Mount Carmel veterans salute Korean War veteran with flag raising
MOUNT CARMEL - The Mount Carmel Area Joint Veterans Committee held its 438th Changing of the Colors flag ceremony Jan. 20 at the Susquehanna Bank flag pole in honor and memory of a Korean War veteran.
Born in Mount Carmel, Aug. 21, 1930, Paul Jerome Saukaitis was a son of John and Mary (Hudock) Saukaitis, and was a graduate of Mount Carmel High School.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Jan. 10, 1951, at Baltimore, Md., and was honorably discharged as a seaman Dec. 7, 1954, at U.S. Naval Registration Station, San Francisco, Calif.
Saukaitis served aboard the USS Oriskany-CVA 34, a Ticonderoga Class aircraft carrier, during the Korean War, and earned the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Medal, China Service Medal and Navy Occupation Medal.
Total service to his country was three years, 10 months, 28 days, of which foreign service totaled three years, eight months.
On July 6, 1957, at Our Mother of Consolation Church, Mount Carmel, he married the former Catherine Mirarchi. Together with his wife, they were proprietors of Barkers Bakery in Mount Carmel for almost 50 years before retiring in 2009.
Saukaitis was a member of Divine Redeemer Church, the former Holy Cross Church, American Legion Post 91, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2110, all of Mount Carmel; Fountain Springs Country Club and Lithuanian Knights and was past president of Mount Carmel Rotary Club.
He died Dec. 11, 2012, and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Mount Carmel Township. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter and a granddaughter.
The flag flown the previous month was done so in honor and memory of William S. Whitmore, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Taps was played on bugle by Ann Ray Begis as the flag was lowered by Anthony Candelora. The flag was folded by Begis, William Begis and Candelora.
The Saukaitis flag was escorted to the service by Andrew Bubnis. The flag was presented by Saukaitis' wife, Catherine, to Bubnis. Candelora raised the flag as "The Star-Spangled Banner" was played. David Berezovske read the military records of both veterans. Bubnis led everyone in reciting "The Lord's Prayer." The ceremony ended with a silent salute to all veterans. Bubnis thanked the families and friends of both veterans in attendance for their participation in the ceremony.
Charles Noskoviak carried the American flag, and James Kealy provided traffic control.
The next flag ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Feb. 24 at Second and Oak streets. Area veterans and the public are invited to attend.