Our 111th Reunion

July 30th and 31st, 2016

Reunion Theme: Welcome Home! Glattfelders in the Cold War

(Korea and Viet Nam)

Fellow members of the Glattfelder family,

The 111th annual family reunion “Welcome Home! Glattfelders in the Cold War” was held at Heimwald Park on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31, 2016. There were about 150 in attendance on Saturday in spite of the rain, and between 75 and 100 in attendance on Sunday. The weather was typical for July.

This year marks the final program in the series on Glattfelders in war, recognizing Glattfelders in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The Reunion Program in pdf format is available by clicking the link.

The Glattfelders in wars theme continued at the 2016 reunion with the Korean and Vietnam wars. Lila Fourhman-Shaull, from the York County History Center and a Glattfelder relative, and historical committee member Jean Robinson spoke about the wars. Lila provided a transition from World War II to the Korean and Vietnam wars for York County.

Before I begin, I congratulate this organization for keeping the heritage of this family alive. I work at the York County History Center, previously known as the York County Heritage Trust, and before that, the Historical Society of York County, and the key to all those names is our mission of sharing York County history.

To me, the best way to connect and share history is through genealogy, the tracing of one’s family. Genealogy gives life to history by connecting us personally to it.

The Casper Glattfelder Association has been celebrating its history since 1906 when the first reunion was held, and you should be proud of the longevity of this organization. You are here because of your interest and pride in your heritage as descendants of one of the earliest families to come to York County.

The past several years these reunions have told the nation’s military history through the stories of its Glattfelder family members, and today we will continue that. Last year, we traveled from the 1920s until World War II, focusing on our WWII veterans, and today we will look at the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s -- three decades that witnessed many changes.

I think it is safe to say that most attending today either have personal recollections of this time or have shared memories with their parents or grandparents. This makes it a tad easier to connect with -- in comparison to the 18th or 19th century history.

A year before World War II ended, President Roosevelt signed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act. This proved very important as it provided for benefits for returning WWII veterans. Commonly known as the GI Bill, it provided low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, cash tuition and living expenses to attend a university, high school or vocational education facility as well as one-year employment compensation.

September 1945 brought an end to this war, and the world, nation, state and York County would never be the same. Some families were reunited; others tried to adjust to the loss of loved ones. York County had sent over 20,000 men and women to war, and 570 paid the ultimate sacrifice. Soldiers came home and married their sweethearts and women left their spots on the workforce.

Nationally, in 1946, the average price of a house was $5,600 and annual wages were $2,500. As the war wound down, the government slowly allowed the auto industry to return to car manufacturing. The 1946 and 1947 Chevys were actually just 1942 Chevys with new grilles and trim. We could fill our gas tanks at 15 cents a gallon, milk was 70 cents a gallon, bread was 10 cents a loaf and first class postage was three cents.

A few years passed when the Korean War pulled York countians into service again, as well as reactivated the York Plan on a national level.

York City’s population reached its peak in 1950 as residents started to move out into the county, caused by very few building sites left in the city. This move led to the creation of suburban developments such as Haines Acres.

The educational system with one-room schools was outdated and the consolidation and creation of 16 school districts began. A 1983 York Daily Record article noted that in 1886, York County had 397 schools, most of the one-room variety, 144 were frame construction and 220 were brick.

Following the construction of numerous elementary and secondary schools, these buildings closed. Mrs. Carrie Kaltreider was the last teacher at the Glatfelter one-room school in York Township, which closed in 1949. McGuffey readers, slate boards and pot-bellied stoves, wooden benches and desks and, of course, use of the outhouse, has memories for former students.

In 1956, the average price of a house was $22,000, annual income was nearly $4,500, bread was 18 cents a loaf and postage was still three cents. We could now dust with Pledge, clean our clothes with Wisk and children could play with Play-Doh. Gas was 23 cents a gallon and we could order our 1957 Chevy with new options such as power steering and brakes, power windows and seats, and air conditioning, although that was rarely ordered.

The nation watched Elvis on the Milton Berle Show, the Steve Allen Show and, of course, the Ed Sullivan Show, although he also appeared here in York County at Valley View Park in Hellam Township.

York stores and businesses begin to leave downtown; Sears and Roebuck was one of the first and became the anchor store for the York County Shopping Center.

During World War II, the limitations of the county infrastructure, its roads and bridges, became evident and continued to worsen as the population grew. Solutions included the construction of Route 83, which was completed in 1959, as well as the Route 30 bypass in the late 1960s and 1970s.

In 1962, Memorial Hospital relocated to South Belmont Street from West York. In 1966, house prices now averaged over $23,000, postage was up to five cents and gas was 32 cents a gallon. We cleaned our clothes with Tide, enjoyed an Almond Joy, tasted our first Dorito and freshened our breath with Scope. We bought a Dodge Charger and watched Mission Impossible, Star Trek or Family Affair on television.

In 1968, the York County Parks systems was created, beginning with Rocky Ridge Park. Hurricane Agnes paid a visit to the east coast in 1972 and left 13½ inches of rain in 24 hours.

Jean then continued with the program:

Once again, in a relatively short time, since the end of World War II, York countians, including our Glattfelder cousins, are being selected to serve their country in a military presence stateside and overseas.

After World War II, after 1945, the Cold War reared its ugly head, mostly between the United States and the Soviet Union. Other skirmishes in Europe and Asia, and land grab expansions brought crisis situations such as the Suez Crisis, Baltic Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. These and many events occurred to roll us into Korea and Vietnam. And so wars and rumors of wars goes on.

