MOUNT CARMEL - Mount Carmel Joint Veterans Committee held its 449th Changing of the Colors flag ceremony Dec. 15 at the Susquehanna Bank flag pole in honor and memory of Leonard Sahonick, a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Sahonick was born Oct. 20, 1936, at Shamokin State General Hospital, a son of Oscar and Florence (Burkoski) Sahonick. He was a 1955 graduate of Coal Township High School.

Sahonick entered the U.S. Army in 1956 and retired July 31, 1976, at Fort Carson, Colo. A senior staff sergeant, Sahonick served in Vietnam from July 5, 1972, to March 28, 1973. He received the following medals: National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Good Conduct Medal with first through fifth awards, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze service star, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm, Bronze Star Medal and meritorious unit citation. Total service to the country was 20 years, 15 days, with foreign service of 9 months, 25 days.

He was married to the former Margaret R. Reichwein, who preceded him in death July 27, 2001.

Sahonick was a member of the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2110, both of Mount Carmel, and the Brady Fire Company, Ranshaw.

Sahonick died Feb. 14, 2013, and is buried in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville. He is survived by two sons, a stepdaughter and a stepson, seven grandchildren and his best friend, Betty Jarosiewicz.

The flag that was flown for the past month was in honor and memory of Charles Kent, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Taps was played on the bugle by Ann Ray Regis as the flag was lowered by Anthony Candelora. The flag was folded by William Begis, James Kealy and Candelora, and was presented to Kaylea Sahonick by Walter Summers.

The Sahonick flag was escorted to the service by Candelora and was presented to Summers by Sahonick's daughter-in-law, Heather Sahonick. Candelora raised the flag as the national anthem was played. Berszovske read the military records of both veterans.

The 69th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge which began Dec. 16, 1944, was noted, and those in attendance were asked to remember all veterans who served in World War II.

The ceremony ended with a silent salute to all veterans. Summers thanked the families and friends of both veterans in attendance for their participation in the ceremony.

Larry Lasko carried the American flag, and the rifle escort was provided by Norman Nye and William Begis. Kealy provided traffic control.

The Susquehaanna Bank was thanked for displaying Sahonick's name on its message board.

The next flag ceremony, the 450th, will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at Second and Oak streets, where the flag will be raised in honor and memory of John F. Shimock Jr., who served in the Navy during World War II.