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    IT was not "good morning" in Johnstown nor "good night" that passed as a salutation between neighbors who meet for the first time since the deluge, but "How many of your folks gone?" It is always "folks," always "gone." You heard it everywhere among the crowds that thronged the viaduct and looked down upon the ghastly twenty acres of unburied dead, from which dynamite was making a terrible exhumation of the corpses of two thousand mortals and five hundred houses. You heard it at the rope bridge, where the crowds waited the passage of the incessant file of empty coffins. You heard it upon the steep hillside beyond the valley of devastation, where the citizens of Johnstown had fled into the borough of Conemaugh for shelter. You heard it again, the first salutation, whenever a friend, who had been searching for his dead, met a neighbor: "Are any of your friends gone?"
    It was not said in tears or even seemingly in madness. It had simply come to be the "how-


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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen