Bucks County Herald

Charles Meredith:

Music, wars and a skate park

Dear Friends,

Good morning. Save this Sunday (March 19) at 1:30 p.m. for the 140th Anniversary Concert of the Quakertown Band at the Strayer Middle School in Quakertown.

As the promo stated, “The Quakertown Band has been part of the fabric of Quakertown, without pause, for 140 years and we have a lot to celebrate.

During this concert, Conductor Richard Karschner will officially pass the baton to the new Conductor, Joseph Santanello. Also, trumpeter Maynard Cressman marks his 60th year with the band as he joins a trio of trumpets in Leroy Anderson’s famous, “Trumpeters Holiday.”

1877 was a special year for me. First, the Quakertown Band began as the Germania Band and second, the Quakertown National Bank first opened its doors. I’ve been associated with both institutions for decades. By the way, the Germania Band was a perfectly descriptive title in 1877.

Quakertown was founded by Quakers and Pennsylvania Germans. But anything with a German name became the kiss of death, thanks to the influence of Kaiser William in the first World War and Adolf Hitler in the second.

The Quakertown Band is one of America’s oldest community bands and deserves our support.

See you at the concert.

On a different topic, I just finished “Dereliction of Duty” by Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s new national security advisor. The three-star general’s book about the Vietnam War is a must-read for anyone who is critical of that war. “Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that led to Vietnam,” references the book’s subtitle.

There was plenty of blame to go around in that war. First, President Eisenhower never should have tried to help General Charles de Gaulle hold on to France’s colonial possession in Southeast Asia.

President Kennedy complicated matters further by sending Green Berets to bolster the Diem regime in South Vietnam. And worse, President Johnson misled Congress and the American public about a civil war that never should have been fought by America.

My search via Wikipedia reminded me about the tragic statistics: 282,000 allied deaths; 444,000 South and North Vietnam military deaths; 629,000 civilian deaths (north and south); for a total of 1,353,000 killed.

Since the Korean War in 1950, America’s foreign affairs record has been dismal. Our presidents and their military and civilian advisors have failed to pay attention to history. I worry that our new president has the capacity to lead us into another mess. But that’s a subject for another day.

In the meantime, here’s a positive subject. I recently attended a Quakertown Rotary meeting and learned that the Quakertown Skate Park is alive and well. Thanks to the leadership of Reverend David Kratz of the East Swamp Mennonite Church in Quakertown and Quakertown Borough officials, what was once a municipal problem has become an asset.

Kratz was the speaker at the Quakertown Rotary Club last week. The brochures he distributed told the tale. “The Quakertown Park is a free, open to the public skatepark that includes ramps that cater to every discipline of bicycle riding. The park at the intersection of Main and Ninth streets caters to bikers, skaters, and rollerbladers of all ages in a safe environment.

“Here, friendships are formed, dreams are realized, and many doors are opened. It provides a place for participants to socialize and it promotes well-being by allowing all of the riders a chance to stay busy and channel their energy into something active and productive.

“When the park was first built 20 years ago, few understood the potential of the skatepark to foster both mental and physical growth. At the park, younger generations will learn from those who’ve come before them and they in turn progress their sport.”

Rev. Kratz told the Rotarians that the Quakertown skate park is raising $100,000 to build a home base of operations for both the Quakertown Borough Park and Recreation Department, and Free Fall Action sports. The building will include a snack stand, bathrooms, a shared meeting area, Free Fall office and media room, and the Quakertown Borough park and recreation offices.

Kratz is a good speaker and will be happy to provide an interesting program for service clubs and the like. The project deserves your involvement and financial help. You can reach the pastor and Quakertown Borough through quakertownactionpark@gmail.com. Or you can reach him at 267-377-9399.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

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