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Advertise on the Tentacle

June 29, 2011

Firing Up Independence Day

Norman M. Covert

Frederick will offer several possibilities this weekend for you and your family to join in celebrating our 235th Independence Day. A favorite is the 17th Annual Celebration hosted Monday by Col. James Olson (USA–ret.) and his family at their ranch on Angleberger Road near Lewistown.


Everyone is invited to celebrate the day and honor “Patriots of the U. S. Armed Services from past to present wars, who have bravely served our country; and gave their lives.”


“Please bring your favorite breakfast food to share!” Colonel Olson says in his flyer. A variety of cooking fires and grills will be ready to help prepare your “casserole, eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, rolls, hams …” It is a huge breakfast picnic!


It begins at 8 A.M. and concludes about 11. In the middle you’ll eat, be treated and inspired. It is casual clothing, period costume and creative outfits that recall July 4, 1776.


Here’s part of what he has on this year’s agenda:


Opening Flag Raising Ceremony by the Fort Detrick Honor Guard; Local war veterans will give brief recollections of their service and experience; Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R., MD); President Brent Belliston, of the Maryland Baltimore Mission; George Wunderlich, of the Civil War Medical Museum, Frederick, will talk about "Our Flag:" Thomas Jefferson will make an appearance; King George will also appear to give his side of the story.


At this writing, Colonel Olson has not announced his keynote speaker, who in past events has been a senior military officer or other nationally known speaker.


Historical re-enactors, including French and Indian War Interpreter Raleigh Boaze, have been invited to give their living history.


Among the games and contests will be a Best Dressed competition.


Musical fare will include:  Recording Artist “Necie;” Logan Lucas; Pipes and Drums; Solid Ground Band, and others.


Jim Olson’s Eastern "ranch" pales in comparison to the size and scope of the one he was born and reared on in Utah. That doesn’t matter. It becomes a matter of context for him, since he doesn’t “ride the range” anymore.


He was retired from the U.S. Army after a career spanning more than 30 years. He held key Army Medical Service Corps positions worldwide and at Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC). One of his last active duty positions was commander of the Army Medical Materiel Agency at Fort Detrick.


He recently returned to Fort Detrick to serve as civilian chief of staff for the medical devices research team.


The Olson’s Independence Day tradition began in 1994. Jim convinced his friends and colleagues at church and in the community to gather for a pot-luck breakfast. He would have the fires started and grills ready to cook a variety of breakfast viands from sausage, bacon and ham to his Utah flapjacks and huevos rancheros. He promised an old-fashioned celebration with music and entertainment.


It was a huge success.


He has drawn on military resources in Washington, DC, for past events, bringing in military marching units from all services and musical ensembles to the military bands.


It is a treat for the entire family and fully in keeping with the traditions of Independence Day.


To get to the Olson Ranch (11761 Angleberger Road, Thurmont, MD), turn right on Angleberger Road off US 15N. Drive two miles (do not take the right turn at sign into Lewistown!); turn right into the driveway, park in the field on the left.


What a way to start the day!


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