Flag ceremony honors World War II veteran
MOUNT CARMEL - The Mount Carmel Area Joint Veterans Committee helds its 437th Changing of the Colors flag ceremony Dec. 16 in honor and memory of William S. Whitmore, an area soldier of Americas's "greatest generation."
Whitmore was born Feb. 7, 1924, in Shamokin, a son of William and Bertha (Souden) Whitmore. He was a 1941 graduate of Shamokin High School.
Whitmore entered the U.S. Army May 29, 1943, in Harrisburg, and was honorably discharged as a corporal on Jan. 6, 1946, at Unit B Separation Center No. 45, Indiantown Gap Military Reservation.
A marksman with the Mi Garard rifle serving in Battery D, 795th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, he received the following medals: Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Europe-Africe-Middle East Service Medal (with four bronze stars for the Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe campaigns) and the World War II honorable discharge lapel button.
Total service to his country was two years, seven months and 15 days, of which foreign service was one year, eight months and 25 days.
Whitmore was married by the Rev. Harold Frye at Trinity Lutheran Church, Shamokin, on Sept. 17, 1949, to the former Martha E. Greenman.
He was employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as a caseworker and by Jones Hardware, Shamokin, as a clerk. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Brotherhood and a former member of the Shamokin Cemetery Board, all of Shamokin.
Whitmore died Sept. 4, 2012, and is buried in the Shamokin Cemetery. He is survived by two daughters, 10 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
The flag that was flown for the past month was in honor and memory of David Peter Barvitskie, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. "Taps" was sounded on the bugle by Ann Ray Begis while the flag was lowered by Walter Summers. The flag was folded by Andrew Bubnis and Summers and presented to Barvitskie's wife, Bernadette, by Summers.
The Whitmore flag was escorted to the ceremony by Summers and raised by Anthony Candelora while the national anthem was played. David Berezovske read the military records of both veterans. Summers led those present in reciting the Lord's Prayer and the singing of "God Bless America."
The ceremony ended with a silent salute to all veterans. Summers thanked the families and friends of the families for their participation. Berezovske asked all to keep veterans in their thoughts and prayers and to also pray for the victims and families in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Charles Noskoviak carried the American flag. The rifle escort was provided by William Begis and Bubnis. James Kealy provided traffic control. Also participating was Dick Amershek.
The next flag ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the flag pole of the Susquehanna Bank, Second and Oak streets, where the flag will be raised in honor of Paul Jerome Saukaitis, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.