sgt. Isaac Ramos credits his years in Royal Canadian Air Cadets for his outlook and attitude about life.
Sgt. Isaac Ramos credits his years in Royal Canadian Air Cadets for his outlook on life.

The young man stole the show, when it was my job to do it. I had just finished a 30-minute talk at a military dinner in Etobicoke. There were about a hundred young people in the audience, members of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets (RCAC) No. 700 Squadron. I thought my talk – about the romance of aviation and the roots of national service – had gone well. I had managed to capture and keep the attention 12- to 18-year-olds. The end of my talk brought a genuine thank-you from a young warrant officer. Then a young man with sergeant’s stripes on his sleeve rose to speak.

“Four years ago, I was an irresponsible kid. I didn’t get along with my parents. I bad-mouthed everybody,” he said. “But today in the cadets it’s just the opposite.”