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  • DR. BODO OTTO (1711–1787) was a Senior Surgeon of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He was one of the early settlers of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, emigrating from Germany in 1755.

    During the Revolution the Second Continental Congress appointed Otto to establish a military hospital in Trenton, New Jersey for the treatment of smallpox. He was present during the Battle of Long Island in 1776. He was also assigned to the Continental hospital at Valley Forge and located in the Uwchlan Meetinghouse. Later during the Revolution, Otto was put in charge of the hospitals in Yellow Springs (in what is now Chester Springs, Pennsylvania), where the ill soldiers from Valley Forge were treated.

    His three sons were also physicians for the Army, and assisted him as Junior Surgeon and Surgeon Mates.

    Otto did not retire from his Army service until the age of 70.

    Prior to the Revolution Otto publicly opposed the Stamp Act and also served on the Berks County Committee of Public Safety.

    Some of his medical training he received at the University of Göttingen. Bodo used Trinity Lutheran Church in Reading as a hospital to treat wounded soldiers from the Battle at Brandywine.

    Otto died in 1787 and was buried in Reading, Pennsylvania at the Trinity Lutheran Church (where he was a member) Cemetery. Many of his surgical instruments as well as a portrait of him and his wife are in the collection of the Historical Society of Berks County in Reading, PA.

    * Source: Wikipedia

    I MUST HAVE passed this truncated-obelisk-shaped memorial marker at least a thousand times in the ten-plus years I’ve walked through the Trinity Lutheran Church grounds to my office on my way from the lot where I park my car. An acquaintance of mine, who taught me a lot about mindfulness, paying attention, and living in the moment, used to say, “Stand still and look, until you really see.”

    Photography is an optimal tool in this discipline — provided the photographer looks through the viewfinder carefully, and comes to understand the subject matter with more attention than it takes to grab a quick snapshot.

    So, this morning, when I passed the good Dr. Otto’s final resting place, I paused to observe it with more than just a passing glance, and then went online to learn a bit more about who this guy was.

    Here are some images.

    Ain’t education wonderful? It can fill a lifetime — and enrich it.
  • A MEDALLION from the Society of the Cincinnati, which is the namesake of the Ohio town on the Kentucky border. Cincinnatus was the citizen-soldier in ancient Rome who left his farm to serve as Magister Populi, a wartime post conferring near-absolute political and military power. After the war, he returned power to the Senate of Rome, and went back to farming.

    Membership in the Society originated with the senior officer corps of the Continental Army. George Washington was the first president. Today membership is strictly passed from father to eldest son both here and in France. But for one cousin who sneaked in ahead of me, I might have been a member. But close only counts in horseshoes, they say!

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