Ma­hanoy Area stu­dents honor vet­er­ans with spe­cial pro­gram

The Republican Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By JOHN E. USALIS

MA­HANOY CITY — Vet­er­ans were praised and ap­plauded Fri­day by the Ma­hanoy Area stu­dent body at a spe­cial Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram.

The morn­ing pro­gram was held in the Mickey Hol­land Gym­na­sium af­ter vet­er­ans were treated to a free break­fast in the large group in­struc­tion room. From there, the vet­er­ans walked out­side to the gym on walk­ways lined with Amer­i­can flags.

The gym was filled with more than 1,000 stu­dents as the vet­er­ans marched into the gym to pa­tri­otic mu­sic per­formed by the high school band un­der the di­rec­tion of Al­li­son Kline. Boy Scout Troop 725 led the vet­er­ans and pre­sented the colors. The Rev. Fred T. Craw­ford pro­vided the in­vo­ca­tion and spoke of walk­ing among the war memo­ri­als dur­ing vis­its to Wash­ing­ton, D. C., in­clud­ing the Viet­nam Vet­er­ans Memo­rial. The mod­er­a­tor was se­nior Cody Palu­bin­sky.

“There was time to search for names of peo­ple I knew from my home­town, from my col­lege days, names of peo­ple that were in­scribed in the pan­els of t he Viet­nam Memo­rial,” Craw­ford said. “But the dozen or so names that I know per­son­ally is a tiny per­cent­age of the 58,315 in­scribed there. In the early morn­ing there is time to look into the faces of the 19 stain­less steel stat­ues that rep­re­sent the squad on pa­trol some­where near the 38th Par­al­lel in Korea. And there is time to ab­sorb the ab­so­lute enor­mity of the World War II Memo­rial and what it rep­re­sented, not just for our na­tion but for our world. Those memo­ri­als are a re­minder, and un­for­tu­nately ad­di­tional memo­ri­als will some­day need to be built be­cause men and women to­day still con­tinue to serve in places across the globe, serv­ing our na­tion and pro­tect­ing our free­dom.”

The wel­come to the vet­er­ans was of­fered by stu­dent coun­cil Pres­i­dent Colin Fe­g­ley.

“Vet­er­ans, thank you for your ser­vice and sac­ri­fice,” Fe­g­ley said. “I would like to thank ev­ery­one for at­tend­ing this morn­ing’s pro­gram as we rec­og­nize true Amer­i­can pa­tri­ots. In our pres­ence to­day are real- life heroes for their un­yield­ing ser­vice to Amer­ica. Across this great coun­try and through­out the world, Amer­ica will pause this Sun­day to honor our brave ser­vice men and women, past and present, who for more than 242 years have se­cured our free­dom through their duty, honor and self­less ser­vice to our coun­try. We rec­og­nize that all of our vet­er­ans have sac­ri­ficed and given of them­selves for this great na­tion. We also ac­knowl­edge those who have given the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice of lay­ing down their lives to de­fend this na­tion, its peo­ple, and the lib­er­ties and free­doms that we hold so dear.”

Fe­g­ley called for a mo­ment of si­lence for those who gave their lives in the line of duty.

“We can­not do enough to re­pay the awe­some debt we owe to the countless num­ber of Amer­i­can vet­er­ans who chose to set aside their per­sonal am­bi­tions, their lives and their dreams to as­sure the well- be­ing of our great na­tion,” Fe­g­ley said.

Open­ing re­marks were made by Viet­nam War vet­eran Louis Huber, who is the chair­man of the Memo­rial Day Pa­rade Com­mit­tee.

“This is great. We have a lot of good peo­ple in here,” Huber said. “It’s amaz­ing. Just the re­spect that we got here and be­ing hon­ored like this is just too much. To all the vet­er­ans here, I’d like to thank them.”

