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Letters to the editor

September 24, 1997

Battle will be remembered

To the editor:

I would like to express my sincere thanks to the hospitality of the citizens of Hagerstown during the 135th Commemoration of Antietam. On many occasions, I was able to speak with the many volunteers and found them to be very kind and generous in their time. As a re-enactor, it was a huge plus to be welcomed in this manner. Hagerstown should be very proud of itself! The only negative for the event was the failure of a local wood company to deliver the promised firewood to the Federal campsite on Saturday. Because of this, over 1,000 re-enactors were without firewood for dinner, breakfast, warmth and companionship.

I am glad Mr. Robasson wasn't discovered by myself or the men in 1st Division. For if they had, they would have tied you to a tree and attempted to burn you at the stake, had they any firewood.

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But that one negative aspect should not be permitted to overshadow the accomplishment of many Hagerstown citizens. It should also be proud of several other people. The Artz family, in particular, is a gem of the community. This entire family chipped in and rolled up their sleeves to help pull off the largest re-enactment of its kind. I spent a week with the Artz family and found them to be a slice of the past - a rock of family tradition and values.

Another family that begs mention is the Warlick family. Don Warlick was the event manager and a new resident. His tireless efforts and the efforts of his family were noticed the moment one reached the site. They simply do not make families like this anymore, at least not where I am from.

As for community businesses, Allegheny Power should be commended for the selfless donation of its land for the Federal camps. Without them, I have no idea how we could have been placed on site. The APCWS should also be recognized for sponsoring an event of this size. It not only helped in historic preservation, but also helped the local economy. And that in itself will draw attention to the need for further preservation efforts for our future generations.

Many other businesses and individuals should also be mentioned, but it would fill several pages.

The bottom line is this. As a re-enactor, I would like to thank everyone involved with the event. I would like to thank the City of Hagerstown for its patience and service. I would like to thank the citizens of the city for putting up with us and for the volunteers who were so polite. Your smiling faces were the icing on the cake for all of us.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have all made it an event I will never, ever forget!

Maj. John D. Bert

Quartermaster

Federal Army Staff

Bridgewater, Pa.

YMCA boss owes us answers

To the editor:

The fact that after a girl met her death in the YMCA's pool, executive director Michael Flicek could have the brass to essentially praise his staff for their actions sickens me to no end. Can I have a boss like this? What would someone in his employ have to do to draw his censure, blow up the building?

I used to have a YMCA membership but I canceled when I found some of its lifeguards to be rude and hostile. I had words with them, and they defended their attitudes by invoking the concept of safety. Where were these people when a little girl was fighting for life? Yet Flicek doesn't blame them. Whose fault was it, the girl's?

And as for the YMCA being unforthcoming with the truth, whatever happened to investigative journalism? I think that if the Herald-Mail were more of the watchdog newspapers should be, they'd have tried questioning a disgruntled YMCA employee or two. Of course, having a boss who makes excuses for his staff might just make for a crew too darn content to speak out.

Katherine M. Brown

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