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American Legion Post 168, Thurmont

April showers bring May flowers! I just hope it didn’t drown them all!

Speaking of flowers, May is Poppy month. The last Friday of May is National Poppy Day! Wear a red poppy to honor the fallen and support the living who have worn our nation’s uniform. Don’t have a Poppy to wear? Stop by the Legion or the following Thurmont businesses will have Poppy’s available: Main Street Thurmont, Marie’s Beauty Salon, Kountry Kitchen, Criswell Chevrolet and Criswell Chrysler, Bollinger’s Restaurant, Gateway Candyland, and the last two weeks of May at Scenic View Orchards. We are hoping to add some more businesses, so if you see a Poppy Can and a basket of Poppies, please help yourself. We do not charge for them; we just ask for a donation that goes to our Veterans.

May is also the time to celebrate Mother’s (May 12) and National Military Appreciation Month with the last Monday (May 27) of the month celebrating Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a holiday that commemorates men and women who died while in Military service to the United States. It also is a signal that summer is on the way and barbeque season is opening. What better way is there to celebrate our brave heroes, who have died serving our Country, than dusting off the barbeque, gathering family and friends, and celebrating with a wonderful barbeque platter and all of the trimmings.

Although we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May, May 30 will be the Memorial Day program at the Thurmont Memorial Park, starting at 6:30 p.m. Please join us for this moving event.

The Easter Egg Hunt on March 30 was a huge success. We know it is a year away,  but hopefully, you will mark your calendar for next year!

Attention Auxiliary Junior Members: Dues for 2025 (starting July 1, 2024) will be increasing to $12.00.

We have a lot of events coming up soon, so stay up to date with our Facebook page: The American Legion Post 168.

The Americanism Essay winners read their essays and were given their certificates and monetary prizes by Americanism Chair Alice Eyler. The topic of the essay was “What Does Freedom Mean to Me?” Pictured are Taylor Zais, Lily Tankersley, Tansy Loughry, Eli Yocum, Julia Marl, Ella Rose, Brynn Eyler, Ryan Werner, Blake Necciai, and Matthew Cox, with Americanism Chairperson Alice Eyler. Not pictured are Kalee Hull and Peighton Rhinehart.

Kids enjoy the Easter Egg Hunt at the Thurmont American Legion on March 30.

Memorial Day is traditionally known as the official start of summer. The first Memorial Day was celebrated in 1865, known as Decoration Day, established to recognize the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. After World War II, the name was changed to Memorial Day to remember and honor those who have died while serving our country. 

In 1971, The National Holiday Act moved Memorial Day to the third Monday of May to provide a three-day weekend. Today, many civic organizations, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS (American Veterans), The American Legion, and Knights of Columbus keep with tradition and celebrate Memorial Day on May 30.

Annually, the Thurmont American Legion Post 168, in conjunction with AMVETS Post 7, Voiture Locale 155 40/8 locomotive Chewy, and the Town of Thurmont, hosts a ceremony to include a guest speaker and a wreath laying to honor our military from each War/Conflict at Memorial Park. Memorial Day is about honoring our military that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms

Girl Scout Troop 37191, Cub Scout Pack 270, BSA Scout Troops 270 B/G, Venturing Crew 270, and Christian Service Brigade provide the the flag ceremony, honoring this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony. Courtesy Photo

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Writer

Happy May! Memorial Day is this month, and grill lids across the nation are opening in ode to both the sacrifice of soldiers and the culinary opportunities expanded by the warm weather. Today’s recipe also pays tribute to grilling season: Gourmet Bacon Cheeseburgers!

Yes, today’s delicious handheld sounds typical of any cookout. You’re probably wondering why waste my time with this when I could just buy some burger patties at the store? Well, this recipe lives up to its name of gourmet with the integration of some uncommonly used ingredients. First, this burger is seasoned with onion soup mix. Sound strange? Onion soup mix provides a great boost of concentrated flavor and will bring out the flavor of the shallots (sounds fancier than simple slices of onions, right?). Confused over why to put a slight dent in the middle of the patty? Pressing down the middle ensures the middle gets completely cooked. It also ensures that the patty has a uniform height when cooked. No strange-shaped burgers here; your hand-shaped burgers will look as good as the store’s by doing this extra step. As for the other ingredients: the shallots help bring out the onion flavors of the patty, while also providing a slightly sweet flavor to the burger as a whole (thanks to the caramelized nature of the shallots). The bacon will provide an extra savory and deliciously fatty element to the burger.

