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Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church, Lewistown

by Theresa Dardanell

“1833…Rebuilt 1883.”  That’s what you see on the cornerstone of the historic building that is now Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Lewistown.  Inside the church, you will find a small, but growing, congregation that includes young families with children, as well as members of the original parish that began as a small mission in 2005.

Although the chapel was originally a Methodist church, it became the home of the Lamb of God Charismatic Episcopal Church in 2005, under the leadership of Father James Hamrick. In 2009, they were received into the Orthodox Church and blessed as Saint John the Baptist Mission. 

On the welcome page of the Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church website, you will find the message: “We endeavor to bring the ancient Faith of Christ and the Apostles to the people of Frederick County and beyond.” Their Sunday service begins at 9:30 a.m. with “Matins,” which includes psalms, hymns, and readings. The Mass, according to the Rite of Saint Gregory, begins at 10:00 a.m. There are hymns, readings, prayers, a sermon, and communion. Visitors and friends are always welcome to attend Matins and Mass and, in the spirit of Christian fellowship, are invited to receive the priest’s blessing and blessed bread during communion. Fellowship continues after Mass with coffee hour. Once a month, everyone meets for a potluck dinner after Mass. The children are invited to move to the pews at the front of the church for the sermon. Father Hamrick speaks to the children, as well as to the adults, during his homily. The children’s education continues during children’s church on Saturdays. 

Local and worldwide ministries are beneficiaries of the church.  Monetary and food donations are given to the Thurmont Food Bank. The Antiochian Women of St. John the Baptist meet every other week for bible or book study and choose various service projects. They are in the planning stages of a program that will supply backpacks filled with supplies to various parishes. One of the previous service projects was a summer lunch program in Lewistown. Father Hamrick and one of the parishioners are members of the Order of St. Ignatius, a charitable order that provides funds for the support of seminarians, a camping ministry, prison fellowship, and Orthodox charities. Father Hamrick, a life member of the Guardian Hose Company and Thurmont Community Ambulance Company, serves as a Chaplain for the Guardian Hose Company.

Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church is located in Lewistown at 11199 Angleberger Road. Their very informative website,, includes information about the Orthodox faith, an archive of sermons, the “Path to Sainthood” lecture series, as well as a calendar and contact information.  Pre-recorded sermons are aired on Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m. on WTHU.

Colleen Mcafee, parishioner and public relations coordinator for the Antiochian Women of the Mid Atlantic Diocese, said, “We know people who have been on lifelong journeys.  They are searching for something more. This fullness of the faith that’s really found in Orthodoxy. We never say where the grace of God is not but we know that the grace of God is here.  For anyone searching for the fullness of the faith, explore your local Orthodox Church.”

Pictured are Father James Hamrick (center, holding the baby), along with Deacon Stephen Kerr (next to Father James) and members of the parish.

by James Rada, Jr.

Four Club Meetings Today

At Emmitsburg two clubs have merged, the Catholic School Club and the Protestant School Club. The two organizations will alternate in meetings, one being held in the Catholic school one week and the next in the Protestant school.

About 40 members have already enrolled for club work for the coming season.

                                          – The Frederick Post, March 24, 1919

Making Road Survey

A corps of engineers began the work of making a survey of the public road leading from Thurmont, through Graceham, Rocky Ridge, Union Bridge and New Windsor to Westminster on Monday of this week.

It will be recalled that at the last session of the Legislature a bill was passed authorizing the survey of this road its entire distance between Hagerstown and Westminster. Thurmont is about half way between the two cities, the distance to Hagerstown by railroad being 28 miles and that to Westminster by rail 25 miles.

The engineers are now working from Thurmont to Westminster. Probably another corps will survey the road from Thurmont to Foxville, Smithburg (sic) on to Hagerstown.

The benefits from this road, if built, will be many. To the east of us it would take farmers out of the mud and place them on solid ground and to the west it would give the mountain people a good smooth road over which to bring their produce to railroad points.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, March 27, 1919

Red Cross Asks Emmitsburg For $1,111.70 Quota

Emmitsburg’s quota in the Red Cross War Relief campaign started Wednesday is $1,110.70, it was announced today by George L. Wilhide and A. L. Leary, co-chairmen for the borough.

Mr. Wilhide, cashier of the Emmitsburg State bank, and Mr. Leary, principal of the Emmitsburg schools, said today that the new quota is not much higher than the amount turned in by Emmitsburg during last year’s campaign when they oversubscriber (sic) their quota by $153.20. The total given by residents of Emmitsburg last year to help the Red Cross in its services to the men and women of the armed forces and their families was $1,013.20. Mr. Wilhide, who was manager of last year’s campaign, said today.

                                          – Gettysburg Times, March 2, 1944

Sabillasville Soldier Congratulates Friend

Tech. Sgt. Joseph H. Dingle, of Sabillasville, Md. received congratulations from an old home-town friend, First Sgt. Harry L. Bittner, following the former’s completion of his 25th mission over Nazi Europe as engineer and top turret gunner on a Flying Squadron.

Bittner, who is First Sergeant of a station complement squadron, and Dingle happened to meet recently in a town near here and discovered that both were stationed at this heavy bombardment base. Both are natives of Sabillasville where Sergeant Bittner’s father, S. P. Bittner, and Dingle’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin R. Dingle, are good friends.

                                          – Frederick News, March 27, 1944

Fight Mountain Fire Near College

Emmitsburg firemen walked over a half a mile through wooded area early Thursday evening to put out a fire that destroyed over an acre of woods on a mountain about a mile from the Mt. St. Mary’s College campus.

Fire Chief Guy McGlaughlin said the blaze was apparently caused by carelessness. Armed with portable fire fighting equipment several firemen made their way on foot up the steep mountain to the fire scene.

Later, firemen were able get additional men to the fire by means of a truck after they opened a closed road leading to an old qarry.

The fire, Chief McGlaughlin said, was in the same wooded area where they had fought a blaze a few days ago.

                                          – Gettysburg Times, March 21, 1969

New 1969 Ambulance Arrives

The American Legion Ambulance Service, Inc. proudly announces the arrival of its brand new 1969 Cadillac ambulance.

The red and white, four-patient, air-conditioned “vehicle of mercy” replaces the 1963 Cadillac ambulance which has faithfully served the community for the past five years. During the past year, over 150 cases were handled by the drivers and assistants who are all on a voluntary and non-paid basis.

The new ambulance will be housed as its predecessors were, in the American Legion building. The drivers and assistants are all members of the Legion. Membership in this organization is divided in three categories, Regular, Associate, and Social membership.

