10 Years Ago
Week of August 30, 2012
The Pendleton Past
by Harold D. Garber
My return from a visit to relatives in Germany marked the end of a five-week sojourn outside these beloved United States. My focus is always intended to be local history, but as this tale unfolds, perhaps you can see that the only local touch is the fact that some of our West Virginia servicemen had to be there. Where? At Bastogne.
Most Petersburg residents will remember Robert “Cindy” Hill. One of Cindy’s nephews informed me that Cindy had served in the 101st Airborne Division, the “Screaming Eagles,” and that he had been a part of the battered unit which had held strong at Bastogne.
I find it difficult to fathom the loss and carnage some of the units like the 101st went through. I plan to read some of the classics about Bastogne out of the book of the Holland campaign chronicles involving the unbelievable sacrifices.
Getting back to this story, the Holland campaign ended in November 1944, and in December 1944 the 101st had moved to the area around Bastogne. A key word in these stories is the word replacements—new, often untested, soldiers who would be placed in the growing number of spaces created by death, wounding and capture of regular troops. Some of the most inspiring stories of the war are about these men, growing up overnight, against a relentless enemy.
After meeting the paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne at the visitor’s center in Bastogne, we immediately followed his direction to the Bastogne Memorial. In a beautiful location on a rise overlooking pastoral and peaceful farmlands, stands a magnificent memorial to those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice here. We read the description, took many pictures of the name “West Virginia” high along the upper reaches of the memorial and stopped for a moment to ponder and pray.
Going north from the memorial, we returned to the farmland having one special place in mind, Foy. We quickly passed a small sign which indicated our goal. We then turned around to explore more slowly. Ironically, what we first found was a peaceful and beautiful cemetery. However, before seeing the descriptive sign, we knew this was a German cemetery, the resting place of hundreds, because of the Iron Cross markers. Our next stop, nearby but really on a farm road, was one to the US units who fought in the area. We spotted it by the American flags flying.
More searching brought us to Foy. Adjacent to a railroad crossing, one of the most resplendent memorials we saw in our travels stood along the road. On the left side of this memorial were the names of 14 members of the 101st who fell near this spot in December-January 1944-45. Part of the memorial was paid for by Tom Hanks, for “Band of Brothers” was filmed here.
In the woods, some 10 feet off the road, were foxholes intentionally left undisturbed from the war.
I’ll close with this—a sincere thank you to all who served. God Bless you and our Nation.
Suggestions To Keep One From Getting Older
Were one to be here in 10 years, what would be done differently? Well, now is the time since there is not a lot of later left! So, think of how to stay young and happy! The following tips of “How to keep from getting older” come from 99-year-old Gladys Vance of Columbus, OH.
Disregard all nonessential numbers. These include age, weight and height. The doctor is paid to worry about that.
Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches really pull one down.
Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Just never let the brain idle.
Enjoy the simple things. Remember, when one was young, that’s all one could afford. When one was in college, that’s all one could afford. When one retires, that’s all one should afford!
Laugh often, long and hard. Laugh until one gasps for breath. Laugh so much that one can be tracked anywhere by one’s distinctive laughter.
Tears happen. Endure, grieve and move on. The only person who is with one their entire life is oneself.
Let love surround one, whether it be family, keepsakes, music, hobbies, plants, whatever. One’s home is a refuge.
Cherish one’s health. If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what one can improve, get help.
Don’t take guilt trips. Go to the mall, the next county, a foreign country, but forget the guilt trips.
At every opportunity, tell the people one loves often and at every opportunity, that they are loved.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths one takes, but by the moments that take one’s breath away. Were each one to do what Gladys has suggested, wouldn’t there be more peace in one’s life?
20 Years Ago
Week of August 29, 2002
Individual Use of Verbal Jibes Is Quite Unique
If Mohammed, the prophet of the Koran is right, a lot of us won’t make it through the pearly gates. For everyday speech includes barbed humor that is not easily recognized. One is constantly inventing new jibes, and at the same time, one has inherited many verbal ones. There is no record of who first gave serious attention to the relatively big bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow, technically known as the humerus, but otherwise known as the funny bone. Bumping this bone is not humourous, yet it yields a distinctively funny sensation when struck against a hard surface.
More than a century ago, real humor included a brief query: a person was asked to say how many blue beans it took to make seven white beans. A person giving up in bewilderment didn’t know beans of course, for the answer was simple. Seven blue beans, peeled, make seven white ones. Anyone dull enough not to know beans may also be derided as knowing diddly-squat.
Many kinds of drivers had occupied a great variety of seats for thousands of years. Yet it was the driver’s seat of an automobile or truck that caused the position to name a person in charge of any enterprise. Drivers of buggies and coaches made fun of persons who ventured to try self-propelled vehicles. “Get a horse!” was often shouted to the driver of a stalled car. By 1912, the opinion changed rapidly. It was clear that anyone behind the steering wheel of a car was in a seat of awesome power.
