The Society’s Annual Dinner and Meeting, held May 2nd at the Chatham Fish & Game Club attracted 112 people. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the US entering WWI, the featured program, Chatham and the Great War, told the story of war-time Chatham. It chronicled the impact of the war on Chatham and the contributions and sacrifices made by military personal, volunteers and everyday citizens.
The program was researched and developed by Jackie Pindak and Helen Ann Rosenfeld. The presentation was dedicated to the five Chatham soldiers who lost lives in France: Eugene Hubbard, Van Horn Wolfe, Paul VanFleet, Fred Pihlman and Fredrick Parcells. The use of the Society’s vintage photos and documents from the era brought the war-related activities to life. The Hand family donated over 50 letters and postcards to the Society written by their son, Clarence during the war. Through excerpts from these missives, attendees were given an eye witness account of the war.
Joyce Martinsen and Cheryl Leverich organized the well-attended dinner. The menu centered on foods that were appropriate to eat during the war. Since red meats and wheat were saved for the troops, the dinner was pork, potatoes accompanied by string beans and applesauce and corn bread.
They also beautifully decorated the venue in red, white and blue. White carnations and roses were on the table as well as “tin” cans filled with Wrigley’s gum, a favorite of soldiers. Each table had colorful posters from that era that were used to build patriotism during the war.
A new addition to the event was the musical accompaniment by a Chatham High quartet - Olivia Kelly-Quigley, Amrita Sooklal, Yuntso Bhun and Annie Leverich.
In 1919, a year after the war ended, the town recognized the sacrifice of the five men lost in the war by planting five red oak trees on the grounds of Public School #1, now Chatham Borough Hall. Sadly, none remain. On June 10 at 12:00 during Fishawack, the Society will dedicate another red oak tree at Borough Hall to the memory of the five soldiers and in gratitude for their ultimate sacrifice. All are invited to join in the commemoration. Click here for details.
Photo: Society Trustee Jackie Pindak presented the program, while board members Joyce Martinsen and Cheryl Leverich planned the event.