Enjoy your Memorial day safely and deliciously!

Gourmet Bacon Cheeseburger


5 oz. ground beef

1 tsp. onion soup mix (add more if preferred)

1 slice cheese


1 slice bacon

1 large shallot

1 bun


Start a medium pan on low heat (and preheat oven to 3500 if toasting buns). Start grill, if using. In a bowl, combine the beef and onion soup mix (with gloved hands). Once well combined, shape into patties; press a thumb into the center. Stack patties on top of each other, take off gloves, wash hands, cover and put in the refrigerator for later use.

In the medium pan, cook the bacon, flipping after 2 minutes. Place on a bed of paper towels; cut into 3 pieces with a knife and set aside (keep pan on low heat).

On a cutting board, thinly cut the shallots. In the same pan the bacon was cooked in, caramelize the shallots, cooking until shallots are soft and browned. Set aside once cooked.

In a skillet (or on the grill), place burger patties with one pair of tongs. Cook to desired doneness per side. Flip using the same pairs of tongs. Once both sides are done, use a clean pair of tongs to place the burgers on a clean plate.

Toast the buns: Place buns on a sheet pan (or on the grill) and cook until toasted, 3-5 minutes. Take out and set aside.

Layer the burger: On a clean plate, put down the bottom bun. Place the burger on top of the bun. Then, place the shallots and bacon; place cheese on top of both. Put the burger in the oven to melt the cheese for 10-15 seconds (or until melted; can microwave the burger to melt the cheese, too); place the top of the bun on top and serve.

*Note: add lettuce, tomato, or other preferred fixings after cheese has been melted.

Tools Needed

Gloves (optional), bowl, knife, cutting board, medium pan, spatula, plate with bed of paper towels, knife, sheet pan (if toasting the bun in the oven), skillet or grill (for cooking the burger), food thermometer 2 pairs of tongs, medium plate (for serving).

*With credit to Chef Liddick of CTC; Burger information credit to Traeger’s Grilling the Perfect Burger chart, Delish’s “How Do You Like Your Burger Cooked?” infographic, and Tyler Lachance’s “Ultimate Burger Guide” infographic on

Richard D. L. Fulton

The multi-decade Veteran of the Maryland Army Reserve National Guard (MDARNG) addressed the attendees at the Monocacy Valley Memorial Post 6918-07, Harney, on May 28, concerning the significance of Memorial Day.

First Sergeant (retired) William Rosier told the individuals attending the Veterans of Foreign War Memorial Day Observance that millions of men and women have “given all” in the line of duty in service of their country since the American Revolution—up to and including the ongoing Global War on Terrorism.

Rosier noted that the first Memorial Day was held in the wake of the American Civil War in the South only a month after the end of that war.  Similar commemorations began to be held in other states as well. 

The special day received its first official name of Decoration Day, as ordered by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) General John A. Logan in 1869, because it had been a day when, traditionally, individuals placed wreaths and flags upon the graves of those who had died in the service of their country.  The GAR was an organization of former Union soldiers and sailors. The day was not officially known as Memorial Day until 1967 and became widely celebrated by that name in 1968.

Rosier also discussed the meaning of coins, often seen having been left on the headstones of Veterans. The first sergeant noted that the pennies seen were left by general visitors who stop by the graves. Nickels are left by Veterans who had trained in the same boot camp as the deceased. Dimes are left by Veterans who had served together with the deceased in some capacity. Quarters are left by those who were present when the deceased was killed.

In closing, Rosier said the number of those who have died in the service of their country is not just a number, “each one of those numbers was a person, a husband or wife, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, an uncle or an aunt, a friend or a neighbor,” adding, “They all had their dreams and hopes for a future never to be realized.”

