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News Release

Moravian to Celebrate Relocation of Revolutionary War Plaque

College joins with Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution and the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution

Bethlehem, Pa., November 10, 2004 -- Moravian College will join with Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution and the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution to celebrate the relocation of the historic bronze plaque, made in commemoration of the American Revolutionary War military. The special program will be held on Veteran’s Day, Saturday, November 13, at 10:30 a.m., at the Brethren’s House located on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus in Bethlehem. The plaque has been refurbished and permanently affixed to the exterior east wall of the historic Brethren’s House.

The program will begin with a welcome from Kimber D. Smith, president of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Virginia K. Murphy, chaplain of the Bethlehem Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution will give the invocation. Ervin J. Rokke, president of Moravian College, will follow with brief remarks. Historian Edward J Redding will discuss the historical significance of the plaque, the Brethren’s House.

The ceremony will then shift to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers located on First Avenue in Bethlehem. Kimber D. Smith and Margaret V. Graver, regent, Bethlehem Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will place a wreathe on the tomb. The 6th Pennsylvania Regiment will fire a volley and Virginia K Murphy will deliver a benediction.

The Brethren’s House which was the residence and craft center for single men during the colonial era was used as a Continental Army hospital during the Revolutionary War. Army doctors were understaffed and under-supplied ministering to the wounded and dying. The mortality rate was enormous and by the end of 1777 the typhoid fever epidemic had claimed its toll of hospital staff and townspeople as well. The hospital closed in April 1778.

A commemorative plaque to preserve the memory of the men who suffered and died in the Brethrens House when it was utilized as a military hospital, was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution, and unveiled with great ceremonies on June 19, 1897. It was placed on the front of Brethrens House facing Main Street. Sometime during the mid twentieth century, the tablet, which measures approximately 4 feet wide by 6 ½ feet high was removed to allow the installation of doors into Brethren’s House. In 1997, Moravian College set the concrete slab on the lawn behind the Brethren’s House.

Moravian College and the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution will celebrate the relocation of the plaque to the exterior east wall of Brethren’s House. It will serve as a reminder to honor the sacrifice made by the Continental Army soldiers and their comrades in Colonial Bethlehem, during the war for independence that gave birth to this great nation.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the web site at www.moravian.edu.