Korea, June 1950 - July 1953: North Korea invaded South Korea. The United Nations, with principle force United States, provided protection to the South, and China and the Soviet Union provided military aid to the North.

This conflict came about with the division of Korea, fueled by the Cold War fears and tension. Several battles that we might be familiar with are Battle of Bloody Ridge, Battle of Heartbreak Ridge and Battle for Seoul.

Eventually, a liberated Korea from Japan occurred, with the 38th parallel as the boundary line. This Korean Conflict continued until an armistice was signed in 1953. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone to officially separate North from South Korea, but no real peace treaty.

Even today, the war sabers rattle, with the North challenging the South for its independence.

I would like to take the time to mention the Glattfelder family soldiers who were stationed in Korea, “The Forgotten War.” I feel we need to recognize their service to this country and our freedoms:

ARMY -- Albert M. Gladfelter Jr., (I think he served stateside); Charles A. Glatfelter; Harry L. Glatfelter; Samuel J. Gladfelter; Samuel S. Glatfelter; Warren M. Baublitz, a member of the “Lucky Bastards Club”; Millard L. Kroh II, Signal Corps, became postmaster at Seven Valleys; Gerald W. Plummer; Richard E. Robertson; Kent Roseberry; Kenneth D. Glatfelter, Camp Pickett, 33rd Infantry Division, serving in RCT of 25th Infantry Division in Korea, known as the “Wolfhounds,” as well as receiving various Army service medals; Robert B. Glatfelter, received various Army service medals, including three Bronze Stars; Richard C. Altland, received various Army service medals, including one Bronze Star.

NAVY -- George R. Glatfelter, retired after 22 years service; Edward T. Blymire; Jack Nace, who served on our Board of Directors.

MARINE CORP -- Sterling K. Glatfelter, retired after 25 years of service (side note: early in his career in the 1960s, he served on the security detail for Pres. John F. Kennedy and on Air Force One; William R. Glatfelter.

AIR FORCE -- Dean K. Gladfelter, stayed in aviation in one form or another after his discharge and also restored antique airplanes; Mahlon L. Gladfelter, in civilian life became a barber in York New Salem.

We received a nice letter from Joanne Gladfelter from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her husband, Ralph J. Gladfelter, served in the Air Force in Korea. I will quote from her letter. “… He served as a radar operator with the rank of Staff Sgt. … He was awarded various service medals and ribbons, including five Bronze Stars. … One thing that stands out in my mind is his telling of seeing the campfires of the Chinese soldiers across the Yahn River waiting for the river to freeze so they could cross over. Once they were able to cross the frozen river, Ralph’s radar site had to be abandoned. This was when the Chinese entered the war. Ralph didn’t talk too much about the war, but he had nightmares and would yell and reach for his gun. I know he had some bad memories of events he witnessed or lived through.”

We received an email from Linda Moore and one of her relatives lost his life in Korea. Jack Currie fought and died in Korea for the United States. Jack was Canadian by birth and his family home is Alberta. The family name is spelled Glotfelty and descends from Solomon.

Memorials: Part of East Market Street, York, is known as the Korean Veterans Memorial Highway. There is also a memorial located on West Market Street, York, along the Heritage Rail Trail near the Codorus Creek, across from the Colonial Court House.

The Vietnam Era occurred November 1955 to the Fall of Saigon April 1975 and included Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China and their Allies. The South was supported by the United States and anti-communist Allies. This war was the longest for United States involvement to date, soon to be superseded by the current War on Terror.

The Vietnam War was escalated by the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and then the U.S. committed many more troops. I can mention names of incidents that will be familiar, such as the Tet Offensive, Ho Chi Minh Trail or My Lai Massacre.

To end this war, the Paris Peace Accord was signed in 1973 by all parties involved. However, the fighting continued. By this time, a large worldwide anti-war or large counter-culture had taken hold to add pressure to come to some kind of resolution.

The capture of Saigon by the North in April 1975 marked the official end of the war.

The Vietnam War was the first fully-televised war. What a difference that made, in our living rooms every night.

Here in York County, there was no exception to the counter-culture influence as it can be clearly seen how unpopular the war had become. Soldiers returning home did not feel welcomed or that their service to this country mattered.

I have made this war sound very simple – it was not. And we cannot erase in 10 minutes what has seemed a lack of support for our servicemen and women.

Welcome home, Veterans. We do care.

This war was also considered a war of containment and there were not always outright victories on the battlefield.

Allow me again to take the time to name our Glattfelder family members that we know:

ARMY -- Barry E. Glatfelter; Ronald E. Gladfelter Sr., wounded twice, and with the second injury became a disabled veteran; Stephen Gladfelter; William E. Gladfelter; Charles L. Fourhman, Vietnam era stateside peacetime service; Daniel L. Fourhman, Charles’ brother who served overseas; Donald E. Gembe, served two combat missions, worked with helicopters and became a pilot in civilian life; R. Michael Lentz; Terry Wallace, served 1961-1964.

AIR FORCE -- Perry L. Glatfelter, served 1961-1967; Terry Lee Glattfelder, Circle Ranch, son of Jack F. Glattfelder.

Finally, our family grieves the loss of one Glattfelder cousin, SP5 Larry E. Gladfelter, Army, who served in the 538th Engineering Co. and died when his truck hit a mine riding back to camp in Vietnam in 1969. He was awarded various Army medals, including a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was only 20 years old and had graduated from Susquehannock High School, York County.

Memorials: There is a Vietnam Memorial located on the York Fair Grounds (or the York Expo Center), Carlisle Avenue, York.

This will conclude our look at our family serving in the Armed Forces and the sacrifices they and their families made for us, whether serving stateside or overseas.