Huge profits were made during the Civil War by contractors who provided goods to the army. Consquently, fortunes were won from land speculation and railroad building.
Members of the newly rich had hordes of money, however, culture was lacking. Lap dogs were the rage among wives of the wealthy. They spent large sums on pets, each trying to top the excess of others. Pampered poodles were linked with the desire for show, so any individual displaying flashy behavior was ridiculed as “putting on the dog.”
These verbal jibes have been inherited in this area, making individual usage quite unique.
50 Years Ago
Week of August 31, 1972
The Japanese beetle and thistles are very troublesome to the landowners this year. Another very troublesome thistle is the musk, very common around Rough Run, W. Va. and beginning to appear in this section. It was first noted in West Virginia near Cabins, Grant County, June 23, 1945.
60 Years Ago
Week of August 30, 1962
100 YEARS AGO
By LON K. SAVAGE
Editor’s Note—The following is one of a series of articles on the Civil War. Each weekly installment covers events which occurred exactly 100 years ago.
Lee Crushes Pope
At Second Massacre
A long line of tattered Confederate soldiers—23,000 men with “Stonewall” Jackson at their head—moved eastward toward a blazing sun in north-central Virginia 100 years ago this week and into one of the greatest Confederate victories of the Civil War.
It was early morning of August 26th, and the men moved silently through Thoroughfare Gap in the Bull Run Mountains and toward the battlefield where a year earlier they had defeated the Yankees in the war’s first great battle—Bull Run. Now, they were preparing to repeat the feat.
It was a gamble by Gen. Robert E. Lee to turn the federal army under Gen. John Pope, then well positioned along the Rappahannock River’s northern bank. Jackson’s army, representing about half of Lee’s troops, had left Lee the day before, moved northwestward, crossed the Rappahannock and marched 26 miles behind Pope’s lines.
That night, Jackson reached Manassas Junction, captured it with 300 men and burned the railroad bridge connecting Pope with Washington. Next day, his men gorged themselves on federal food, outfitted themselves with federal clothing and then burned the rest of 60,000 barrels of provisions intended for their enemy.
Pope, learning of Jackson’s movement, thought he had the “Stonewall” trapped. Orders poured forth from his headquarters, and the many divisions of his army began closing in on Jackson. But Jackson was not to be had that easy; he slipped out to the north and took position behind an unfinished railroad embankment on the old Bull Run battlefield, hoping Pope would find him. In the meantime, Lee was coming up with 30,000 more men, following in Jackson’s footsteps.
To Jackson’s delight, Pope found the Confederates behind the railroad embankment and charged him at daylight on the 29th. The Yanks came in waves and fell, dead or wounded, by the hundreds. All day they came, as the casualties mounted. Joe Hooker’s federals made it all the way up the embankment before they were driven back, some of them fighting hand to hand with the Southerners. Darkness finally brought an end to the slaughter.
But Pope was not finished with his mad attack. Thinking he had won a victory, he sent word to Washington that he had driven the enemy from the field, then made plans to “pursue” the enemy next morning.
He did, and the roof caved in. As the Yanks set out in “pursuit,” they ran headlong into Jackson’s men, strong as ever, and had another 30,000 men under Lee and Gen. James Longstreet to contend with, too.
Again, Pope’s divisions attacked, and again the battle reached white heat. At one point, a Southern unit ran out of ammunition and hurled rocks on the charging federals. When the battle was at its hottest, Lee and Longstreet came sweeping through, running the federal divisions over and driving them from the field toward Washington. The route was complete.
The casualties never were counted accurately, but they probably amounted to more than 12,000 federals and 9,000 rebels. For the South, it meant that Lee, in three months of command, had driven the Yankees from Richmond’s door and now was threatening Washington.
For Pope, it meant the end. Three days later, as he rode glumly into Washington, he was met by Gen. George B. McClellan, the man whom Lee had driven off from Richmond. McClellan announced that Pope had been relieved of command and that he, McClellan, would take over the federal troops in Virginia.
Next week: Still another Confederate victory.
70 Years Ago
Week of August 28, 1952
By County Agent
As I drove around the county last week, I saw a gardener who was sowing weed seed for next year’s garden crops. No, he wasn’t out there actually sowing seed from a bucket, but the result will be about the same.
In this garden the areas that had been in early potatoes, early beans, onions, early sweet corn, lettuce, and the like, were being permitted to produce a rank crop of healthy weeds. Some folks will say that the weeds make a good cover crop to turn under, but that is not true because most of the garden weeds are killed with the first hard frost. What these weeds are really doing is producing thousands and thousands of seeds that will be ready and anxious to produce more weeds next year.
It is quite important to prevent the weeds from going to seed and a cover crop will help do this as well as add fertility to your garden soil.