                                          – Catoctin Enterprise, March 7, 1969

Emmitsburg Fire Company Auxiliary Pledges $100,000 to Capital Program

The Emmitsburg, Md., Vigilant Hose Company kicked off a major capital campaign recently and received its first significant pledge from the VHC Auxiliary, a pledge of $100,000.

The Auxiliary has made its first payment on the pledge when it presented a check for $30,000 to VHC officers at the Company’s annual dinner and awards program recently.

The capital campaign is being conducted to raise $650,000 to help the fire company purchase a 100 foot ladder truck and to build an addition to the fire station on West Main Street in Emmitsburg.

The total cost of the project, according to VHC campaign co-chairmen Gabe Baker and Steve Hollinger, is estimated to be about $990,000.

“This represents the largest investment the Vigilant Host Company has ever made in its 110 years of service to our community,” the noted “And, it’s certainly the largest capital campaign ever conducted in our community.”

                                          – Gettysburg Times, March 2, 1994

Emmitsburg readies Easter Sunrise Service

Christians of all denominations will gather on the mountainside above Mount Saint Mary’s College again this year for the annual Easter Sunrise Service on Sunday, April 3.

The service, sponsored by the Emmitsburg Council of Churches, has drawn more than 1,000 worshippers in good weather, when visitors can stroll among early spring flowers and visit the Italian mosaics of the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross.

The service will begin at 6:30 am and Msgr. Hugh. Phillips, chaplain of the Grotto, will extend greetings, and Rev. Dennis Schulze, pastor of Tom’s Creek Methodist Church, will deliver the sermon.

Music will be provided by the Emmtisburg Community Chorus, directed by Gary Schwartz.

                                          – Gettysburg Times, March 22, 1994

How to Be Kind in an Unkind World

by Anita DiGregory

Last week, after a particularly bad day, I settled in on the couch with my little ones for a much-needed movie night. After scrolling through our choices, we finally decided on an older movie (and one of my favorite family flicks), Evan Almighty, the lesser-known (but in my opinion, better) sequel to Bruce Almighty.(For a parent’s guide to the movie, see:

The movie tells the story of Evan Baxter (Steve Carell), television news anchor turned congressman. Newly elected, Baxter wants to “change the world” for the better, and he has grandiose plans on just how to do it. That is when God (Morgan Freeman) steps in to gently guide Baxter along the proper path of changing the world…a very different way than he had envisioned, with acts of kindness. 

Although released in 2007, the movie, complete with scheming political leaders set on their own personal agenda, biased, opinionated television media, and intolerance, seems quite apropos today. Although the irony was lost on my children, they enjoyed the light-hearted comedy. And, hopefully they picked up on the moral of the story, because, as it turns out, acts of random kindness really can change the world, and this world could use that right now.

In 2016, Sesame Workshop conducted a survey on kindness.  They issued the following statement:  “We chose to shine the spotlight on kindness because we have noticed an increasing number of news stories on anger, fear, bullying, and violence, as well as an overall sense of negativity permeating social discourse. We read research indicating that narcissism is on the rise, empathy is on the decline, and that middle and high school students think their parents prioritize grades and happiness over being kind to others. We also read articles about the importance of empathy and social-emotional skills.”

According to the survey, entitled “K Is for Kind: A National Survey on Kindness and Kids,” over 70 percent of parents and 86 percent of teachers often worry that the world is an unkind place for children. The survey found that both parents and teachers believe people do not go out of their way to help others. Well over 70 percent believe that kindness is essential for future success, stating that it is more important for children to learn and model kindness than for them to be academically successful. 

In fact, scientific studies continue to prove the importance and positive effects of kindness. For example, acts of kindness produce chemicals in the body that are shown to lower blood pressure, stress, depression, and anxiety, while increasing optimism, energy, happiness, and self-esteem. 

According to Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, “About half of participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.” She adds that kindness has been found to lessen the incidence of aches and pains while protecting overall health.

Yet, in a time when news outlets spotlight stories of hatred and social media, and internet news sites are filled with angry, nasty comments, can we even make a difference; how can we “change the world” for the better? Each of us can commit to kindness. Think of what would happen if we chose to perform just three acts of kindness each day.  What if we challenged our spouses and loved ones to do the same?  What if we taught our children to commit to this as well? 

Research has found that kindness is teachable and contagious. Often acts of kindness lead to a “pay it forward” ripple effect. This means that one kind act can lead to dozens within a very short amount of time.

Lizzie Velasquez, author of Dare to Be Kind: How Extraordinary Compassion Can Transform Our World, states, “Kindness starts in the home.” Kindness begins with empathy, the ability to imagine how you would feel in the other person’s place. Parents can choose to teach and model empathy, compassion, gratitude, respect, and kindness to their children. Here is some advice from the experts on how to instill these virtues in your children.

Talk about it. Depending on their age, children may not be able to give a name to an emotion. When watching a show or reading a book with your child, talk about the characters’ feelings. Discuss their facial expressions, behaviors, and actions. Ask your child questions such as “How do you think she feels?” and “What makes you think she feels happy?”

Model Empathy and Kindness.  Children learn more from what they experience than what they are told to do. Strive to not only show them empathy and kindness, but also allow them to see you behaving this way with others.

Be a Coach. Provide your children with opportunities for kindness. Give them ideas for showing compassion and kindness in school and the community. Talk about their experiences and offer them tips and advice on developing those skills. Start a “Kindness Challenge” for your family.

We may not all be congressmen, but we can still do our part to change the world for the better, one random act of kindness at a time.

by Valerie Nusbaum

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, those of us who celebrate the holiday need to be thinking about which shade of green we’ll be wearing on March 17. I usually go with a nice Kelly green, but I might change it up this year.

I had always thought that puce was a shade of green, but I found out that I was wrong. After a little research, I learned that puce is the French word for “flea.” The color puce is actually a drab brownish-reddish shade that is supposed to resemble the stain a flea would make when crushed on linen, or the color of flea droppings. Doesn’t that sound lovely? I won’t be wearing puce on St. Patty’s Day or any other time. Chartreuse, olive, lime, forest, and seafoam greens are all acceptable choices, though. So are sap, moss, and avocado. Did you know that there’s a Hooker’s green?  A lovely ensemble with a Hooker’s blouse and some puce pants might be one way to go, or not. There’s also a shade called clover green, which is a good segue to my next thought.

What is the difference between a shamrock and a clover? I’m glad you asked because this gives me the opportunity to learn something. 

