Dayhoff Westminster

Dayhoff Westminster Address: PO Box 124, Westminster MD 21158 410-259-6403

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Memorial to veterans took root under Mather's care

Memorial to veterans took root under Mather's care


11/09/05 By Kevin E. Dayhoff This Friday, Nov. 11 is Veteran's Day.

Many will have the day off - hopefully it will be a day spent with family and friends and time will be set aside to reflect upon the meaning of the day.

Veteran's Day is a day of commemoration and honor set aside so that we may celebrate the freedoms that we enjoy, and the preservation of American values made possible by dedication and sacrifice of United States' citizen-soldiers.

Historically, Nov. 11 (1918) was the official end of "The Great War" (World War I) at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Many veterans we remember on Veteran's Day are no longer with us in person, but remain in our hearts and are with us in spirit.

The 2000 Census data indicates there are 26.4 million Americans who are veterans. The highest percentage was from the Vietnam era. In 2000 there were 524,230 veterans in Maryland - 13.4 percent of the population.

Often, when I pass through the intersection of Malcolm Drive and Old Westminster Pike, I notice a small sign facing the road in the little piece of ground that serves as a front yard for the house on the corner.

Growing up we knew the property as the "Mary Malcolm Hunter" property (hence "Malcolm Drive"). The sign commemorates Jerome L. Day of Gamber, who was the first Carroll Countian to make the supreme sacrifice for our country in World War I.

A fading, yellowed, undated news clipping in my "Trees Ð Environmentalism" file tells the story of Mrs. George K. Mather of 121 Willis Street in Westminster being "honored by [the] Jerome L. Day Post 48 of the 29th Division Association Saturday night at the VFW home. Commander Harold Roop presided."

Fortunately, on the back of the undated clipping is a Carroll Theatre advertisement for "Boy, Did I Get A Wrong Number" starring Bob Hope, Elke Sommer and Phyllis Diller. This movie came out in 1966.

(Boy, does that bring back memories? Bob Hope is a real estate agent. Phyllis Diller is his zany maid and Elke Sommer is a beautiful film star who has run away from the film studio, for reasons only a wacky slapstick comedy can dream up, and hides in Bob Hope's house.)

In the 1966 ceremonies, Mrs. Mather "was recognized as the originator of the planting of one mile of Memorial Trees for the boys of World War 1."

Those trees were reported to be the first Memorial Trees planted in the United States for World War 1.

In 1919, Mrs. Mather was the president of the "Civic League of Westminster." She felt that there ought to be a "lasting memorial" to the Carroll Countians who served in World War I.

My grandfather, William Earl Wright of Taylorsville, served in WWI as a blacksmith, and I'd like to think those trees help commemorate his service.

Mrs. Mather got assistance from former Maryland Governor Edwin Warfield (1904-1908) and George Mathews, who later served as the Mayor of Westminster from May 17, 1926 to March 15, 1938, when he died in office.

Mather appointed Mrs. S. Luther Bare, Mrs. Daniel Shipley and Mrs. Austin Gallagher to a committee that oversaw the planting of 100 pin oaks, which lined both sides of Old Baltimore Pike.

The trees were dedicated at "devotional exercises" on July 4, 1919.

Hopefully you will spend part of Veteran's Day with friends and family, and take time to reflect upon the meaning of the day.

Happy Veteran's Day.

For all our readers who are veterans, please accept a grateful nation's heartfelt gratitude for your service to preserve our American values.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. 

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Kevin Dayhoff for Westminster Authority Caroline Babylon, Treasurer.

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