Homecoming III was held in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which left the Pentagon in flames and the World Trade Center in a pile of rubble. The nation was brought to a near standstill, and the Dreisbachs weren't sure whether or not their Reunion should be held at all during a time of such upheaval and national grief. We were persuaded to proceed when, 3 days after the attacks, cousin Pauline sent this heartfelt message:
Subject: Re: HC III status Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001
Dear Uncle Ted:
As a Manhattan resident for the last 17 years, I am writing to you to tell you of New Yorkers' love, resilience and faith. Please, please, please assure all Dreisbachs that the reunion should and must take place. I can only speak for myself when I say that the reunion will be my first trip out of Manhattan following the attack. In the meantime I need to be with my children; my youngest child cannot return to his high school because it is a major triage area. Next week he will start attending split sessions in a school in Brooklyn. That is a minor price to pay considering the occurrences of the last few days.
We Dreisbachs cannot allow the terrorists to think for one minute that they have disrupted our lives. We stand tall. We love America. We want the reunion to happen. (I need the reunion to happen.) Please share this e-mail with whomever you think needs encouragement, and please do not hesitate to give my e-mail address to anyone who has concerns about coming to this part of the world.
Love and kisses, Pauline
Honor the Dreisbach brigade, Ne'er may their glory fade, Nobly they've lived and well, So let the chorus swell, All, all together; On their Reunion day Let each one loudly say, Honor the Dreisbach array-- 'Dreisbach', 'Dreisbach', forever! Poem by Rev. L. D. Lazarus for the 1914 Dreisbach Family Reunion.Source: The Dreisbach Family Journal, Vol. 2, Nos. 1&2, p. 11.
The Sheraton Inn Jetport, 3400 Airport Road, Allentown, PA was the home base for the reunion.
Thursday, October 18th, everyone arrived to check in. There was a Hospitality Room for meeting old and new family members.
Friday, October 19th,there was two tours to choose from: A) HIDDEN HISTORY BUS TOUR
A full day's tour of the Lehigh Valley's "Dreisbach Country", viewing the areas where 1743 immigrant Simon Dreisbach and his sons lived, worked and worshipped. Met the 3 groups who preceded the Dreisbachs in the area: the Lenape Indians with their peach-orchard and gardens, the first European settlers (the Ulster Scots), and the Moravians with their experiment in communal living.
Tour historic sites with expert representatives of 3 historical societies: Whitefield House built 1740-43 and its 1740 log house neighbor; the newly restored Jacksonville settlement; an authentic, fully furnished Pennsylvania-German homestead from 1756, the Troxell-Steckel House. Buffet lunch of traditional foods at Harmony Grange near Zion Stone Church, then went to the lower reaches of the Lehigh Gap to see the path many of our ancestors took when they moved out of the valley.
We learned about the area's recently identified prehistoric "sacred landscape", about cheated Indians who wailed on a mountain-top through the night, about massacres and abductions, not to forget the PA governor who had a Dreisbach mother-in-law.
Leave - 8:59 AM. Return - 5:00 PM. Included in price: bus, lunch, admissions, gratuities and a 'Dreisbach map' made especially for the tour.
B) LANCASTER COUNTY BUS TOUR "Experience the Amish" That's "ah mish"; not "ay mish". A spectacular journey with the Amish through time. An insider's look: view the farm lands where the Plain community lives. We learned why one-room schools, the horse and buggy, the plainest of dress and life without electricity continue to survive. We explored our common Pennsylvania Deutsch heritage.
Morning: A varied general meeting full of information and fun. Participants from abroad included a Dreisbach from our ancestral Wittgenstein! Information about newly discovered Dreisbach/Dresback/Driesbaugh lines, and about our still unsolved mysteries. Repositories that have been established to preserve our history, and about our new CD-ROM. Planned our future activities.
Afternoon: Free time for the use of hotel facilities (indoor pool, sauna, physical training area, lounge, etc. Opportunities for genealogical inquiries and exchanges. Do-it-yourself tour of points of Dreisbach interest within about 10 miles of the hotel.
Evening: A main banquet for everyone, including entertainment, Dreisbach stories, a Dreisbach choir, white elephant fund raiser, and a distinguished guest speaker whose specialty is the relationship between economic history and local history.
Sunday, October 21st Morning: A special service provided by members of the Zion Stone Church in Kreidersville (only five miles from the hotel) with a light lunch at cost, and guided visits of the graves of many Dreisbach ancestors from the 1700s. This service was the highlight for many at the 1995 Reunion.
The Worship Service began at 10:15 AM. DFA Choir members sang with the Church Choir.
A light lunch served for a modest charge following the service.
Two Old Graveyard Tours; the first one at 11:45 AM and the second one at 12:45 PM. All activities over before 2:00 PM.