As far as I can tell, a shamrock is a species of clover. There is some confusion as to which species is actually the one that serves as a symbol of Ireland. Shamrocks and most clovers have three leaves on each stem. According to legend, Saint Patrick used the three leaves to illustrate the Christian Holy Trinity.  I think I’m correct in saying that the common clover weed found in most of our lawns is not a shamrock.  However, one can occasionally find a common clover, which has four or more leaves and is considered a symbol of good luck for the finder. However,  this is a totally different thing and it doesn’t pertain to St. Patrick’s Day.

Luck, on the other hand, is associated with the Irish. Why is that? Well, it seems that during the times of the gold and silver rushes of the late 1900s, some of the most famous and prolific miners had come to the United States from Ireland. The term “luck of the Irish” was coined by other miners, and it is said that the term was used in a derogatory way that implied that the only way the Irish miners could strike it rich was through luck because they weren’t smart enough to do it any other way. How rude!  I suppose that’s how the image of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow came about.

Of course, the pot of gold is said to belong to a leprechaun, and in order to possess the gold, one must catch the leprechaun (a tiny old man dressed in a green or red suit). Leprechauns are known tricksters, but supposedly if one is caught, he will grant his captor three wishes if the captor agrees to let him go. Leprechauns are said to enjoy drinking alcohol in large quantities, so homeowners in Ireland tended to keep their cellars locked down. It’s also interesting to point out that some historians believe the term leprechaun originated from “leath brogan,” an Irish term meaning shoemaker, which could account for those snazzy buckles we see on the shoes of most leprechauns.

Speaking of shamrocks, which I did earlier, it’s been a tradition of mine for many years to have lunch at The Shamrock restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m usually a person who’s bothered by crowds and noise, but not on March 17. I also don’t drink beer—green or otherwise—so it might seem strange that I enjoy this holiday so much, but I do. I love corned beef and cabbage, and a good Reuben sandwich (minus the Russian or Thousand Island dressing) is something I’d never turn down. People dress up in their green and wear goofy hats and accessories at the restaurant; the Celtic music is playing and the atmosphere is one of fun and good humor. It started out with me taking my mom out to lunch, then our cousin Pat joined us, and then we decided to include Randy and Pat’s husband Keith. It’s become a tradition to have lunch at The Shamrock and come back to our house for dessert. I even enjoy coming up with green treats and Irish-themed sweets.

I think I’ve told you before that my mom makes shamrock-shaped green pancakes for the holiday.  She started that tradition when my brother and I were children and she continues it to this day, unless I make the pancakes before she gets a chance to do it.

Randy’s family, being of German descent, didn’t usually join in the festivities, but I’ve managed to convince Randy that he’s a little bit Irish, if only for one day. Plus, he never turns down a good meal, a celebration, or a chance to wear a silly hat.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those of you who will be celebrating with us, and happy spring to all!

by Christine Maccabee

To De-Ice or Not to De-Ice, That Is the Question

I was a bit shocked, but not really surprised, when I read of the harm that is being done to the environment by the salt we throw on our sidewalks, steps, parking lots, and roads. After the Second World War, when the economy began to boom and more cars were manufactured—and, of course, more roads were built—the salt industry began to expand as well. Keeping people safe was the premise, but the environmental consequences became increasingly dire, and over many decades of use, has led to consequences most people did not see coming.

Until I began digging into some facts and figures on the subject, I worried a bit as to how the streams and rivers—the watershed, generally—was able to handle large influxes of salt during icy, snowy winters such as the one we have been experiencing this year. Increasingly over the years, I have used less and less salt on my walkways and porch due to this suspicion, and now I have some facts to support my concern that I thought I would share with you.

According to a 1991 study made by the Forestry Commission in the UK, 700,000 trees were killed annually in Western Europe by salt. Studies made by our U.S. Geological Survey has estimated 19 million tons of salt are used annually on our roads and other impervious surfaces each year. The increased use of salt since the 1950s has created long-term salination in 44 percent of 284 freshwater lakes in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. According to this study, lake ecosystems, human drinking water, fisheries, and certain aquatic lifeforms require pure, fresh, water. Our fresh water is increasingly being attacked on all sides by other pollution sources, such as overflow of coal and animal holding ponds, herbicide and pesticide run-off from farms and lawns, oil spills, other chemical spills, etc.

A pretty gloomy picture, eh?  Well, there are solutions, at least to the salt problem, and everyone can help out, if willing, especially caring homeowners and store owners and town and county officials. This winter, I have noticed a different approach to my road up here in the mountains, where the salt is applied in stripes, not thrown out loose. This may help. Also, there is salt with an additive called “deicer,” which is a combination of beet juice, alfalfa meal, or calcium magnesium acetate. However, it is still  recommended to use it sparingly.

One suggestion by National Wildlife is to shovel or sweep sidewalks early and often. I know I do, and it works quite well as melting can then occur more quickly, and sometimes even drying, all without the use of salt. Guess you might say I am on a low-salt diet!

When there is truly dangerous ice, however, I will sprinkle a bit of salt only on the area of the steps I plan to walk on. Otherwise, I am just careful, and sometimes I just rough it without any salt. I suppose roughing it, however, is not very popular anymore in this age of convenience, yet there are likely less broken bones and sprains.

Living lightly and with less is always best, as many of us are learning. As Hilary Dugan, a freshwater scientist from the University of Wisconsin said, “Chloride is an environmental problem that we could solve by purely stopping putting so much of it into our environment.” Most of us know that globally fresh water is increasingly less available as human populations increase, and this is becoming more and more of a problem every year.

So, the next time you begin to overdose with salt on your sidewalk or driveway, stop and think about where all that salt will ultimately go as it flows into our storm drains and further into our streams, rivers, and lakes.

If not this year, then next…stop and remember. Our precious Earth thanks you!

Trolley Beheads Woman

by James Rada, Jr.

The Hagerstown and Frederick Railway trolley car ran north along the Thurmont line out of Frederick on the morning of October 16, 1917. The car left Frederick City heading to Montevue and Yellow Springs and onto a crossing at Charlesville. When it reached Thurmont, it would head back on its U-shaped route to Shady Grove on the MD/PA line.

“When the car was hardly half its length away, Mrs. Wastler sprang from the bushes by flinging herself straight out from her position, and placing her head on the rail,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

Motorman Luther Horine braked the passenger car, but he wasn’t quick enough. He wasn’t supposed to be.

The trolley ran over the woman.

