Officials vow to improve Burholme’s World War I memorial

The World War I memorial is 90 years old and in need of some TLC.

A Veterans Day ceremony took place on Sunday afternoon at the World War I memorial at the intersection of Cottman, Oxford and Rising Sun avenues.

The service marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The ceremony began when the Boy Scouts Troop 160 drum and bugle corps marched to the memorial from its then-base at Immanuel Lutheran Church. The Cottman Avenue church closed on Sunday after 107 years, and Troop 160 has moved to Cpl. John Loudenslager American Legion Post 366, which sent a delegation to the ceremony.

Historian Fred Moore, state Rep. Jared Solomon and City Councilmen Al Taubenberger and Brian O’Neill addressed the crowd.

Bill McBride, of Troop 160, played Taps. Bob MacMillan, also of Troop 160, led people in the Pledge of Allegiance.

MacMillan explained that there are 89 names on the memorial of Burholme residents who fought in World War I. There were 71 members of the U.S. Army, 16 in the Navy and two in the Marine Corps, including one female “devil dog,” Yeoman Florence Dawson. The Army’s J. George Herrmann and Emmett G. Laub died in the war.

The memorial was dedicated in 1928. Troop 160 helped fund the $6,000 cost and has cared for it ever since by placing American flags, power washing it and repointing the cement.

On Sunday, senior patrol leader Dylan Mayer and assistant senior patrol leader Luke Medwid, along with community activist Pam Baranackie, placed wreaths on the memorial.

“You guys have done a tremendous job,” Moore told Troop 160 members.

Solomon, a captain in the Army Reserve, likes the inscription on the memorial. It reads, “To honor the valiant sons of Burholme and all others who served their country in the world war.”

At the same time, Solomon would like to see the memorial become more modern, bright, accessible and recognizable.

“We can do much, much better,” he said.

O’Neill blamed the city for not keeping up maintenance of the memorial. He credited Solomon for coming to him to help revitalize the site and Troop 160 members for decades of service to the monument.

“Thank you and those who came before you,” he said.

O’Neill wants a more pedestrian-friendly memorial. A design is in the works, one that will be approved by veterans.

“We’ll get it right. You have my word,” he said.

Taubenberger thanked Baranackie for her efforts and urged the crowd to understand the meaning of Veterans Day.

“Remember the veterans who sacrificed so much to give us our freedoms,” he said. ••

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