Remembrance ceremony held for local WWI veteran

Cpl. John Loudenslager was remembered on the the 100th anniversary of his death.

Never forgotten: On July 16, a remembrance ceremony was held for Cpl. John Loudenslager on the 100-year anniversary of his death. The ceremony featured a color guard, Boy Scout Troop 290, Girl Scouts, the Loudenslager Ladies Auxiliary, the playing of Taps and more. TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

Cpl. John Loudenslager American Legion Post 366 last week held a remembrance ceremony for Cpl. John Loudenslager on the 100-year anniversary of his death.

The July 16 ceremony took place at Northeast Lions Park, 7976 Oxford Ave., adjacent to the Legion post.

Loudenslager was born on Aug. 8, 1899 and lived in Port Richmond in his early years. After his dad died, his mom, Mary, married a Fox Chase man and moved to Hoffnagle Street. He was baptized in 1903 at Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Rockledge and regularly attended Sunday school and church services.

In spring 1916, he enlisted in the First Regiment of the National Guard and fought in World War I. He was killed on July 16, 1918 in Chateau-Thierry, France. He was 19.

The ceremony featured a color guard, Boy Scout Troop 290, Girl Scouts, the Loudenslager Ladies Auxiliary, the playing of Taps, an American flag raising and performances by members of Action Karate and Donna’s DanceWorks.

Zach Demusz sung God Bless America.

Robert Ritchie, the Loudenslager chaplain and a member of Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, offered prayers. Ritchie explained that the church has a Loudenslager war memorial Victorian three-pane window that was dedicated in 1920. Loudenslager was one of 30 World War I volunteers from the church and the only one who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Municipal Court Judge Pat Dugan, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is a Post 366 member, described Loudenslager as a “liberator.” He was pleased to see so many young people in attendance.

“It is our duty as a society to remember those who have allowed us to be the United States of America,” said Dugan, whose grandfather served in the Navy and fought in World War I.

TOM WARING / TIMES PHOTO

Dugan read a letter from 1st Sgt. Edward J. Smith Jr. to Mary Loudenslager Wilkinson, recounting her son’s death. Smith wrote that Loudenslager and the others in his unit came out of a trench and encountered machine gun fire.

“Talk about some courage,” Dugan said.

Smith said Loudenslager’s death was instantaneous and painless. He was buried in a Christian ceremony at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial in northern France, with a cross on his grave.

“This building is named after a hero,” Dugan said, pointing to Post 366 and calling for applause for all Loudenslager members. “It’s our duty to never forget.”.••