Once it finally rolled to a stop, Horine and Conductor Albert Kefauver jumped to the ground to try and help the woman. It was quickly obvious that she was dead. The trolley had beheaded her. “The upper part of the skull, minus the hair, was found a short distance from the body. A large portion of the brains was found at another spot,” the Clarion reported.

Someone notified Sheriff William C. Roderick and the coroner.

Traffic on the Thurmont Line stopped as the sheriff sought answers. He soon identified the woman as sixty-three-year-old Sarah Wastler from Yellow Springs. She had waited alongside the track for the trolley to arrive to commit suicide.

The authorities notified her husband, David E. Wastler of Yellow Springs. David said his wife had a mental illness. Not only had she tried to commit suicide previously, she had also threatened to kill him and some of their eight children.

David had sworn out a warrant against his wife a few years earlier, saying Sarah was abusive and a public nuisance. He told the judge “she had threatened to kill the members of her family if not allowed to spend the money of her husband in riding upon the cars and enjoying herself in Frederick,” according to the Frederick Post.

David said his wife had abused the customers in his shoemaking shop and scared them away. “He said conditions had become so bad in the last year and that ofttimes he would sleep in his shop rather than go home and be tormented by his wife,” according to the Frederick Post.

Because of her “insane” actions, he could not hire someone to watch her while he was at work.

David told one story of how he had purchased lard to be used for cooking. However, Sarah took half of it just to waste and use for something other than cooking, so he locked up the other half because it was needed for cooking. Sarah took an axe and broke into the locked room just to take the rest of the lard and also waste it. Another time, she wasted their firewood, meant to get them through the winter, by building a large bonfire.

Then David said Sarah threatened to kill their son, Lee, and went after him with a knife. Lee was able to get the knife away from her, though, so he hadn’t been injured. Lee told the judge that “his mother had thrown knives and forks at him and that she was continually saying she was going to have him sent to the House of Correction.”

Justice Anders corroborated this and added that Lee was a good kid who did not belong there.

Other witnesses testified that Sarah would scream so loudly that it could be heard a quarter mile away, and she was always trying to have warrants served on different people.

Sarah is buried in the Faith United Church of Christ Cemetery in Charlesville. Even after death, she left one last headache for her husband. Sarah apparently ran up a large number of bills, buying things she didn’t need. David only found out about this after her death because he ran notices in the Frederick Post that he wouldn’t be held responsible for bills Sarah incurred unbeknownst to him.

The Hagerstown and Frederick Trolley traveling through the countryside on its way to Thurmont.

Cook Like a Man

by Buck Reed

I heard a story of a woman who started her career at sixteen at a popular chain restaurant, and after working her way up the ladder, was passed over for CEO. Not to be beaten, her next move was to seek out and obtain the head position in a rival company. Then she went on to buy out the first chain restaurant, just like boys do it. Women have come a long way, from housewife to CEOs, professional sports, and most every profession that was reserved for the men. I saw a girl driving a fork lift today and it didn’t even faze me. So, if the women abandoned the kitchen, why is it a surprise that men have taken it over? For the purpose of this article and admittedly my complete lack of knowledge of such things, let’s just work with the basics of the stereotypes. I will not be able to cite studies and I don’t have time to get a degree in Gender Studies. My apologies ahead of time.

Men do not ask for directions. Now, this might make you late for your appointment, but this trait actually makes men very good cooks. They do not need recipes to produce delicious meals on the fly. Give a man a limited number of ingredients and you might be surprised at the clever way he is able to produce something to eat.

Men like to figure things out. From the engine of a ’69 Nova to the latest fishing reel, men enjoy taking things apart and figuring out how they work. The male of our species has a solid need to understand how and why things work. So, in cooking, instead of memorizing recipes, men try to understand the ingredients and mastering the methods needed to prepare them.

Men want women to be proud of what they have done. Why do you think young men ride their bikes off cliffs or jump skateboards over oil fires? To get girls to notice them. Kinda makes the whole motorcycle thing make sense now, doesn’t it? Men are willing to produce a perfect souffle or roast a pig if he can get the approval of that one woman or as many women as possible, depending on the man. Heck, if mastodons still roamed the plains, menfolk would not only be hunting them down, but also cooking them whole and serving it to their 800 friends with the perfect sampling of their signature sauce.

Where women cook out of a sense of love for whoever they are cooking for, men feel it is a task that must be mastered and want to be admired for it. It is why we do not stop at meat loaf but go on to working out pate en croute. We men now want to not only cook the bacon, but also cure it and smoke it ourselves. For better or for worse, if you have a man learning to cook, you are just going to have to get used to tasting the same sauce over and over again.

Bernard “Bernie” Fink, Sr.

Moonshine to Ship Shine

by Priscilla Rall

One of the few remaining WWII Veterans from Thurmont is Bernard “Bernie” Fink, Sr.

Bernie was born in 1923, one of the six children of Margaret Elizabeth and Clarence Fink. Clarence was a tinner who owned a plumbing and heating business. As the oldest son, Bernie often accompanied his father onto Catoctin Mountain to make or repair moonshine stills. Bernie remembers soldering the coils of the stills and recalls the local youngsters washing bottles to be reused for the ‘shine. He has tried “mint gin” and found the dark green drink very palatable.

Growing up during the Great Depression, Bernie saw many hobos “riding the rails,” who would stop by his home where his mother had dishes ready to feed them a meal, often in exchange for repairing umbrellas or sharpening knives. Like many others, the family lost all of their savings with the collapse of the Central Trust Bank, and Bernie lost the $36.00 he had earned delivering newspapers.

At age seventeen, Bernie left school to take over the family business, as his father’s health deteriorated. His “Pap” was a hard taskmaster, no after-school sports for his children. The children had to come home after school to do chores.

In the first years of WWII, Bernie had a deferment because the family business was in charge of the Thurmont Water Works, but he eventually joined the Navy in June 1943. After basic training at Bainbridge, he went to Little Creek, Virginia, for amphibious training.

After training, he was ordered to Pier 92 in New York, where he joined the crew of the LCT 1012 (Landing Craft Tanks) that was loaded on LST 1048 (Landing Craft Troops). It left port with a convoy of ninety-six ships to North Africa. After twenty-nine days, the convoy landed in Bizerte, Tunisia. LCT 1012 was then loaded with five tanks and troops for the invasion of Southern France on August 15. As Bernie’s LCT reached the shores of France, two of the five LCTs hit enemy mines, which “blew everything to pieces.” The action was fast and furious as German shells came in overhead from artillery hidden in the hills above the beaches.