Rosier, a Veteran of the Global War on Terrorism (having been assigned to Iraq), served in the Navy from 1970 through 1972. After a five-year break in service, he entered the MDARNG, Battery “A,” 2nd 110th Field Artillery, in 1977. He subsequently retired in 2010.

Post Commander Larry Harris presided over the observance services.  Opening and closing prayers were presented by Pastor Peter Naschke. Wreaths were subsequently posted at the Memorial Monument. The Post Honor Guard then fired a 21-gun salute, and bugler Kate Irwin played Taps.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Harney Post Commander Larry Harris (left) and First Sergeant (retired) William Rosier (right) at the recent Memorial Day event at the Monocacy Valley Memorial Post 6918-07.

Photo by Richard D.L. Fulton

On May 25, BSA Scouts T270B & G, Venturing Crew 270, Cub Scout Pack 270, and Girl Scouts placed flags on Veterans’ graves in honor of Memorial Day. 

Volunteers placed flags in 14 cemeteries in our local area. The American Legion Post 168 is not notified when a Veteran is placed in one of the cemeteries. Please contact to let them know about your family Veteran.

Kayla, president of Venturing Crew 270, honors Veterans during flag placement for Memorial Day.

Scouting troops in Thurmont honored our fallen military this past Memorial Day by placing flags on their gravesites and participating in The American Legion Post 168 annual wreath-laying ceremony on Memorial Day.

Thank you to Scouts BSA Troop 270B & G, Cub Scout Pack 270, Venturing Crew 270, and Girl Scout Troop 81178 for honoring our military so that they are not forgotten.

Deb Abraham Spalding

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Freedom isn’t free,” especially around Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Independence Day, as a reminder of the sacrifice others have made to protect our freedom. This past Memorial Day, the official dedication ceremony of the Moser Road bridge and Trolley Trail foot bridge in Thurmont to two Thurmont Marines who were killed in action in Vietnam reminded those in attendance that there is a price for freedom.

The Moser Road bridge was dedicated, and signage unveiled, to honor SGT Woodrow Franklin “Frank” Carbaugh USMC. The Trolley Trail foot bridge was dedicated, and signage unveiled, to honor PFC Charles R. Pittinger USMC. These two young men were raised in Thurmont, and upon graduating from Thurmont High School in the 1960s, each enlisted or was drafted into the United States Marine Corps.

They were both killed in action by wounds received from hostile forces in Vietnam. They gave their lives in service to our nation, for our freedom.

The signage that is visible from both directions as you approach the bridges will serve as an on-going opportunity for travelers to remember and give thanks.

At a luncheon hosted by the volunteers at the Edwin C. Creeger, Jr. American Legion on Park Lane in Thurmont, dedication ceremony host Gary Spegal, Frederick County Commander and Thurmont American Legion Honor Guard OIC, gave the official welcome to the dual dedication of the Trolley Trail foot bridge and the Moser Road bridge spanning over Big Hunting Creek in Thurmont.

Commander Spegal said, “Read the names, reflect, and consider the sacrifice for the values that these two men fought for and died for. They inspire all of us to pray for our country’s leaders to seek peaceful settlements to our disputes.” He added, “One of the things our nation could have done better is welcoming home our Veterans who fought in Southeast Asia. It’s been half a century and their legacy has faded.” Locally, the bridge dedication will be a reminder to those who pass.

Thurmont’s Mayor John Kinnaird said, “The memory of the day when news arrived about the deaths of both Charlie and Woodie sticks clearly in my mind. I think it is appropriate that these bridges be dedicated in their names today. Bridges physically transport us from one point to another, but these bridges will now take us back in time. Each time we cross these bridges, we will remember Charlie and Woody…as the local boys we knew as family, neighbors, and friends…and the sacrifices these young men made for our community and our nation.”

On the bridge site, Ella Renner, the American Auxiliary Jr. Unit 168’s Poppy Princess, assisted Unit 168 Poppy Chairperson Angela Spegal to install red poppy flowers on each of the sign posts. The red flower of the poppy represents the blood of our fallen.

