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For those soldiers who “Remembered the Maine,” Mount Gretna will come together on May 6 to remember their service.
Camp Hastings, located in Mount Gretna, served as a summer training center for the Pennsylvania National Guard during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
In 1898, during the brief Spanish-American War, nearly 11,000 guardsmen were summoned to the camp, where the soldiers trained and prepared for battle. (Although the still-disputed sinking of the Maine was not the direct cause of the war, it was a primary catalyst to the ensuing conflict.)
Despite the war’s short duration, it resulted in a significant defeat for the Spanish, as the Americans claimed the remaining Spanish Empire and increased their control over the Caribbean and Pacific, including the Philippines and Guam.
These events will be the focus of a full day events on May 6 organized by the Mount Gretna Area Historical Society.
That day, NGP History Project living historians will be encamped on Soldiers Field in a small-scale replica of Camp Hastings, showing visitors what life was like for Lebanon Company G of the 8th Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Their reenactment begins with reveille at 5:30 a.m. and mess at 5:45 a.m., and later in the day guard mount will be held at 1:30 p.m. as well as a battalion drill at 3 p.m.
A formal opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Soldiers Field with remarks, a wreath laying ceremony, and Taps.
In addition to the military activities, there will be a scavenger hunt for kids and adults with prizes, a Keller’s BBQ food truck, soft pretzels, and tours of the Mount Gretna Area Historical Society Museum from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Chautauqua‘s Hall of Philosophy will also host two programs and displays on the Spanish-American War. From 12:30 to 4 p.m., genealogy consultations on the war will be provided by James McAteer, past president of the Sons of the Spanish-American War Veterans.
At 1 p.m., a program on espionage during the Spanish-American War will be presented by William Burkheimer, national first vice president of the Sons of the Spanish-American War Veterans. This will be followed at 2:30 p.m. by a presentation on the war in the Philippines by Mark Donahue, national second vice president of the Sons of Spanish-American War Veterans.
The events are being sponsored by the Mount Gretna Area Historical Society, the Sons & Daughters of Spanish-American War Veterans, the NGP History Project, and the Lebanon Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. For more information and a schedule of Spanish-American War-related activities, visit mtgretnahistory.org.
Read More: Ancestor’s medal leads N. Cornwall man on quest to identify Lebanon County veterans of turn-of-the-century wars
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