History

Secrets to stay sealed – unopened time capsule likely to be buried again

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It looks like secrets buried in City Park will stay buried in City Park – at least for another 15 years. The riddle of the mystery time capsule rediscovered last week was solved. The capsule was buried as part of the city’s 150th birthday party in 1983. The sesquicentennial  bash also featured a 150-foot banana split and square dance demonstrations. But as far as the secrets contained inside the time capsule – well, city residents may have to wait several more years to have those treasures revealed. Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley said Monday that the original intention was likely that the time capsule remain buried for 50 years. It has only been 35 years since it was put in the ground during a community ceremony. “My guess is we will probably rebury it,” Otley said. The forgotten time capsule was rediscovered last week then city park staff and architects walked the area of City Park where a new building is being planned. The time capsule is under the footprint of the building. When the park department’s natural resources coordinator Chris Gajewicz posed the question about the time capsule last week on Facebook, it sent local residents scurrying for their local history sources. The time capsule is covered with concrete, a rock, and some etching that was too weathered to read. But some long-time Bowling Green residents recognized the location as the site of the sesquicentennial time capsule. The capsule was buried with great pomp and circumstance on Oct. 2, 1983, during a community gathering in City Park that commemorated the city’s 150th birthday. More than 1,000 townspeople showed up for the festivities which included a box lunch for $3 each, a hymn sing, children’s games, horseshoe tournament, pie baking contest judging, a style show of old fashions, softball games, wagon rides,and prizes awarded for a beard growing competition. Top-billing, right after the box lunch, was the burying of the time capsule. The event was recorded by Joan Gordon, who headed up the sesquicentennial committee. A photo taken by Jim Gordon shows local historian Lyle Fletcher burying the time capsule. But 35 years later, the time capsule, with its now undecipherable etching, had gone unnoticed. The mystery memorial would be allowed to rest there undisturbed, except that it is sitting in the path of the new City Park building being constructed next year. The new building in City Park will take the place of the existing Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building, and the Depot. It has necessitated the moving or replacing of some memorial trees. And now, the time capsule will likely join in that transplanting – no longer a mystery except for its 35-year-old contents.

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BGSU’s mosaics to be removed from Eva Marie Saint Theatre & returned to Turkey

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The mosaics embedded in the floor outside the Eva Marie Saint Theater are going home. Bowling Green State University announced today that it has reached an agreement with Turkey to repatriate the mosaics, which have been in the university’s possession for more than 50 years. The transfer will be made this year according to the agreement signed today (May 14) with Turkey’s Directorate General for Cultural Heritage and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. They were purchased from a dealer, Peter Mark, legally and in full accordance with the law, the university stated. They were believed at the time to have come from Antioch. Questions about the provenance arose in 2012 through the work of art historians Stephanie Langin-Hooper, then of the BGSU faculty and now at Southern Methodist University, and Dr. Rebecca Molholt, of Brown University and now deceased. They could not find a record of these mosaics in Antioch but found matching patterns in ruins in the area of Zeugma, Turkey, Langin-Hooper said at the time. Those patterns were unique to these mosaics. The BGSU announcement states: “Additional research and consultation with scholars, art experts and representatives from the Republic of Turkey have confirmed that the mosaics are very likely from Zeugma and that the provenance of the pieces prior to BGSU’s acquisition will likely never be known.” The directorate will pay for the cost of the mosaics’ removal and return as well as providing high quality replicas to replace the originals, according to the university press release. Once returned to Turkey the mosaics will be displayed at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in the city of Gaziantep. This near the area from which they were removed. That site is now a reservoir. The university says the return “will allow the historic artifacts to be appreciated and studied where they originated and be enjoyed by a much wider audience.” That was an important for the university. “The preservation and care of the mosaics has been a priority for the University for the last 53 years,” BGSU President Rodney Rogers stated. “As a university, we have relied upon the expertise of scholars to guide us, both when we acquired the mosaics and now. It is clear today that the best place for these precious artifacts is back in the Republic of Turkey at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum. We greatly appreciate the collegiality of the Turkish Ministry of Culture in working with us to come to an agreement. We look forward to continued collaborations.” In 2012, the university reported that the mosaics were purchased for about $35,000 with the approval of then President William Jerome with the assistance of art professor Hugh Broadley from Peter Marks Works of Art. They, however, were kept in storage until 1979 when the then-curator of the McFall Gallery on campus, Mary Wolfe, advocated to have them displayed outside the gallery. They resided there until they were removed in 2008 to be cleaned and restored in preparation for their installation in the Wolfe Center. At the time, BGSU was praised for its cooperation with determining the provenance of the mosaics. Bible History Daily described BGSU as responding “quickly and candidly.”    



