Flag ceremony honors Cold War vet
MOUNT CARMEL - The Mount Carmel Area Joint Veterans Committee held its 453rd "Changing of the Colors" flag ceremony Sunday, April 27, at the flag pole of the Susquehanna Bank in honor and memory of a veteran of the Cold War.
Robert Jerome Wydra was born in Mount Carmel Oct. 23, 1932, a son of Enoch and Cecilia (Klepacki) Wydra. He was a 1950 graduate of Mount Carmel High School, and graduated from the Franklin Institute of Technology as an X-ray technician.
Wydra entered the U.S. Army March 24, 1953, at Harrisburg and was honorably discharged as a corporal March 16, 1955, at Fort George G. Meade, Md. A light vehicle driver, he served in Korea with the 21st Transportation Car Company. He received the following medals: National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. Total service to his country was 1 year, 11 months, 23 days, of which foreign service was 9 months, 24 days.
On April 24, 1965, he married the former Eleanor Feudale at Our Mother of Consolation Church, Mount Carmel.
Wydra was employed at Danville State Hospital, where he retired. He was a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Marion Heights, and American Legion Post 231, Kulpmont.
Wydra died March 11, 1992, and is buried in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cemetery, Marion Heights. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife, a son, a daughter, and three sisters.
The flag that was flown for the past month was in honor and memory of Ralph Thomas Kaserman, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. 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 and Candelora. The flag was presented to Kaserman's daughter, Carol Gallagher, by Walter Summers.
The Wydra flag was escorted to the ceremony by Connie Andrews and was presented by Wydra's son, Robert, to Summers. The flag was raised by Candelora as the National Anthem was played. David Berezovske read the military records of both veterans. Summers led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance and the ceremony ended with a silent salute to all veterans. Summers thanked the families of both veterans and those in attendance for their participation.
Larry Lasko carried the American flag and the rifle escort was provided by Charles Noskoviak and Norman Nye. Joseph Lutcavage provided traffic control. Also participating in the ceremony were Helen Harsh, past national president for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary, and Andrew Lukoskie.
The Susquehanna Bank was thanked for displaying Wydra's name on its message board.
The next flag ceremony will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at Second and Oak Streets when the flag will be raised in honor and memory of John R. Scott, who served in the Pennsylvania Cavalry during the Civil War. Area veterans and the public are invited to attend.