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WWII Memorial Forest may get a marker

February 19, 2002

WWII Memorial Forest may get a marker



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


SMITHSBURG - The largely forgotten World War II Memorial Forest may soon consist of more than the hemlock trees spread throughout the woods around Hagerstown's Edgemont Reservoir near Smithsburg.

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The Washington County Historical Society and some veterans want to erect a monument in the forest to tell people about the wood's special designation.

"I had no idea this was a Memorial Forest and nobody I talked to had any idea. We want to do something to make it known." said Dr. Paul Wolber, a World War II veteran and Hagerstown resident who wants a memorial in the forest.

"I think memorials give you a sense of place - where you've been and where you're going," said Pat Schooley, a member of the historical society.

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Schooley said the historical society will help raise money for a memorial.

Wolber, Schooley, several veterans and Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner were in the woods near the reservoir Monday to find a possible spot for the memorial.

The group decided a good place would be just a few feet from where Warner Hollow Road intersects with the Appalachian Trail. Both the road and trail go through the woods, which are owned by the City of Hagerstown.

Washington County and Hagerstown officials designated the woods around the reservoir a Memorial Forest on April 21, 1945.

Hemlock tree seeds were thrown from an airplane that buzzed the woods during that ceremony, and the trees remain as a reminder of the memorial designation.

Breichner said he supports putting a monument in the woods. He said the City Council would have to approve the plan.

"World War II is becoming a paragraph in the history books now," said Breichner, who served in the Navy during the early 1950s. "I think it would be a good idea. A contribution we could make to the veterans of World War II."

Wolber estimated a 4-foot granite memorial and some landscaping around it would cost about $5,000.

To contribute toward the memorial or for more information about the plan, contact the Washington County Historical Society at 301-797-8782.

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