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Smart Talk: Memorial Day Gold Star Mothers; History; Winters statue dedicated in Ephrata

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Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing and Peace Garden, York.

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, May 22, 2015:

For many Americans, the Memorial Day weekend will be celebrated as the unofficial beginning of summer with picnics, trips to the beach, or other warm weather activities.

Many others though will commemorate Memorial Day for its original purpose — honoring the nation’s war dead and those who fought for this country.

Memorial Day may mean more to those who lost loved ones or friends in battle.  For them, every day can be Memorial Day.

Friday’s Smart Talk features two American Gold Star Mothers — both of whom had sons who were killed in Iraq.


Robert Seidel graduating from West Point

Sandy Seidel of Gettysburg’s son Robert was a West Point graduate who rose to the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  He was killed by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad on May 18, 2006.

Cher Kondor of Yorkana, York County’s son Martin also died from wounds suffered in an IED explosion in Baquobah on April 29, 2004.

Martin Kondor’s story was featured on a 2011 episode of WITF’s Smart Talk TV program.  See it here.

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Spc. Martin Kondor

After Martin’s death, Cher Kondo campaigned to build the Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing & Peace Garden in York.  Today, it is one of the most beautiful and peaceful spots in York County.

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Also,the very first Memorial Day may have been held in Boalsburg, Centre County.

On Friday’s program, we’ll learn how three women who put flowers on the graves of family members killed in the Civil War started a tradition that led to Memorial Day.

Appearing on Smart Talk is Kathy Horner, author of the book A War, Three Women and a Tradition: the History of Boalsburg During the Civil War.

Finally, Major Dick Winters was born in Ephrata, Lancaster County and lived most of his life in Hershey until his death in January 2011. 

For many years, maybe a few dozen people were familiar with Maj. Winters’ experiences in World War II as a member and officer in Easy Company that fought with distinction throughout Europe.  That was until the book and HBO series Band of Brothers that told Winters and Easy Company’s story made them quite possibly one of the best known units in the war. 

A statue of Winters was unveiled in 2012 in Normandy, France that represents all fighting men. 

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A replica will be dedicated in Winters’ hometown of Ephrata Monday, Memorial Day.

Rebecca Gallagher, co-chair of the Winters Leadership Memorial Committee tells us more on Friday’s Smart Talk.

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