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Also, it is still suffering from the numerous negative influences of World War I.

One of those negativities was the prejudicial or biased opinions that arose in American society with regard to the German culture and its language.

They may read about a prophecy of the groundhog regarding the length or brevity of the winter season, as well as its severity.

They may even think it is sheer stupidity to venerate a stuffed animal as the symbol of a lodge. Using animals for weather prognostication purposes is a deeply rooted, worldly and socially accepted tradition, dating back to prehistoric and ancient civilizations.

Throughout the first 53 years or activities, each lodge conducted their cultural program plans and other activities independently from the other lodges.

It was not until 1987, that any effort was made for some form of consolidation of the 17 lodges to provide more and better services for the preservation of the Pennsylvania culture and dialect.

Something had to be done to restore honor and ethnic pride for the Pennsylvania German culture and dialect. "Pumpernickel Bill" was a longtime Pennsylvania German journalist employed by the Allentown Morning Call where he wrote a weekly ethnic column that mirrored, in a humorous manner, the foibles, the shortcomings and eccentricities of society. Their discussions led them to the formation of a Groundhog Lodge with the groundhog becoming its symbolic, tongue in-cheek exalted leader.

Within a short time other lodges began to organize with a similar format to the one used in Lodge #1.

Roman legions, as they spread their influence into England and Northern Europe, brought the tradition with them.

In Germany, the small, clawing, burrowing badger has been the traditional weather prognosticator for centuries.

Probably its most crowning achievements have been its assistance in developing the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center on the Kutztown University Campus, and providing assistance to the university's administration in establishing an accredited Pennsylvania German Dialect course to its curricular offerings.

Those several Pennsylvania German gentlemen, who had gathered on March 13, 1933 to protect, preserve and perpetuate their besieged ethnic heritage, must be looking down from their eternal resting place chuckling with satisfaction and thanking those of us who are still carrying forth the torch for their concerns.

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