Bernie wondered “Lord, am I going to get out of this?” as he manned the vessel’s only .22-mm gun. His only order was to “point the gun and fire.” It took an excruciating thirty minutes to unload the tanks and men before the LCT was finally able to get off that deadly beach and out of range of the deadly shelling.

Next, the ship went to Marseilles and Naples, where the sailors went on leave. They travelled to Sicily, where Bernie transferred to a ship bound for the states. There, 2nd Class Coxswain Fink boarded the AKA 97, a troop ship that carried a crew of 200 and 1,000 troops. He was in charge of the galley.

Before he headed out to the Pacific, his sweetheart, Mary Ellen Saylor from Motters Station, met him at Newport News, Virginia, and they married on May 10, 1945.

Bernie shipped out on May 11, going through the Panama Canal and then on to Pearl Harbor, where they were greeted with the news that the war was finally over! Bernie spent the next four months ferrying troops from Guam, Saipan, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima to Pearl Harbor for the final leg of the journey home. Bernie remembers being shocked to see Marines accompanied by their war dogs. The crew was never able to leave the ship when it docked, as the government wanted the troops home ASAP.

While Bernie was in the Mediterranean, his mother had a stroke that he only learned of when he returned home in December 1945. Later, when his father died, Bernie bought the plumbing and heating business and continued it until his eyesight deteriorated, forcing him to sell.

Bernie and Mary Ellen raised their four children in the house his father built on the corner of Frederick Road and Howard Street in Thurmont, which was called Late’s Alley after the butcher shop located on the alley next to the old stone jailhouse.

It was an honor to interview Bernie for the Frederick County Veterans History Project and record his service to our community and country.

Bernard “Bernie” Fink, Sr.

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

What Is Ischemia?

Ischemia is a condition in which the blood flow (and, thus, oxygen) is restricted or reduced in a part of the body. Cardiac ischemia is the name for decreased blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle. Ischemia often causes chest pain or discomfort known as angina pectoris.

What Is Ischemic Heart Disease?

Ischemic heart disease is the term given to heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries. When arteries are narrowed, less blood and oxygen reaches the heart muscle. This is also called coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease. This can ultimately lead to heart attack.

What Is Silent Ischemia?

Many Americans may have ischemic episodes without knowing it. These people have ischemia without pain—silent ischemia. They may have a heart attack with no warning. People with angina also may have undiagnosed episodes of silent ischemia. In addition, people who have had previous heart attacks or those with diabetes are especially at risk for developing silent ischemia.

Having an exercise stress test or wearing a Holter monitor—a battery-operated portable tape recording that measures and records your electrocardiogram (ECG) continuously, usually for 24-48 hours—are two tests often used to diagnose this problem.

What Should Women Know?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. Women who have symptoms of ischemic heart disease are less likely than men to have obstructive coronary artery disease. However, they may be at greater risk for coronary microvascular disease and for serious complications of coronary artery disease, including blood clots in the heart’s arteries.

Why Does Ischemic Heart Disease Affect Women Differently?

Ischemic heart disease is different for women than men because of hormonal and anatomical differences. Before menopause, the hormone estrogen provides women with some protection against ischemic heart disease. Estrogen raises “good” HDL cholesterol and helps keep the arteries flexible, so they can widen to deliver more oxygen to the tissues of the heart in response to chemical and electrical signals. After menopause, estrogen levels drop, increasing a woman’s risk for ischemic heart disease.

What Conditions Affect Risk Differently for Women?

Eighty percent of women, ages forty to sixty, have one or more risk factors for ischemic heart disease. Having multiple risk factors significantly increases a woman’s chance of developing ischemic heart disease, and they are more likely than men to have medical conditions or life issues that raise their risk for ischemic heart disease. Some of these conditions are: anemia, especially during pregnancy; the use of hormonal birth control; endometriosis; high blood pressure after age sixty-five; inflammatory and autoimmune diseases; and lack of physical activity. Mental health issues, such as stress, marital stress, anxiety disorders, depression, or low social support; overweight and obesity; problems during pregnancy, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia and eclampsia; diabetes; low levels of HDL cholesterol; and smoking are also risk factors.

Can Symptoms Differ for Women?

Although men and women can experience the same symptoms of ischemic heart disease, women often experience no symptoms or do not have the same symptoms men do.

Activity that brings on chest pain is different in men and women. In men, angina tends to worsen with physical activity and go away with rest. Women are more likely to have angina while they are resting or sleeping. In women who have coronary microvascular disease, angina often happens during routine daily activities, such as shopping or cooking, rather than during exercise.

In addition, with location and type of pain, women are more likely to describe their chest pain as crushing, or they say it feels like pressure, squeezing, or tightness. Men say their pain is aching or dull. Women more often say they have pain in the neck and throat. Men usually describe pain in the chest.

Other common signs and symptoms for women include nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and lack of energy.

The severity of symptoms can also vary. They may get worse as the buildup of plaque continues to narrow the coronary arteries. Chest pain or discomfort that does not go away, occurs more often, or while you are resting may be a sign of a heart attack. If you have “silent” ischemic heart disease, you may not experience any symptoms until you have complications, such as acute coronary events, including a heart attack. Women are also more likely than men to have no symptoms of ischemic heart disease.

What are the Signs, Symptoms, and Complications for men and women?

Signs, symptoms, and complications will vary based on the type of ischemic heart disease you have. An acute coronary event, such as a heart attack, may cause symptoms such as angina, which can feel like pressure, squeezing, burning, or tightness during physical activity and usually starts behind the breastbone, but it can also occur in the arms, shoulders, jaw, throat, or back. Other symptoms are cold sweats, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea or a feeling of indigestion, neck pain, shortness of breath, sleep disturbances, and weakness. Chronic ischemic heart disease can cause signs and symptoms such as angina, anxiety or nervousness, fatigue, and neck pain.

Can Ischemic Heart Disease Cause Serious Complications?

Some complications may be acute coronary syndrome (including angina or heart attack), arrhythmia, cardiogenic shock, heart failure, stroke and sudden cardiac arrest.

What Do Women Need to Know About Diagnosis and Treatment?

Doctors are less likely to refer women for diagnostic tests for ischemic heart disease. When women go to the hospital for heart symptoms, they are more likely than men to experience delays receiving an initial EKG, are less likely to receive care from a heart specialist during hospitalization, and are less likely to receive certain types of therapy and medicines. Younger women are more likely to be misdiagnosed and sent home from the emergency department after cardiac events that occur from undiagnosed and untreated vascular heart disease.

