Greencastle's traditional Memorial Day parade and ceremony are not being held this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the new Hometown Hero banners lining downtown streets provide a visual tribute to those who have served and those who are currently serving in the armed forces.
Six of those honored with banners made the ultimate sacrifice, losing their lives in service to their country.
One of the six is Frank L. Carbaugh, for whom Greencastle's American Legion Post 373 is named.
"Frank Carbaugh's soldier's story is really quite special," according to Bonnie Shockey of Allison-Antrim Museum. "He died Aug. 1, 1918, lying in a hospital after being wounded. While in the hospital he wrote a beautiful poem 'The Fields of Marne,' which was then published in The Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.)"
Hailing from Antrim Township, he was one of four children of George and Alice Carbaugh. His father was a Civil War veteran.
Carbaugh went into Army service on July 15, 1917, and was part of the Sanitary Detachment of the 7th Machine Gun Battalion, according to information included in World War I exhibits in 2017 and 2019 at Allison-Antrim Museum.
The sergeant died of wounds suffered during the second Battle of the Marne in France. He is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery.
On his deathbed, the wrote:
“The Fields of the Marne”
The fields of the Marne are growing green,
The river murmurs on and on;
No more the hail of mitrailleuse,
The cannon from the hills are gone.
The herder leads the sheep afield,
Where grasses grow o’er broken blade;
And toil-worn women till the soil
O’er human mold, in sunny glade.
The splintered shell and bayonet
Are lost in crumbling village wall;
No sniper scans the rim of hills,
No sentry hears the night bird call.
From blood-wet soil and sunken trench,
The flowers bloom in summer light;
And farther down the vale beyond,
The peasant smiles are sad, yet bright.
The wounded Marne is growing green,
The gash of Hun no longer smarts;
Democracy is born again,
But what about the troubled hearts?
This poem, along with many other poems written by American doughboys, was first published under The Army Poet’s column in The Stars and Stripes. In 1919, 84 of the poems written by the men of the U.S. Army’s American Expeditionary Forces, were published in a book "YANKS A.E.F. Verse."
In the book’s foreword, John T. Wintinnly wrote, “The A.E.F. was the most sentimental outfit that ever lived. Most of it — so it seemed to anyone who served on the staff of The Stars and Stripes — wrote poetry.”
Virtual Memorial Day program
Because Greencastle's Memorial Day parade and service at Cedar Hill Cemetery had to be canceled, Greencastle's community radio station WRGG, Harry D. Zeigler VFW Post 6319 and Frank L. Carbaugh American Legion Post 373 are joining together to host a virtual Memorial Day program on Monday, May 25, at 10:30 a.m.
Speakers at the virtual program will include commanders and vice commanders from the VFW and American Legion along with Greencastle’s Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.
Patriotic music will be played before and after the live Memorial Day program at 10:30.
Citizens may also participate by emailing WRGG and offering a paragraph message of what Memorial Day means to them. As time permits the email messages will be read during the virtual program. They can be emailed to:
WRGG can be found at 93.7 FM; the cell phone “tune-in” app; and at wrgg.org