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History of Freeland, Pa.
Memorial Day offerings

In honor of Memorial Day, here are links to several pages that highlight our Military, Military veterans and Military deceased, along with ways that we have honored and celebrated them. This was originally posted as a featured photos section on May 25, 2020.

The World War I Memorial Grove at Freeland High School, with a list of those who were honored with plaques on maple trees planted in memoriam.

World War II men and women from Freeland – from Billy Kuklis, a scrapbook put together by his dad William Kuklis, Sr. and aunt Catherine Kuklis Shelhamer during World War II.

Freeland area men and women in the Military - includes: --- Freeland & Vicinity Honor Roll - Contributed by Charlie Gallagher --- Sts. Peter & Paul's Eastern Greek Catholic Church WWII memorial --- Jeddo World War II Honor Roll --- MMI Memorial dedication, 1947 --- Public Park Veterans Memorial --- Coxe Memorial, Freeland Cemetery --- 109th Field Artillery, Third Penna. Field Artillery, 1879-1917

A link to Burt McNamee’s page honoring Freeland area veterans.

Freeland Drum & Bugle Corps – with a copy of the program booklet from a 1930 Military Pageant & Bugle Corps Contest, from Charlie Gallagher – contains a history of Freeland Post No. 473 of the American Legion

The Upper Lehigh Honor Roll – with a copy of the program booklet from the Upper Lehigh Flag Raising ceremony in 1944, from Sara Wenner and Nadine Heckler, and a list of those named on the Honor Roll (those from Upper Lehigh serving in WWII at the time of the Flag Raising).

Freeland Memorial Day parade photos from 1950 and 1951, taken by Charlie Gallagher

Also interesting is the scrapbook put together by Silvio Mason (born Maso) in the 1930s, begun when he was 14 and covering local and national sports as well as automobiles, aviation, and national and international politics. It wasn’t directly about the Military, but tracks local, national and international news items that interested this young man in the years approaching World War II.

George Tancin dreaming of the Army life Family plaque showing those in the ServiceMy dad Steve Tancin grew up in Upper Lehigh in the 1920-1930s, with brothers John, Joe and George and sister Helen. The boys all went into the military -- Joe into the Navy and the others into the Army, although George being the youngest didn't enlist until the Korean War. One of these photos shows uncle Georgie as a kid dressed up in uncle Johnny's uniform (uncle Johnny was home on leave) and pretending to say goodbye to my grandfather as he was "going off to war." The other photo shows the wooden plaque that hung in my grandparents' home during WWII, and similar plaques hung in many, many other homes. Although my dad and uncles returned, their cousin George Tancin was killed in WWII and is buried in Italy.

Remembering his family in Freeland sports teams and the Army - Steve Mischissen wrote in 2020. He grew up in New Jersey and spent summers with his aunt and grandmother in Freeland, and he shared many fond memories of Freeland from those visits in the 1960s and 1970s. He had relatives connected with St. Mary’s, St. John’s Nepomucene, St. Michael’s and Ss. Peter and Pauls Ukranian Orthodox churches, and his uncle Nicholas Mischisin who died in World War II is listed on the stone memorial at Ss. Peter and Pauls. Steve’s grandfather was a Slovak immigrant who worked as a mule driver in the Drifton mine. His grandmother made pirohi at St. Michael’s each week. His aunt ran a small grocery on South Street between Fern and Vine in the 1960s-1970s. He was fortunate to be in town for Freeland’s 100th anniversary in 1976.

Steve noted Freeland’s love of sports and how team players in his family joined the Army and then some of them went back into sports after their service:
I was looking at photos from your website about Freeland High basketball teams from the 1930’s. My father and his three older brothers Nicky, Mickey and Johnny all played for Freeland in the 1930’s and a younger brother Thomas played for Freeland in the 1940’s, and I believe another brother for MMI in the late ‘40’s. … My father spoke very highly of Coach Herb Rathey, who coached both basketball and football in Freeland and I believe was a Freeland HS graduate himself. My father said he also was a good teacher. …

Basketball and football meant a lot to players back then, and Freeland, for its small size, put together good teams under Coach Rathey. My father and his three older brothers all went into the Army after 1939 and served in Europe during the war. My uncle Nick Mischissin was killed in action in November 1944 in Belgium, where he was buried. His infantry division, the Blue and Gray, was involved in D Day invasion in France, then the push towards Germany in later 1944. Younger brother Thomas joined the Navy in 1945. My uncle Johnny continued to play in town basketball leagues after the war. Their youngest brother, Steve, captained the Franklin and Marshall college football team in the early 1950’s. My grandfather was an immigrant (Slovakia area) and worked as a mine mule driver in Drifton.

They were the greatest generation.
Please see more of Steve’s family sports reminiscences on the Basketball page, scroll down to 1938 – especially the story about the ringers brought into a football game between Freeland and Bethlehem [steelworker ringers!] in the late 1930s.

Healers and Heroes cover And finally, although this is not about the Freeland area, it might be interesting to those who would like to read a World War II memoir written by a medic. My friend Thea Marshall recently edited and published her dad’s memoir from his time as a medic in WWII. After the war ended, Robert Marshall was in Czechoslovakia for a few weeks, and he used a “liberated” German typewriter to type up a record of what he -- a medic in General George Patton’s Third Army -- and his division had experienced in the war. The book is ‘Healers and Heroes: WWII Combat Medics: Mud and Blood from the Normandy Beaches to The Battle of the Bulge’, and also includes a partial frontline account from Walter German, a fellow medic. [The book doesn't focus on medical procedures so much as being a boots-on-the-ground account of what it was like to do the work of retrieving and stabilizing the wounded (sometimes including prisoners) before sending them on to a field hospital.]

Thank you to all who have served our country and to those who are serving now.

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Site contructed by C. Tancin.
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