Monday, October 2, 2017

124. Team Party and the National Cemetery

In the spring of 1949, the basketball season was over for the Gettysburg High School JV and Varsity teams and also for the Girls’ Athletic Association as well. Nancy was one of the leading scorers on her GAA  championship team, Senior II.

After the Varsity boys’ season ended, Nancy and I attended a party at the home of senior team member, Bill Eisenhart. Nancy’s diary reveals that a few boys drank beer, but most drank cokes. No one drank hard liquor, and no one used drugs. Matter of fact, in 1949 we weren’t familiar with recreational drugs except perhaps for marijuana, and no one we knew used it.

A front page story in the April 4,1949 issue of the Gettysburg Times reported the bodies of two men who served in World War II were to be reinterred in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Pfc. William O’Neill, of McKeesport and  S1C Joseph Coradetti of Wilkes-Barre were originally buried in American cemeteries abroad.

In 2010, there were 1,624 WWII veterans buried in Gettysburg, including Marine Pvt. Paul Heller who was killed in action on October 8,1942 at Guadalcanal at the shocking age of fifteen. Heller is probably the youngest serviceman buried in the National Cemetery outside of the Civil War section.

My Uncle, Herman “Bud” Houck who served with the U.S. Army in the South Pacific in WWII, is buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery, and each year in December, members of our family place a Christmas Wreath on his headstone and pause to remember him.

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