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Throughout the Years

 In 1919 the Bloomsburg State Normal School decided to remember its former students who died serving their country in the First World War.  They felt so strongly about this they created a living memorial to these individuals.  It consisted of white pine trees, each one representing one of the students. On Memorial Day, May 30, 1919, the Dedication Ceremony was held.  Three years later a boulder was placed at the site with a marble tablet showing each tree and the student it represented.


1919 War Hero Memorial Pinery Dedication Ceremony

 

The Dedication Ceremony for the PInery, May 30th 1919. Photograph taken from Science Hall.

Hundreds of people turned out on Memorial Day in 1919 to honor those Bloomsburg State Normal School students who lost their lives while in service to their country during World War I.  As the Bloomsburg Morning Press stated the following day:

"The memorial, as planned by the Senior class, and so well brought to accomplishment yesterday, was to give the school a grove, marked by a 75-foot Walworth steel flag pole, with the individual trees memorializing the heroes of the school who gave their lives in the war with the Huns, thus serving the double purpose of a Senior memorial to leave with the school, long a custom with the graduating class, and the school's method of memorializing the heroes who went out from the school to war."

The grove consisted of white pine trees laid out in the shape of a six-pointed star, with trees representing the heroes who gave their lives.  The flag pole was temporarily mounted on a platform, but would be permanently installed two weeks later for Flag Day on June 14.  In the future a marker containing the diagram shown on the front of the program would be put in place on a boulder, and it was hoped that once the trees were large enough each one would have a separate bronze plate with the name of hero and their war record.

  

1922 Dedication Ceremony


 

 On Memorial Day of 1922 the original design of the memorial was complete, as an  irregularly shaped boulder was placed at the base of the flagpole, and a marble marker  attached to it designating the students remembered and their designated trees.  Students  from the school sang "America the Beautiful" and "America," and a recitation of the names  of the honored students was made and flowers strewn by children from the model school.    In final tribute to the soldiers a bugle played "taps."

 The ceremony dedicate the erratic boulder. May 30, 1922

 

  

The erratic boulder with marble tablet & Raising the flag at the Pinery, 1922. 

Children walking past the Memorial Pinery, 1922

1924 Armistice Day Dedication Ceremony


 

The Armistice Day Dedication Ceremony.

November 11, 1924

 

On Armistice Day in 1924, a third and final Dedication Ceremony was held at the Memorial Pinery.  It was fitting this day was chosen, because November 11 marked the anniversary of the date the armistice was signed marking the end of the First World War.  The ceremony dedicated a bronze tablet (still on the boulder) inscribed with the outline of the six-sided star and the names of the memorialized students.  It replaced the marble tablet, and included one more student's name, that of Reese Davis, that had been recently found to have also died in service to his country.  The money for the tablet was raised by the Junior Class that year, the class of 1926, and they were an integral part of the unveiling ceremony.

An assembly the morning of the dedication told the story of the Pinery, and the principal of the normal school, Dr. G.C.L. Reimer, urged the students to look upon Armistice Day as Peace Day, and not as a day which glorifies war.  He denounced the failure of the present generation for not taking more decisive steps toward lasting peace and urged the coming generation not to fall down in accompanying that task.  He said, "War is hell; it is murder; it is disgrace.  Overcome it with peace."

Hundreds of Normal School students and towns people attended the noontime ceremony.  An honor guard of nine veterans who were members of the Valley of Bloomsburg Post of the American Legion stood at attention in their uniforms, each one holding a large American flag.  Students from the Junior High School and Junior Class marched to the Pinery and formed a semi-circle while singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee."  Boy and Girl scouts raised the flag, while everyone saluted and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  In front of each tree was a small white wooden cross with the name of a memorialized student, and the years they attended the normal school.  And as a final tribute each cross had an American flag over it, that fluttered gently in the breeze during the ceremony.  This marked the last official dedication at the Memorial Pinery until its rededication on May 1, 2002.

In 1930 Bloomsburg's first Dean of Instruction, William B. Sutliff, wrote a poem to honor the memorial.  Even now, more than 80 years later and with all that has happened to it, the Pinery remembers those who sacrificed their lives for their country.

William Boyd Sutliff, 1867-1962 

  

2003 Dedication Ceremony


 

 The rededicated memorial includes 6 new pine trees to replace those lost over time, 16 small bronze plaques, each with the name of a student remembered in the Pinery, and 2 large bronze plaques for the 2 trees that could not be replaced because of Schuylkill Hall. The memorial also has paving stones laid out in the shape of a six-pointed star, and four benches for those who wish to reflect in an atmosphere of peace and quiet. 

Some of the people who made the restoration possible.

Front Row (L-R): Maria Bertonicini, Fred Ackerman, Beth Pennebacker, Brian Campbell, and Erin Norbury.

Back Row (L-R): Keith Long, Robert Dunkelberger, Nancy Gentile-Ford, Janelle Hose, Ryan Quinn, and Sara Nogle. 

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