If you struggle with health issues and would like a free screening, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. Free seminars are also offered and are held at the office on rotating Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at

By James Rada, Jr.

February 1919, 100 Years Ago

Homecoming Association Organized

In order to form some definite plan for welcoming home the boys who enlisted or were drafted into military service by Uncle Sam and who have seen service overseas or been in camps in this country, a call was made last week for representatives from all the churches, lodges and other organizations in Mechanicstown District to meet in the Club Room, Thurmont Bank Building, Tuesday evening of this week.

In response to the request 35 person assembled. Rev. E. O. Pritchett called the meeting to order, after some discussion it was determined to make a permanent organization to formulate plans for the home-coming celebration.

Maj. Geo. T. Castle, a veteran of the Civil War, was nominated and unanimously chosen president of the association. Mr. L. Birely and Rev. E. O. Pritchett were elected vice-presidents; H. D. Beachley, Secretary; J. Roscoe Mackley assistant secretary, and Rev. C. E. Wolfe Treasurer.

The official title of the organization is “The Thurmont Home-Coming Association.”

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, February 6, 1919

Fire At Graceham

Last Saturday at about 6:30 p.m., the cry of fire was heard on the streets of Graceham, and in a few minutes, the barn of Mr. George Fox was in a blaze. Mr. Fox had just gone to the village store. He rushed to the barn just in time to save the two horses that were already surrounded by fire. It was too late to rescue two pigs, and the buggy was badly damaged by the fire when it was pulled out. The fire extinguisher, kept in the barn of Adam Zentz, was rushed to the scene, but it was too late to save the barn so a stream was turned on the summer house at the home of Mrs. Agnes Colliflower and Miss Ella Weller, as also upon the woodshed. These buildings were only about 20 feet from the fire and were covered with shingle roofs. It was due to the fact that the wind was blowing from the north and also to the heroic efforts of the men of the village who kept pouring water upon these buildings that the same were saved as they caught fire several times but the blaze was at once put out. If the fire had gone to these buildings it would have been impossible to save the home.

The origin of the fire will no doubt remain a mystery. There was only $75.00 insurance on the barn. A good many tools were destroyed which Mr. Fox had stored in the barn for the erection of a blacksmith shop. He also suffered the loss of grain and fodder in the barn and a stack of hay on the outside.

                                          – Catoctin Clarion, February 13, 1919

February 1944, 75 Years Ago

Thurmont District Over the Top In War Bond Sales

A total of $53,050 in War Bonds has been purchased in Thurmont during this Fourth War Loan Drive, according to a report given out Wednesday by Thomas E. Steffey, cashier of the Thurmont Bank.

Of the total amount, $20,700 worth were sold by nineteen members of the senior class of Thurmont High School. These seniors solicited sales throughout the town and the splendid result shows the fine patriotic spirit which prompted them in serving their country.

                                          – Catoctin Enterprise, February 11, 1944

Received Pumper From OCD

A pumper was received from the Office of Civilian Defense last week and has been tested by the firemen with very satisfactory results. The pumper, which pumps 500 gallons per minute, is mounted on a trailer and will be attached to a truck which the firemen have purchased for that purpose. It can be used any time it is needed, OCD Headquarters announced and not alone in the event of an enemy attack.

The firemen now have first aid kits, lanterns, helmets, gas masks, 400 feet of 2 ½-inch hose, a 34-foot extension ladder and various other necessary items. A number of other items are yet to come from the OCD.

                                          – Catoctin Enterprise, February 11, 1944

February 1969, 50 Years Ago

Commissioners Refuse Funds For Renovations

Gloom has fallen here. The County Commissioners have refused to grant the funds for the renovation of the high school which will soon be vacated by the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades when they move to Catoctin High.

Heralded by the Board of Education as “necessary physical structure in the concept of modern education,” the new middle school would have housed 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. The original plans for the project were presented to the commission November 29, 1967. At that time they gave approval for architect’s fees of $6,000 to plan and execute renovation which was estimated to cost $100,000. Since that time, the estimated cost of renovation has ballooned to $850,840, according to a recent estimate. The Commissioners said that since Catoctin High School, which will house students from both Thurmont and Emmitsburg, is due to open February 10, they felt steps to create a middle school should wait.

                                          – Catoctin Enterprise, February 7, 1969.

Miss Heatherly Is “Homemaker Of Tomorrow”

Charlotte Heatherly has been named 1969 Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow for Thurmont High School because she achieved the highest score in a homemaking knowledge and attitude test which she took along with other senior class girls in her school December 3, it has been announced. She will be awarded a special Betty Crocker silver charm.

Also, her paper has been entered with those of other school winners in the state in competition for the title, State Homemaker of Tomorrow. The winner of this honor will be granted a $1,500 scholarship from General Mills, Inc., sponsor of the annual program and her school will be awarded a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica by Encylopedia Britannica, Inc. The state runners up will be granted $500 scholarships.

                                          – Catoctin Enterprise, February 14, 1969

by Anita DiGregory

“The Mommy Survival Guide for the Month of February”

Okay, so it is no secret that February is definitely not my favorite month of the year. It’s dark and cold; generally the pretty white snowfalls of December and January have accumulated into giant muddy, slushy heaps. The cars, roadways, and walkways are covered in black sludge and salt that always seems to find its way into the house. 

Of course, let’s not forget that little scruffy weather prognosticator (otherwise known as Punxsutawney Phil), the chunky rodent, who always seems to delight in announcing many more wonderful weeks of winter. 

And then there’s the big Valentine’s Day plopped smack dab in the middle of the month…the time when (depending on the age of your kids) you get to add more to the to-do list, fun things like (1) go searching for the perfect little (cool but cute) cards to be handed out, and, undoubtedly, (2) stay up all night signing them all, and then, (3) prepare the perfect snack for the big party. Ah, yes, Valentine’s Day, the day the little ones get to feast on cupcakes, candy, and sugar, only to be stuck inside with all that energy because it is just too cold to go out. 

Ah, February, it’s the month that sticks in an extra “r” and sometimes even an extra day, just to throw us all off. And here is the big question; why is it that February is the shortest month on the calendar but actually feels like it goes on forever and ever and ever with no end in sight?

So, what do we do when it’s not quite apocalyptic outside, but we are going more than just a little stir crazy inside? Here’s some tips from the experts.

