Sharing through stories

Typically I would be writing about veterans who are buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery, or offlag-salute-silhouette an event that is about to occur. Today, I want to share a brief story that I found in the obituary section of the York Daily Record newspaper.

A project that I work on for the York County History Center in Pennsylvania is developing a database of World War II veterans who are buried in or are from York County, Pennsylvania. This project is rewarding and sometimes sad. One of today’s obituaries that I clipped caught my attention, and I want to share it with you.

It was spring and graduation for a York area high school had just ended. Two days after graduating, several young male graduates decided that they would join the Merchant Marines. One of these men was Harold Fink.

As a mother of several boys, I do not know how I would have reacted. According to his obituary, young Harold was aboard ship off the coast of Japan when the atomic bomb was deployed. I cannot imagine this scene from the perspective of a young person.

His story ended well. He later enlisted in the U. S. Army Combat Engineers, later retiring as a Major. He married and probably lived a good life. I bet Harold had good stories to tell, too.

I often hear, and say myself, ‘why didn’t I take time to talk to my uncles and parents about their lives‘? If I had known Harold, what a story he probably had to tell!

The York County History Center is host to a program where veterans can tell their story and have it taped so that generations of people can listen to their experiences. If you are a veteran, or know of one, why not contact the York County History Center to learn more. And, do not overlook your local cemeteries. The cemeteries are filled with educational and inspiring memorials of veterans dating back many years.



Did You Know?

A few facts about military veterans who live or are buried throughout York County …

  • There approximately 40,000 military veterans living in York County. A few of those are as follows:
    • 6,910 York Countians served during World War I
    • Over 1000 Civil War Soldiers are buried in York County’s largest cemetery, Prospect Hill Cemetery
    • 571 or more York Countians were associated with World War II
    • 1 out of every 515 Americans killed in Vietnam came from York County
    • York County has over two dozen American Legion and VFW Posts

The facts above are just some of the numbers researched by volunteers at the York County History Center in York, Pennsylvania. These numbers may change with the ongoing research.

ALLVETS is an organization dedicated to the recording of oral histories of York County’s veterans. About 15 oral histories have been recorded. To learn more, you may contact the York County History Center at 250 East Market Street in downtown York.

Hanover is blessed to have organizations dedicated to serving and honoring our veterans. If you see an event that is being held to help our veterans here or who are serving, open your hearts to give your support.


We Salute Our Veterans – 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016 day was a perfect autumn day!  Our community gathered in the Garden of Honor at Mount Olivet Cemetery to honor our Veterans for their service to America and to the Veterans who departed this life in service to this country.

On Friday, November 11th please take a minute in silent prayer for our service men and women, their families, and loved ones.

Below is a snapshot of Sunday’s event. There is a saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” We at Mount Olivet Cemetery can’t thank you enough for attending our event!



We Salute Our Veterans-Coins on Gravestones

Did you know that leaving coins on military gravestones has a special meaning for visitors and families of a deceased veteran? While vacationing on Hatteras Island, North Carolina a few weeks ago my husband and I visited the British Cemetery. It was there that we found coins, along with other items, on the tops of the grave stones.

British Cemetery, Hatteras Island, NC 2016

The meaning of this time-honored tradition is meant to send a message to the deceased soldier’s family telling them that someone has visited the grave site to pay their respect. So you may wonder what is the meaning of doing this.

A penny left on the gravestone means that someone paid a visit. A nickel indicates that you and the deceased trained at a boot camp together. The dime tells the family that you  served in some capacity with the deceased. The quarter means that you were with the deceased soldier when he was killed.

These coins are collected by the National Cemetery and state veterans cemeteries, and eventually used towards maintaining the cemetery or to help defray burial costs of future soldiers. To read the full account of this tradition, please click here.

Recently where I volunteer I assisted finding a cemetery for an out-of-state visitor. I identified the cemetery, location, and phone number. Before leaving he thanked me with a hug and told me that he will be placing a nickel on the gravestone of the deceased. The researcher was at boot camp with the deceased soldier. Both served during the Vietnam era.

Thank you for reading and feel free to share with friends. Remember the following two dates:

We Salute Our Veterans Observance on Sunday, November 6 at 2:00 PM

Wreaths Across America on Saturday, December 17 at 11:50 PM

Both are held in the Garden of Honor at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 725 Baltimore Street in Hanover.


We Salute Our Veterans – Buried but not forgotten

The number of men and women who served America from the time of the American Revolutionary War through today’s conflicts and are buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery come close to 1400. Unfortunately, that number continues to grow.

Between October 15, 2015 and October 15, 2016 one woman and 31 men have been interred in our historic cemetery. On Sunday, November 6 beginning at 2:00 PM we will remember each of them with the reading of their names.


Please remember our event on Sunday, November 6 at 2 PM in the Garden of Honor in Mount Olivet Cemetery. We are located at 725 Baltimore Street, Hanover. Come rain or shine, and please bring with you a lawn chair.

In the event you cannot join us on this day Wreaths Across America will be holding their program and placing Christmas wreaths at the grave sites of the veterans. The event is Saturday, December 17 beginning at 11:50 AM and at the same location.

Thank you for reading this week’s blog. Feel free to share with friends.


We Salute Our Veterans-Honoring Hanover’s Citizen Soldiers

Two events at Mount Olivet Cemetery honoring our veterans are coming up – ‘We Salute Our Veterans’ on Sunday, November 6th and Wreaths Across America on Saturday, December 17th beginning at 11:50 AM.

Mexican-American War 1846-1848

This war, in a nutshell, was a dispute between Mexico and the U.S. what is known today as Texas obtained its independence from Mexico about 1836. The U.S. declined to accept Texas into the Union due to northern political interests against the addition of a new slave state. There were border raids and the potential of war by the Mexican government. By 1845, Texas became annexed. (

On April 26, 1946 the Mexican cavalry attacked U.S. soldiers, killing about 12.

Hanover men who fought during the Mexican-American War were Jacob Henry Bair and John S. Wise.

The Spanish-American War 1898-1902

America went to war against Spain to free Cuba from Spanish domination. A conflict between Spain and the U.S. resulted from the explosion of the USS Maine that sat in the Havana harbor. American aquisition of Spain’s Pacific possessions let to involvement in the Philipine Revolution and ultimately the Philipine-American War.

According to website there were about 306,760 troops involved in this war and 2,446 deaths.

Hanover men who fought during this war were Wilbert G. Buohl, Charles Hamme, Alexander George Hay, Jesse E. Pentz, Maurice N. Trone, Horace Robinson, and Jacob H. Sell.

The American Indian Wars

Over the course of time there were multiple armed conflicts between European governments and colonists, and later American settlers or U.S. government and the native peoples of North America. These conflicts happened from the time of the earliest colonial settlements until 1924.

According to the Indian Wars under the U.S. government totaled more than 40. They cost the lives of about 19,000 white men, women, children, including those killed in individual combats and the lives of about 30,000 Indians.100_6008

Men from, or associated with, the Hanover area who served included Dr. Moses Cooper, who married a lady from Hanover, and Charles Henry Sullivan. Dr. Cooper was not a soldier, but served as Lt. Asst. Surgeon for the U.S. Army.

There is so much written about each of the above wars or conflicts to put into one blog. What is important to remember is that no matter what time in American history, nor the battle, Hanover citizens supported their country, sacrificing their lives and time away from their families.