MOUNT CARMEL - The Mount Carmel Area Joint Veterans Committee held its monthly "Changing of the Colors" flag ceremony on April 18 in honor and memory of a veteran of the Korean War.

Robert P. Stief was born in Mount Carmel June 5, 1933, a son of George W. and Margaret (Phillips) Stief. He was a 1952 graduate of Mount Carmel High School.

Stief entered the U.S. Army May 27, 1953 and was discharged May 26, 1955, at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland as a private first class. He served in Korea with headquarters in the First Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment as a cook.

Stief received the following medals: National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, and Good Conduct Medal. Total length of service to his country was two years with one year of foreign service. Following his active duty, he was transferred to the Army Reserves.

With his now-late brother, George Stief, he was co-owner of P.A. Stief and Sons clothing store in Mount Carmel until the building was destroyed by a fire July 4, 1993. He was a member of Knights of Columbus Bishop Lawrence F. Schott Council 628 and Assembly 959, Anthracite Steam Fire Company No. 1, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2110, American Legion Post 91, Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge 356, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, all of Mount Carmel.

Stief was married to the former Monica Neary April 9, 1994, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church. She preceded him in death Oct. 26, 2000. Stief died Dec. 28, 2009, and is buried in Saint Mary's Cemetery, Beaverdale.

A brother, John P. Stief, served with the U.S. Army Air Corps and died during World War II on December 5, 1942.

The flag that was flown for the past month was in honor and memory of Stanley W. Barto, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. When the Barto flag was lowered, it was folded by William Begis and Vincent Giacomini and presented to his companion Gloria Slater by Walter Summers. The Stief flag was presented to Summers by a nephew, William Stief, for raising. It was escorted to the ceremony by Barbara Stief and Ann Ray Begis. William Begis raised and lowered both flags.

The honor guard consisted of American flag carrier Charles Noskoviak; Marine Corps flag carrier, Dennis Kropowski and rifle carriers Andrew Bubnis and Anthony Candelora. "Taps" was sounded on the bugle by Ben Frank when the Barto flag was lowered and the National Anthem was played during the raising of the Stief flag. David Berezovske read the military records of both veterans. Following a playing of "Amazing Grace." the ceremony was closed with a silent salute to all deceased veterans. Traffic control was provided by James Kealy and Thomas Shimko. Summers thanked the families of Barto and Stief for their participation in the ceremony.

Summers read a thank you card to the committee that was received from Gloria Slater. A plaque was received from Walt Burnet, who is with the funeral detail at Fort Indiantown Gap and was presented to Giacomini by Summers. The plaque recognized the honor guard for its participation in military funerals.

The next flag ceremony will be on Sunday, May 23 when the flag will be raised in honor and memory of Civil War veteran John Penman.

The committee will meet at 7:30 p.m. today at VFW Post 2110 home. Preparations for the Memorial Day holiday and election of officers will be held at this time. All organizations are asked to send representatives.