Bryan Salzmann Honored as Speaker at Letterkenny Italian Chapel 9/11 Ceremony

Our own Bryan Salzmann was recently named the honored speaker at the 9/11 Ceremony at Letterkenny Chapel and Franklin County Veterans & 9/11 Memorial Park.

All members of the  public are invited to be part of the events this 9/11 weekend which specifically honor the Italian POWs who built the Chapel. 

At 9 AM, on Saturday, September 10, the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center will dedicate and officially open their exhibit, "Letterkenny World War II Italian Prisoner of War Experience", including more than 400 photos, excerpts from memoirs, and replicated documents. At 1:30 PM on Saturday, the Historic Letterkenny Chapel 77th Anniversary Celebration Program will be held, including dedication of memorials and gifts at Letterkenny Chapel.

At 1:30 PM on Sunday, September 11, Deacon G. Bryan Salzmann will deliver, "Reflecting on the 21st Anniversary of 9/11" at the 9/11 Ceremony at Letterkenny Chapel and Franklin County Veterans & 9/11 Memorial Park, followed by the Dedication of the Rev. Dr. William H. Harter Memorial Garden.

According to the Franklin County Visitors Bureau, the Letterkenny Chapel is an "out-of-the-ordinary piece of World War II history at Letterkenny Depot, one of 21 sites in the United States to house Italian prisoners of war."

The Visitors Bureau's original press release describes the history of the Chapel and its Italian founders: 

From May 1944 to October 1945, 1250 repatriated Italian prisoners lived and worked at Letterkenny Depot, ordering, stocking, and shipping military provisions and equipment to the Allied Forces in the Pacific and Europe. The men, who took an oath of allegiance to support the Allied efforts, were well-treated with ample food, good healthcare, and access to music, sports, and worship. Many created permanent bonds to the Chambersburg community. These men formed the 321st Quartermaster Battalion.

During the seventeen months at Letterkenny, the men of the 321st Quartermaster Battalion struggled with feelings of loneliness and concern for their families nearly 5000 miles and an ocean away. It was a difficult time. The men turned to their faith to guide them, seeking out counsel, who wisely suggested channeling the loneliness into beneficial tasks.

The men of the 321st Quartermaster Battalion designed and built Letterkenny Chapel, using the materials from the farmhouses, barns, and other structures razed to build Letterkenny Depot. On May 13, 1945, Msgr. Amleto Cicognani celebrated the Mass to consecrate Letterkenny Chapel. Today, the Italianate chapel stands as a lasting memory of the contributions of the men of the 321st Quartermaster Battalion.

Nearly 77 years later, a delegation of family and friends return to celebrate the men of the 321st Quartermaster Battalion and share their stories and memories--the beauty of the area, the kindness of the local residents, and their work to build the depot and Letterkenny Chapel.  

Read more about the weekend events in the news at the Public Opinion, Yahoo, the Herald Mail, and WFMZ-69