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Monday, April 3, 2017

The "LIfe In Lancaster, Pennsylvania During World War I" Story

The monument in Buchanan Park which features
the names of those who served with the
Ambulance Co. No. 111 28th Division A.E.F
.
It was an ordinary day.  Standing with my camera in front of the memorial in Lancaster, Pennsylvania's Buchanan Park that was erected to honor the members of Ambulance Co. No. 111 28th Division A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Forces).  The company was originally Company No. 3 of the Pennsylvania National Guard who fought in World War I.  It was 100 years ago today that President Woodrow Wilson asked Americans to join the fight with our allies on the battlefields in France against Germany.  About a week ago Jack Brubaker, Lancaster Newspaper's "Scribbler", wrote about the event and I thought it might be interesting to visit Buchanan Park to see the monument for myself.  Today was a cold somber day, probably much like the day when the President asked Americans to join in the fight.  
Click on the photograph to see the inscription.
Within days of Wilson asking for help, Congress joined in support of the declaration of war.  Four days later Lancastrians marched in a prepared- ness parade as they marched solemnly through the city streets.  The following day, Easter Sunday, church bells chimed as parishioners in many churches sang the National Anthem.  They displayed the patriotic spirit that was evident during the Spanish-American War and the Great Rebellion.  Lancaster County was expected to provide between 800 and 1,000 men for the Army and Navy.  More than 5,000 thousand Lancastrians showed their patriotic spirit by volunteering or being drafted.  One of the best known units was the 28th Division which was commanded by Lancaster physician Col. Charles P. Stahr.  The memorial I am standing in front of carries the names of the company's members.  One member, Reah Hollinger, who served as the unit's bugler and orderly, was the last survivor from the unit who died in 1996 at the age of 101.  
This is the miniature courthouse that was in Penn Square.
 It eventually was moved to Buchanan Park.
Another Lancastrian, Boone Bowman, allegedly was the first American to plant a U.S. flag in German-occupied territory when he hoisted the flag while on a mission to rig telephone lines.  On the home front, soldiers were placed along the nearby Susquehanna River to guard the bridges and Pennsylvania Rail Road tracks and a miniature courthouse was placed in the city's Penn Square where Liberty Bonds were sold to help support the war effort while everyone pitched in by making Sunday a gasless day, Monday a meatless day and Tuesday a heatless day.  
This is what Lancaster's Penn Square probably looked like
during the time that our troops were fighting in Europe.
All seemed to be well in Lancaster, but the war did cause some tension and friction in Lancaster.  Prejudice against people of German descent rose while city streets that carried German names were changed.  Ann, a Franklin & Marshall professor and a Lutheran minister were forced to resign, since they weren't deemed to be patriotic enough.  The war finally came to an end and at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, Armistice Day, every factory in Lancaster blew its whistle while all churches rang their church bells. All was well once again in Lancaster.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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