The main speaker was Daniel Lynch, Bar­nesville, who is a grad­u­ate of the U.S. Mil­i­tary Academy at West Point, New York. He is the Ha­zle­ton city di­rec­tor of ad­min­is­tra­tion and for­mer Ma­hanoy City bor­ough man­ager. Lynch thanked ev­ery­one in the school dis­trict for rec­og­niz­ing and hon­or­ing vet­er­ans and the ser­vice they gave while in uni­form.

“The ap­pre­ci­a­tion you’ve shown us means an in­cred­i­ble amount to the men and women who served this coun­try ,” Lynch said. “Thank you for tak­ing that time to show ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the men and women who put their time and lives on the line with­out the prom­ise of that ap­pre­ci­a­tion. They did it for love of coun­try and that’s an im­por­tant thing. It’s im­por­tant that we have cit­i­zens who are will­ing to put their lives on the line in the name of free­dom, be­cause free­dom can’t stand up with­out peo­ple will­ing to do that. For free­dom to ex­ist it needs those who are will­ing to stand up. Vet­er­ans make in­cred­i­ble sac­ri­fices.”

Lynch said there are cer­tain qual­i­ties that de­fine a vet­eran. They are loy­alty, duty, re­spect, self­less ser­vice, honor, in­tegrity and per­sonal courage.

“It comes down to a love of coun­try, a love of free­dom, and a love of jus­tice,” Lynch said. “The men and women be­fore you, and all the men and women who are vet­er­ans, do this with­out the prom­ise of ap­pre­ci­a­tion or recog­ni­tion, as I said. That is why your ef­forts are so im­por­tant and so very much ap­pre­ci­ated.”

The band per­formed the “Ar med Forces March,” which was fol­lowed by the cho­rus sing­ing “God Bless the USA.”

Huber gave the clos­ing re­marks, ask­ing the vet­er­ans to rise and be rec­og­nized by ev­ery­one. When they rose, the stu­dents, fac­ulty and ad­min­is­tra­tion gave them a long and loud stand­ing ova­tion.

“That’s a lot of re­spect and a lot of love,” Huber said.

The pro­gram ended with the Boy Scouts re­tir­ing the colors, with the next stop at the Vet­er­ans Memo­rial at Cen­tre and Catawissa streets. The vet­er­ans gath­ered at the memo­rial and watched as the school band and stu­dents marched to the lo­ca­tion. Ma­hanoy Area United Vet­er­ans Pres­i­dent David Bick­owski di­rected the short event that in­cluded a pa­tri­otic song by the band, the plac­ing of the wreath at the memo­rial, a ri­fle salute by the honor guard and the play­ing of taps by Ma­hanoy Area sopho­more Noah Kar­nish.

The United Vet­er­ans will con­duct a Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram at the memo­rial at 11 a. m. Sun­day.

TOP: From left, Army vet­eran Ray Ko­stick, Ma­hanoy City, Air Force vet­eran Robert Ack­ell, Frackville, and Air Force vet­eran Louis Getz, New Bos­ton, place their hand over their heart while the na­tional an­them is played by the school band.


ABOVE: Colin Fe­g­ley, stu­dent coun­cil pres­i­dent, ob­serves a mo­ment of si­lence with the crowd dur­ing the Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram Fri­day at the Ma­hanoy Area Ed­u­ca­tion Com­plex in Ma­hanoy City.

Coast Guard and Army vet­eran Louis Huber, Ma­hanoy City, ad­justs a wreath at the Vet­er­ans Memo­rial dur­ing the Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram in Ma­hanoy City.


Dave Hol­man, as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Ma­hanoy Area High School and head foot­ball coach, right, shakes hands with Army vet­eran Fran­cis Ch­esko, 94, of Ma­hanoy City, dur­ing a break­fast Fri­day at the school be­fore a Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram at the Ma­hanoy Area Ed­u­ca­tion Com­plex in Ma­hanoy City. Ch­esko served in World War II.

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