Looking Back: Franklin County’s history Sept 9th

Franklin County’s history

Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on Sept 9th.

25 Years Ago

September 9, 1996 –  Sunday

“Bosnian family joins community with ‘the clothes on their backs”

Nermin and Haseda Sarajlija sit on the front steps of their new Chambersburg home with their three children, from left to right, Mustafa, 6, Rijana, 9, and Ramela, 7. The Bosnian Muslim family endured concentration and refugee camps in war-torn Bosnia before reaching the United States.

Chambersburg –  When a Bosnian family left their war-torn country this summer for Chambersburg, they brought with them two duffel bags, two suitcases and hope for a new life.

Nermin Sarajlija, his wife, Haseda, and their three children Rijana, 9, Remela, 7, and Mustafa, 6, now live in an apartment at 416 W. King St. Five Lutheran churches are sponsoring the Muslim family.

They can apply for U.S. citizenship after five years.

Since they arrived in mid-July, 50 church volunteers have done everything from painting the house to bringing cooked meals.  Nermin has a job at Greencastle Metal Works Inc., and the children attend school.

“We feel sympathetic toward refugees so we are willing to help get them settled in the United States if we can,” said Monna Mumper, of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chambersburg.

Foreign families can enter the country only if a group sponsors them. Church members have found the family a house, bought furniture and other housewares, and paid three months rent.

The other participating churches are Second Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chambersburg; Salem Lutheran Church, Marion; St. Paul Lutheran Church, Fayetteville; and Trinity Lutheran Church, Greencastle.

Only Nermin can speak English, but the Sarajlijas often sit on their front porch and share pictures, food and drinks with their neighbors. Nermin helps coach youth soccer, which Mustafa plays.

“I’m very proud of these people and I think if you would talk to people in this neighborhood you would be amazed to see how many friends they have made,” said John Hull, a next-door neighbor.

Nermin, 32, and his family lived in the west Bosnian town of Velika Kladusa.  Nermin, a soldier in the Bosnian Army for three years, once found himself aiming his rifle at his brother during a Muslim-against-Muslim battle.

 Bosnia is a triangular republic about half the size of Kentucky. Civil war between the Muslim-controlled Bosnian Army and rebel Serbs broke out in 1992.

United Nations peacekeeping troops now patrol the area.

When civil war erupted in their hometown in 1993, the Sarajlija family fled to a Croatian concentration camp for six months.  They left there and spent the next 1 1/2 years in a refugee camp.

“This is a very difficult life in concentration camp.  Little food.  We sleep in a tent,” said Nermin, who has been studying English for a year.

In the refugee camp, the Sarajlijas shared a room with 25 people and anxiously waited for the day they could come to the United States.

“They came mostly with the clothes on their backs and pictures from their home,” Mumper said.

The family lived with Mumper for two weeks while their apartment was being renovated.  Shortly after they arrived, Monna asked Nermin:  “Was it difficult to come to a new land?”

“Oh no.  We now have peace,” Nermin said.

 Because Nermin doesn’t have a car or driver’s license, church members take him to work every morning at 6:30 and pick him up in the afternoon.  Hull often drives the family to soccer practice.

“This is a deserving family that needed a little bit of a break,” Hull said. “It’s another chance.  It’s a return to normalcy.”  

There are at least five other Bosnian families living in Franklin County, but the Sarajlijas have not met them.

Nermin thanks the many volunteers who have made his family feel at home.

“Thank you, everybody. Thank you, Chambersburg,” he said.

50 Years Ago

Sept 9, 1971 – Thursday

“3,502 Students in Tuscarora”

Total registration for the first day of school in Tuscarora School District was 3,502, an increase of 17 over the last day of school in the last term.   

Frederick K. Krauss, superintendent, reported only minor first-day problems, normal with each new term, despite the double sessions instituted.

Registration at James Buchanan High School, Grades 9 12, was 952; Middle School, Grades six, seven and eight, 826.

Registration at the four elementary schools, with kindergarten through Fifth grades, was Mercersburg, 333; Montgomery 437; Mountain View, 430, and St. Thomas, 524.

100 Years Ago

September 9, 1921 –

“Miss Eyster gets valuable gifts; hears of missions”

Joys and hardships mostly Joys of missionary life in India. That was the prevailing note of the address given last night In the First Lutheran Church by Miss Tillie Nelson of Washington. D. C. returned mint nonary.

The occasion was a reception to Miss Marlon Eyster of East Queen street, who leaves on October 11 for the Lutheran mission field In India.

Miss Eyster was presented with a trunk, by the Women’s Missionary Society, and the David Day Bible Class, a steamer blankets by the T. H. P. Missionary Society, a kodak by the Light Brigade and Miss Margaret Snyder, teacher of the Sunday school claes of which Mis Eyster is a member, announced that a Bible would be added to the collection of present.

The Rev. H. B. Stock of Stock of Carlisle  president of the Central Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church among the speakers of the evening.  Mrs. George Immel Jr. of East King was soloist.


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