MOUNT CARMEL - The Mount Carmel Area Joint Veterans Committee held its 457th Changing of the Colors flags ceremony at the flag pole at Susquehanna Bank Aug. 17 in honor and memoery of a World War II veteran.

Charles Chidovich was born in Centralia Sept. 22, 1917, a son of George and Mary Chidovich. A 1938 graduate of Mount Carmel High School, he spent his early years on his parents' farm in Numidia.

Chidovich entered the U.S. Army May 9, 1941, at New Cumberland, and was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant Oct. 18, 1945, at the Separation Center, Indiantown Gap Military Reservation. He received his basic training at Pine Camp, N.Y., with additional training in Tennessee and California.

Serving with Company A, 24th Armored Engineer Battalion, 4th Armored Division, he left the U.S. Dec. 29, 1943, arrived in England Jan. 10, 1944 and landed in France in July. He departed Europe Oct. 4, 1945, and arrived back in the U.S. Oct. 12, 1945.

He received the following awards: Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action Aug. 25, 1944, in France; Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal with five Bronze Stars for campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe; World War II honorable discharge pin, and marksman with the U.S. rifle carbine caliber 30.

His division received a presidential citation June 14, 1945, at Landshut, Germany, for which he received the distinguished service badge. Total service was four years, five months and 11 days, of which foreign service included one year, nine months and 14 days.

On Dec. 27, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, Chidovich and his platoon were assigned to clear the roads of mines near Livarchamps, Belgium. Observing that portions of the roads were under direct enemy observations and heavy artillery fire, he ordered his men to remain in a safe area. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Chidovich crawled into those areas and removed several mine fields. This brave decision was instrumental in saving many lives and enabled tanks to assist in the capture of Sainlez, which was then of great strategic importance. For his heroic action, Chidovich was awarded the Bronze Star.

On Nov. 24, 1945, he married the formed Mary Chudeovich at SS Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church in Centralia. She preceded him in death Feb. 1, 2011.

Chidovich was a retired coal miner. He was previously employed for the Tennessee Valley Authority, General Motors in Linden, N.J., and Baisley Construction.

He was a member of St. Michael's Orthodox Church and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2110, both of Mount Carmel, and American Legion Post 608, Wilburton.

Chidovich died Feb. 27, 2014, and is buried in St. Michael's Cemetery, Mount Carmel Township. He is survived by two sons, a granddaughter and a sister.

The flag that was flown for the past month was in honor and memory of Leonard John Bourinski, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Cold War era. Taps was sounded on the bugle by Ann Ray Begis as the flag was lowered by Anthony Candelora. The flag was folded by William Begis, James Kealy and Candelora, and was presented to Bourinski's son, Leonard, by Walter Summers.

The Chidovich flag was escorted to the ceremony by his son Charles and was blessed by Father Theophan Mackey of St, Michael's Orthodox Church prior to being raised. After the flag was raised by Candelora, Summers led those in attendance with the Pledge of Allegiance. David Berezovske read the military records of both veterans. Summers led all in singing "God Bless America" and Mackey led all in reciting the Lord's Prayer. The ceremony ended with a silent salute to all veterans. Summers thanked the families and those in attendance for their participation.

The American flag was carried by Connie Andrews, and the rifle escort was provided by William Begis and Candelora. Kealy provided traffic control.

The Susquehanna Bank was thanked for displaying Chidovich's name on its message board.

The next flag ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at Second and Oak streets for Robert Bell Fanella, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Area veterans and the public are invited.