Get Out. Often the weather makes it difficult, but when possible try to get out of the house at least for a little while each day.  Take the kids to the library.  Go on a fieldtrip to a museum.  Meet some friends.  Go bowling.  See a movie.  Go ice-skating.  Visit a family member.

Get Moving. The physical and emotional benefits of exercise are innumerable and unquestionable.  Exercise increases energy levels and boosts mood enhancing chemicals in the body. When possible, try walking outside in the sun. But when the weather makes it impossible to get out for a brisk walk or even to get to the gym, try a workout at home.  These days there are so many options from which to choose. From DVDs to apps to live streaming, the choices are endless. Many choices offer workouts for all levels, from beginner to advanced. For example, instructor Leslie Sansone offers walking workouts that the whole family can do at home. 

Let the Light Shine In. Getting out during the day when the sun is brightest is helpful. Doctors do, however, recommend wearing sunscreen even during the winter.  When inside, keep the blinds open to let in the sunlight.

Talk to Your Doctor. If winter months are especially tough for you, try talking about different health options with your physician. Some options doctors may recommend are light therapy, vitamin D supplements, or even aromatherapy.

Get Rid of the Clutter. Research has found that clutter has a negative effect on our mood and, in fact, causes stress and anxiety. Try taking 20 minutes each day to declutter, or work on a certain area in your home each day.

Keep a Journal. Evidence suggests that keeping a journal can have health benefits. Additionally, reflecting on and adding three things each day for which you are grateful has proven beneficial to our mental health.

Plan a Vacation. Studies have shown that vacations reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health, increase productivity and creativity, and facilitate better sleep. But, surprisingly, the health benefits are not just limited to the get-away, but actually begin with the planning.  Studies show that just looking forward to a trip has many physical and mental health benefits.

Help Someone. Did you know that doing good is actually good for you? Go ahead and look it up. Study after study, scientists find that the positive effects of helping others is undeniable. Benefits include reducing stress and anxiety, boosting the immune system, increasing longevity, reducing chronic pain, providing a sense of purpose and satisfaction, and decreasing depression. Surprisingly, these benefits have a long-lasting effect, continuing long after the helpful actions are completed.

Talk to Someone. Winter can make us feel even more isolated. It is especially important during these times to reach out to a friend or family member. Just talking with someone can help reduce stress and make us feel less alone.

Don’t Ignore Your Spiritual Life. Statistics show that more than 55 percent of Americans pray every day. Many people attest to the importance of prayer in their personal lives. Recent studies have found that prayer, meditation, and reflection do have many health benefits such as decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression.

Whatever you do to get through the bleak days of winter, please always know (1) the sun will come out again; (2) in this whole crazy universe, there is only one you and you are pretty amazing; and (3) you are loved!

So, hang in there; brighter days are just around the corner.

Ode to February

by Valerie Nusbaum

February is the shortest month of the year, but it’s a special month because every four years a February 29th comes along.  Our second calendar month is home to Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day.  February is also the most likely month to play host to a blizzard.

For me, though, February is a major work time. It’s generally the time when I start spring cleaning. I clean out closets and drawers. I donate items we don’t use or need, and I throw away things that aren’t worth donating. Almost nothing makes me feel as good as organizing and straightening cabinets, closets, and drawers. 

I also spend a lot of time in my studio in February. It’s great to be able to look out the window at the bleak landscape while I paint something colorful and bright. I also do a lot of thinking as I stare out the window, and sometimes I’m reminded of things my family would rather I forget……

One day Randy mentioned that he was craving Mexican food. I may not always let on that I’m listening while he ruminates, but I do hear him; so I thought I’d surprise him with some homemade enchiladas, rice and beans for dinner the next day. I chopped and cooked, grated cheese, and set out chips and salsa for my hungry hubby when he came home after a hard day at the office.  He seemed to enjoy the meal and thanked me profusely. Then he leaned back in his chair and said, “I’m going to sit here and think about what I might be craving for tomorrow night.”

I looked over and said, “Let me help you out with that. Tomorrow night, you’ll be craving leftovers.”

Then there was the time my mother was visiting. It wasn’t a planned visit. Mom had spent the night in the hospital, and I insisted that she come home with us for a few days to rest and recover. She didn’t have any toiletries or makeup with her, so I offered her the use of anything I had on hand. She said she could make do with her own lipstick and asked if she could borrow an eyebrow pencil. I was busy doing laundry or some such, so I told her where to look and to help herself.

When I went back upstairs, Mom was in the bathroom and she called me in. She asked me how her eyebrows looked, and I tried not to laugh. Honestly, I did.

“They look fine except for one little thing,” I said. “You do know that they’re blue, don’t you?” Mom had grabbed a blue eyeliner pencil instead of the one she wanted, and she evidently couldn’t see well in the bathroom light.

I’ve gotten off track here. We were discussing all the things there are to do in February. Don’t forget Mardi Gras. Yes, we’re a long way from New Orleans, but a lot of people I know join in the celebration.  Some of them even lift their shirts and beg for beads. Granted, that’s not a great thing to do in the grocery store, but I’ve seen it happen.

Speaking of grocery stores, February is the month when we can all get our Kinkling Day fix.  My mother-in-law used to do “donut day” in February, where she made and fried lots and lots of donuts and then covered them and herself in powdered sugar.  Randy told me that he loved walking through her kitchen door and sitting down to a platter of warm donuts.

Don’t forget about the Super Bowl, which (I think) is played on the first Sunday in February. Lots of people enjoy watching the game, and even more enjoy the snacks, drinks, and food included in a proper Super Bowl viewing—big pots of chili, chips and dips, hot dogs, hoagies, and beer, beer, beer. Randy and I are Baltimore Ravens fans, and while our team made it to the playoffs this year, they lost the wild card game.  We’ll still watch the Super Bowl and I’ll make the food, but it won’t be the same for us without a horse in the race. We’ll rate the commercials like everyone else. In an aside, I’d like to point out to the Ravens owners that absolutely no one looks good in purple. I’m just saying.

If Randy gets a Super Bowl party, I get an Oscars party. Since Randy is in charge of the food for this one, I might be served a pizza, but I love pizza, so that’s okay. I don’t usually watch the awards show, but I do enjoy seeing some of the red carpet antics. Celebrities crack me up with all their preening and the fact that most of them can’t string together enough intelligent words to form a sentence. Randy always says that he can’t understand how a star can have writers and minions at his disposal, and still can’t give an acceptance speech that makes sense. He also tells me every single year that it’s very apparent that Hollywood believes it invented the bosom.