Vietnam vet dogged for half a century by memories of his year at war

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Like most of his fellow Americans, Warren E. Hunt wanted to forget the Vietnam War. “You don’t want to think about it. You want to be done with it.” That was his attitude when he returned to Toledo after serving a year as a communications specialist in South Vietnam. The war wasn’t done with him though. “It doesn’t go away,” Warren, 70, said in a recent interview. It dogged him. The memories of what he experienced would surface at “inappropriate times.” “I was depressed a lot,” he said. “I never thought it was because of the war. I never put two and two together.” Warren came anxious to pick up where he’d left off when he was drafted in 1967. He was going to spend some time at home in rural southern Michigan where he grew up, and then attend the University of Toledo on the G.I. Bill. He did that, and went on to get a graduate degree in German. He wound up teaching German at Bedford High in Michigan. Still the war was always there.  “I just wanted it to go away. I didn’t think about it a lot until it was intrusive.” It wasn’t until later that he grasped the fact that “I had lived an entire year in a hostile environment where my life could have been extinguished at any moment.” Hunt confronts that experience in “Reflections on the Vietnam War: A Fifty-Year Journey” published in 2017 using CreateSpace Publishing. A part of “Reflections” was published in a special section put out by USA  Today.. Hunt will read from the book Monday, May 14, at 7 p.m. at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The book was prompted by a high school assignment. His goddaughter, Meghan Cremean, was given an assignment in high school to interview a Vietnam War veteran in 1998. She turned to Hunt. That planted the idea of his writing more extensively about his time in Vietnam. Then while attending a Memorial Day Service in 2014, the thought came to him: “It’s time.” He’d done a lot of writing for his academic studies, and even had a few poems published in The Collegian at UT. Aside from that he hadn’t written much. He struggled with the form the book would take: A memoir? A narrative? Hunt said the problem was that his memories were fragmented and insufficient to support a continuous story. So he turned back to Meghan’s 1998 assignment. He decided he’d write the book as extended series of answers to her queries. The result is a portrait on one soldier’s time at war set against a historical backdrop delivered in clear, straightforward prose. He gives a sense of the mundane as well as those vivid moments of terror. Hunt explains that as a teenager he supported the war, buying into the argument that the Communists had to be stopped in Vietnam. He didn’t buy into it enough to enlist, instead he was drafted. He had been accepted at Bowling Green State University, but questioned his readiness for college. He ended up in the First Infantry Division, the “Big Red One,” serving in the 121st Signal Battalion. He was in country from July 1968 to July, 1969. Two months of that time he…


