Mt. Pleasant re-enacts Doughboy dedication
Seventy-eight years ago in 1924, more than 3,000 people participated in a parade at the dedication of the Doughboy in Mount Pleasant.
In a re-enactment of the Doughboy dedication, held Wednesday evening as part of the 175th Anniversary Celebration, approximately 100 people turned out.
"The turnout was OK, but we had hoped for a little more," said Richard Snyder, co-chairman of the 175th Anniversary Committee.
Michael Tabita, Mount Pleasant Council president, said the threat of rain and short notice may have deterred the public.
"It's a tough time of the week to get a good turnout, but 100 people for a small town in the middle of the week isn't bad, and it was an energetic crowd that was here."
A first-class program did take place, despite the numbers in the crowd.
"Being here today to re-enact the dedication of the doughboy memorial, which was unveiled 78 years ago on Nov. 11, 1924, in memorial to soldiers that had given the ultimate sacrifice," said Snyder, "we once again wish to give tribute to all veterans from all wars at this time of our 175th anniversary celebration.
"May this memorial stand as a symbol of what Mount Pleasant represents as we have gone from Helltown to Hometown," he added.
Mayor Gerald Lucia addressed the crowd, talking about what the town was like when the Doughboy was erected.
"There were streetcar tracks that road up and down Mount Pleasant, and when the monument was placed in 1924, in the hearts of everyone wasn't just Mount Pleasant Borough but the community and the community stretched for miles," said Lucia. "If you lived in Hecla, you were our neighbor. If you lived in Tarrs, you were our neighbor, and if you lived in Bullskin, you were our neighbor."
He quoted part of a speech made by S.P. Stevens, chairman of the memorial committee, at the original dedication of the Doughboy.
"'This is a period in the life of this community that will live long in the memory of its citizens,'" quoted Lucia. "This beautiful monument and wonderful dedication ceremony bespeak our love and admiration of our gallant soldiers, whose heroic deeds and fighting ability in defense of the Stars and Stripes has a place in our nation's history."
He also quoted S. C. Stevenson who accepted the memorial on behalf of the council in 1924.
"'No town and community has a better record for loyalty to our country when the nation needed men to fight her battles than the town of Mount Pleasant," quoted Lucia. "Her history for the bravery and loyalty of her sons, in the time of our country's need, stands unchallenged."
Responding to that quote, Lucia said that he believes that statement has lived on since 1924.
"Throughout the years and many wars, Mount Pleasant has stood tall," said Lucia.
Joe Bauer, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3368 commander, talked about the history of the Doughboy, which he obtained from the Web site: www.worldwar1.com.
"For us today. . . the Doughboys were the men America sent to France in the Great War who licked Kaiser Bill and fought to make the world safe for democracy," said Bauer.
One of the theories for the name was the method of cooking that the soldiers had. Meals were doughy flour and rice concoctions baked in the ashes of a campfire or shaped around a bayonet.
Another theory is that the U.S. infantryman wore coats with unique, globular buttons. The buttons are said to be reminiscent of the doughboy dumplings eaten by the soldiers and sailors of earlier days.
Finally, Jim Schmidt, a 175th Anniversary Committee member, recited "I am the Guard," while Eric Harvey played a patriotic song on his fiddle.
"I stood with Washington on the sun-drenched heights of Yorktown. I saw the sword surrendered . . .I am the Guard. . . I scrambled over Normandy's beaches -- I was there! . . . I am the Guard. Across the 38th parallel I made my stand. I flew MIG Alley -- I was there! . . I am the Guard."
Many other activities are planned over the next few days to celebrate "Old Home Week" in the borough.
Today activities will run from 3 to 8 p.m. at Frick Park with bus tours of historical sites in Mount Pleasant boarding every 45 minutes. The cost is $1.
Hot air balloon rides are from 6 to 8 p.m.; adults are $5, children are $3.
On Friday, a community picnic will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Frick Park. The picnic will include a pig and beef roast with hot dogs, burgers and kielbasa for sale. Families should bring their own side dishes and desserts.
On Saturday, festivities will run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with musical entertainment and a pie-baking contest. Fireworks will round out the evening at 10 p.m.