Deacon John Hawkins provided the blessing of the bridges. “Chewy,” a Veteran memorial vehicle, sounded the guns in salute.

Attendees moved from the official dedication location at the bridges to the ceremony location at the Edwin C. Creeger, Jr. American Legion on Park Lane in Thurmont.

Here, Scouts of Troop 270 Color Guard performed the Presentation of Colors.

During this touching ceremony, music was enjoyed, attendees sang the Marine Corps Hymn, and several people shared fond memories.

Sandy Seidel, mother of 1st Lt. Robert Seidel, presented a print of Robert’s poem “War” that was written in honor of Charles Pittinger to the Pittinger family. As an elementary-aged boy in Emmitsburg in the 1990s, young Robbie Seidel, learned from his uncle Larry Pittinger, about another uncle, Charles Pittinger, who had lost his life in Vietnam. He wrote the poem “War” in Charles’ honor. Little Robbie later became 1st Lt. Robert Seidel, who was killed in action while serving our country in Iraqi Freedom in May 2006.

Sgt. David Carter USMC traveled from Morristown, Tennessee, to the ceremony to talk about his tour with Sgt. Woodrow Franklin “Frank” Carbaugh. He said, “His tour of duty ran parallel with mine. I met Frank in January 1967. We received orders together. I will never forget him. He was the most Christian man I have ever known. A man of great character.”

Larry Pittinger, representing his brother John and sister Ann, spoke about their brother PFC Charles R. Pittinger. He shared that in preparation, American Legion Cmdr. Gary Spegal gave him a project to locate photos and memorabilia to display at the event.

Larry said, “For me, this request is the most rewarding part of the past eight months. Because of this request, photos that were packed away were unpacked and enjoyed again. Letters written more than 50 years ago were re-read. Through these letters, I learned of Charlie’s plans to buy a Corvette when he returned home. In a follow-up letter, he said that he may have to switch to his plan B, which was getting his ’57 Chevy on the road because of a change in the State of Maryland’s insurance rates.”

Larry continued, “He wrote of his frustration of walking through about four inches of mud to return to the base camp while carrying the M79 that was nicknamed the “Blooper” and carrying other gear that almost weighed as much as himself. Next, I found a website for Lima 35. Some of these Vets called me and shared their personal experiences. I am not a military Veteran, but after talking to these four Marine Vets, I have a deeper understanding of the kinship and the bond Veterans have for one another. To all Veterans, thank you for your service.”

“Thank you all for honoring my brother PFC Charles Robert Pittinger.”

The ceremony closed with the Benediction by Deacon John Hawkins and the Retirement of Colors by Scouts of Troop 270.

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

The Moser Road Bridge named in honor of Sgt. Carbaugh.

John Kinnaird

Memorial Day means many things to many people. To some, it is the first weekend of the summer; to others, it’s a day off to spend with the family.

To Joe Keller of 107 East Hammaker Street in Thurmont, Memorial Day is the day to remember his brothers in arms who died in action while stationed with him in Vietnam.

Joe has erected a moving memorial to his fallen brothers and has the names of each one on display. I stopped to visit with Joe the afternoon of Saturday, May 23, and it was a moving experience. He knew each of these guys and reminded me that his friends and each one of the 58,220 who died in Vietnam had a name and a story. So often, we hear the number of soldiers killed in action but seldom do you know their names or anything about who they were.

I remember watching the evening news in the 1960s and seeing scenes of battle from Vietnam and hearing the daily casualty lists. I left Joe’s house this afternoon with a renewed appreciation for the sacrifice each of those men and women made on our behalf.

Memorial Day started out as Decoration Day and reaches back to before the Civil War. Soldiers graves are decorated with flowers or flags so their memory will be carried on to the next generation. Joe is making sure his brothers are remembered and honored for their service and sacrifice.

I encourage each and every one of my friends to take a drive past Joe’s house and experience this moving memorial for yourselves. If you see Joe there, stop and say “Hi.” Take a minute or two to hear a little about the American Heroes and the personal friends Joe is honoring.

John Kinnaird stands with Joe Keller in front of Joe’s memorial to his fallen brothers.