Youngsters share the stories of Hispanic heroes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Joan Medina was a little intimidated by portraying his character during the Celebrate Dia! literacy program Monday evening. Medina was called on to portray Cesar Chavez, “an icon in the culture.” Nerves or not, the 17-year-old Penta student, dressed in a white shirt, stood up and told the farm labor leader’s story, first in English and then in Spanish. He was proud to do it. Chavez fought for the rights of farm workers, but he did so non-violently, inspired by the methods of Gandhi. “He showed that people are people, and they deserve to be treated fairly.” Medina said. He was one of eight young people, portraying seven notable Latino figures at the Wood County District Public Library. El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Dy) is a national event initiated by the American Library Association. Children’s Librarian Maria Simon said she was grateful the library could hold its own celebration in partnership with La Conexion. This is the fifth year the library has hosted the celebration. Each year a book is selected to build the program around. This year it was “Bravo!” written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Beatriz Maya, the director of La Conexion, said the event was a way to help young people learn more about their Hispanic heritage and then to share it with the community. Also, some may be encouraged to learn or maintain their Spanish when they see their peers using it in their presentations, she said. The figures offered a wide range of characters from a diplomat to a baseball star to, fittingly given the setting, a librarian. Beside Medina’s portrayal of Chavez, other presentations were: Adolfo Martinez Alba portrayed Juan de Miralles, a Spanish messenger to the early American Congress. Shanaia Cellis portrayed Juana Briones, a Mexican rancher and healer. Jonathan Ortega portrayed Louis Agassiz Fuertes, an ornithologist and painter. Eduardo Matta portrayed Arnold Rojas, who chronicled the life and lore of the California vaquero, or cowboy. Ivan Ortega portrayed Baseball Hall of Famer and humanitarian Roberto Clemente. Francis Chavez and Jessica Jurka who portrayed Pure Bulpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library. Cellis, a 13-year-old student at St. Aloysius School, said she was excited to present the story of Juana Briones. She was inspired how Briones was able to endure despite hardships. When Briones’ soldier husband was abusive, she left him and started her own ranch. When northern California came under US control, she had to fight a prolonged legal battle to maintain ownership. “She was independent,” the teen said. This was Cellis’ third year participating in Celebrate Dia! Previously she danced and sang. Medina, who was participating for the first time, said he enjoyed the event. There were cookies afterward, but more importantly, ‘there is such a sense of community.”


Tuskegee Airman fought for U.S., against segregation

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   During World War II, black pilots weren’t allowed to fly with whites in the U.S. Army Air Force. When they returned from war, those same black pilots weren’t allowed to fly commercial airlines. As a Tuskegee Airman, one of the first places Dr. Harold Brown experienced true integration was in a German prisoner of war camp. There, he starved behind the barbed wire right along with the white POWs. Brown, who now lives in Port Clinton, flew 30 missions as a fighter pilot before being shot down over Germany. He spoke Friday during Bowling Green’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King program that had been delayed due to bad weather earlier this year. Brown, now 93, is the focus of the book, “Keep Your Airspeed Up,” written by his wife, Dr. Marsha Bordner. The book follows her husband’s life as a black man growing up in America, as one of the famous Tuskegee Airmen, and as a college administrator. Brown’s parents fled Alabama during the great migration of black Americans headed north in search of less segregated lives. They ended up in Minnesota, where Brown grew up in a neighborhood of people who were Jewish, Swedish, Polish and Latino. It was there that Brown’s dream to fly was born. “When I was in the sixth grade, I woke up one day and decided I wanted to fly airplanes,” he said. He began building models and repeatedly read a library book on flight. “I almost memorized it,” he said. At age 16, Brown saved up $35 and took flying lessons. Other kids ridiculed his dream. “They won’t even let you wash an airplane, let alone fly an airplane,” he was told. But it turned out his country needed him at age 17, when WWII started.  Even then, the rules were different. Brown passed the test for the reserves – which protected white men from the draft. “I had to wait and sweat it out,” he said. When he told his mom that he was headed to Mississippi for military training, “it got interesting,” Brown said. His parents had fled that part of the country, where segregation was the tradition and the law. His mom warned him how to behave, with plenty of “Yes mams” and “No sirs.” It didn’t take Brown long to realize his mom was right, when he encountered different services for “white” and “colored” people as soon as he got off the train. “This is what Mom was talking about,” he said. There, Brown was trained as part of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. “We were the best kept secret in the Air Force. Nobody ever heard of us,” he said. The tragedy is now that many people know about the black fighter pilots, few of the men are still around to be recognized, he said. “The number of us are dwindling so rapidly,” Brown said. The Tuskegee Airmen were trained on a segregated base in Alabama. “I can’t think of a better example of encouragement for a youngster,” he said. “They rose above all the obstacles. Now we’re in some of the history books.” Brown flew 30 missions as a fighter pilot. One of his first scares came when he couldn’t give up his pursuit of a German fighter and his…