My point here is that there’s a lot to do in a very short time in February. Whatever YOU do, I hope you’re warm, safe and well-fed.

by Christine Maccabee 

Nature’s Valentine

Years ago, I began exploring design in nature and pressing many flowers, mostly dissecting them for their basic components of petals, stamen, pistil, and sepal. Once pressed, I used them to create designs—mandalas mostly—framing them and sometimes selling. I also pressed leaves of many shapes. Basically, I was exploring the infinite diversity of shape and form in nature, a rather mind-boggling adventure to be sure!

As I continued to explore, I discovered a petal design, which most serious gardeners know; I was thrilled to see rose petals with heart shapes! Even the multiflora rose, an invasive brought over from the British Isles, has wonderfully shaped hearts. So, I began seriously collecting and pressing hearts from them, and many other rose bushes, to incorporate in my mandalas. I also discovered little bird shapes in locust and red bud flowers, as well as the white and yellow sweet clovers, which grow here on my property. These, I sometimes added to my meadow scenes. It was my heartfelt craft.

Recently, while reading Dr. Rachel Remen’s book about healing, I learned that the rose “is one of the oldest archetypical symbols for the heart…appearing in many Christian and Hindu traditions and in many fairy tales.” Learning  this greatly inspired me, so for Valentine’s Day I am sharing with you some of her deeper understandings, for who does not love hearts? As children, many of us enjoyed creating special hearts for others out of red and pink paper, sometimes decorating them creatively with glitter and frills around the edges. Some people may still do this with heartfelt love. I find this affinity for hearts and roses very intriguing and deeply symbolic, not sappy.

Dr. Remen, besides being a compassionate, spiritual therapist for people in their last days of cancer, has also had an illness of her own that she has lived with all of her life: Crohn’s disease. In her short essays, she sprinkles stories of  her own suffering in small doses, but mostly focuses on the stories of others. One of her clients, being treated for ovarian cancer, said that she had no heart, and that her amazing success in business was a direct result of her ruthlessness. As her client’s therapy continued, she began to speak of her traumatic time as a young child during the Vietnam War and how she saw her family ruthlessly killed. She became homeless, was brutalized herself, even killed others to survive, leaving her filled with hate. She proclaimed herself to be a bad person—selfish and unloving—with nothing but darkness in herself, and she was despairing because of this.

Just as she thought she might die in despair from her cancer and the lack of love in her heart, with no resolution, she had a dream about a beautiful rose, its color an exquisite shade of pink. Weeping, she said “It is still there. All this time it is still there. It has waited for me to come back for it.”

This was a part of herself she had kept safe, hidden even from herself, said Dr. Remen. Perhaps, this was even a rose in the garden she remembers from her life before the war blew it apart. The rose was symbolic of a part of her that had never been touched, pure and unscathed by terror.

All of us have that rose with heart-shaped petals in our lives, in our gardens or in our own hearts. The Earth itself is filled with wonderful healing flowers and is, in fact, the heart of our hearts. Without Earth’s purity, we will die from fear, distress, and abuse; and we will take the Earth with us, unless we recover our hearts.

 Personally, I have had a love affair with the natural world since I was a little girl and feel profoundly blessed to have survived my trials and not lost heart.

So, if you are cynical about the heart shape that appears everywhere on Valentine’s Day, maybe this year try looking at it differently, perhaps even picking up a rose and discovering its heart shaped petals.                         

                                        Pressed Flora Mandala with rose petals.

by James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont’s Part in the 50th Gettysburg Reunion

Three hundred cavalrymen rode through Thurmont on June 25, 1913. They arrived on Western Maryland Railroad from Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia. They unloaded their mounts from the train and rode through the town on Wednesday morning.

They were part of the second invasion of Gettysburg.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, Civil War Veterans were aging into their sixties and seventies when the average lifespan of an American was around forty-seven years.

Acting on an idea from Henry Shippen Huidekoper, who had been wounded during the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Governor Edwin Stuart urged the state legislature to remember the Veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg during the 50th anniversary.

Gettysburg had hosted battlefield reunions before, but they were relatively small events. For this milestone reunion, people envisioned an immense event with an abundance of people in town and the surrounding countryside as hadn’t been seen since the battle itself.

State legislatures responded positively and appointed representatives to participate in the planning. They would serve as liaisons between their states and the Pennsylvania Battle of Gettysburg Commission.

Seeing the nationwide interest in the event, the U.S. Congress appointed a committee of three U.S. senators and three congressmen to assist the Pennsylvania Commission in June 1910.

Much of the federal assistance came in the form of U.S. Army personnel to plan how to run the camp and army equipment. The cavalrymen from Fort Myer were part of the federal support of the Gettysburg reunion. Capt. Dean, adjutant of the troop, and Lt. Surles, quartermaster, were the first to arrive in Thurmont. They made the arrangements with Col. John R. Rouzer to occupy Camp Field along Hunting Creek.

The men were members of the 15th U.S. Cavalry with Troops A, B, C, and D under the command of Maj. Charles D. Rhodes. Then the food and horses arrived.

“Nearly a carload of feed was shipped to Thurmont over the Western Maryland railroad for the use of the horses and about half a ton of meat and provisions for the men while in camp here,” the Catoctin Clarion reported.

The cavalrymen stayed one night before reboarding the train and heading to Gettysburg the next day.

The reunion lasted for a week, with nearly 57,000 Veterans returning to Gettysburg. They stayed in a temporary military camp the army erected. Although the Veterans were grouped by their states, they mixed during the day as they walked miles each day covering the battlefield where they had once fought.

During the reunion, monuments were dedicated, the cyclorama opened for the first time, and a silent film about the battle premiered. Senators, congressmen, governors, and the president attended as special guests.

A group of Civil War Veterans from Thurmont also attended the reunion. The men from the Jason Damuth Post No. 89 of the G. A. R. left town on July 1 to be part of the reunion. They were Rev. W. L. Martin, John Tomes, William Jones, Jacob Freeze, Jeremiah Dutrow, Charles Carrens, W. T. Miller, George Elower, C. I. Creager, Charlton Fogle, William Freeze, Maj. George A. Castle, and George W. Miller.

The Gettysburg reunion was the largest reunion of Civil War Veterans ever held.

Confederate survivors of Pickett’s Charge re-enact the charge at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Survivors of Pickett’s Charge shake hands across the wall where they fought so desperately fifty years earlier.

A Union and Confederate veteran goof around showing they can still fight at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Veteran encampment at Gettysburg housed around 57,000 Veterans at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.