Changing of the Colors
MOUNT CARMEL - Mount Carmel Area Joint Veterans Committee held its 439th "Changing of the Colors" flag ceremony at the flag pole at the Susquehanna Bank in honor and memory of another veteran of America's greatest generation.
Michael R. Tanney Sr. was born Jan. 12, 1926, in Mount Carmel, a son of Stephen and Mary (Reveles) Tanney. He was a 1944 graduate of Mount Carmel Township High School.
A veteran of World War II, Tanney served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant with Company D, 30th Infantry Regiment. He received the Purple Heart for a wound he sustained in combat in Germany. He also received the following medals: Army Occupation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Europe-Africa-MIddle East Campaign Medal and the Army Good Conduct Medal. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
Tanney was married on July 6, 1979, in Bloomsburg to former Anna Skulskie.
A 50-year member, he retired as a pipefitter with Local 520.
Tanney was a member of Divine Redeemer Church and General James Gavin Chapter 655 Military Order of the Purple Heart, both of Mount Carmel, and American Legion Post 804, where he served as commander; the Atlas Fire Company, where he served president, and the former St. Paul Church, all of Atlas. He served as constable of elections in the Diamond District and served on the Mount Carmel Area School Board.
While in the service, Tanney boxed in the welterweight division, where he was known as "Iron Mike". He was later a sparring partner for heavyweight champion "Jersey" Joe Walcott and a bodyguard for the boxing association. He also pitched for Pinamonti Cafe softball team and coached the Atlas Fire Company girls softball team.
Tanney died March 9, 2003, and is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Beaverdale. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife, a daughter and son, a grandson, two granddaughters and a sister.
The flag that was flown for the past month was in honor and memory of Paul Jerome Saukaitis, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Taps was played on the bugle by Ann Ray Begis as the flag was lowed by Anthony Candelora. It was folded by William Begis, Ann Ray Begis and Candelora.
The Tanney flag was escorted to the service by Connie Andrews. It was presented to Walter Summers by Tanney's wife, Anna. Candelora raised the flag as the national anthem was played. David Berezovske read the military records of Saukaitis and Tanney. Summers led those in attendance in singing "God Bless America," and the ceremony ended with a silent salute to all veterans. Summers thanked the families and friends in attendance for their participation in the ceremony.
The American flag was carried by Charles Noskoviak and William Begis, and Berezovske served as the rifle escort. James Kealy provided traffic control.
The next flag ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at Second and Oak streets when the flag will be raised in honor and memory of Joseph M. Shamansky, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Area veterans and the public are invited to attend.