My Corner, Your Corner: Those who served and those who wish they had

My Corner, Your Corner - Tony Callaio

Veterans Day is a day of patriotism and a day to thank and honor our veterans who helped make this nation great.

We honor veterans with parades and ceremonies all over the country and for me, it’s a day were I have mixed emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I love our country and I get misty-eyed with I hear the National Anthem and I admire and respect any person that has served in the military.

I grew up in a conflict-free era. There were no wars globally, the draft had been abolished, and living during peacetime, there wasn’t a push for the military. Consequently, I ended up going to college, got married and started a family.

I did not follow the footsteps of my brother or my dad and his brothers. Honestly, I feel somewhat guilty on Veterans Day that I did not serve my country. I often wonder if I am the only one that feels that way.

I’m not sure why I didn’t enlist; my father not only did two tours in Korea, but he ended up working at Tobyhanna Army Depot most of his career until discovering he had Alzheimer’s disease in his early 50s. My sister worked at the Depot, as did her late husband, a cousin, and even my brother.

With so many family members involved in the government, it is interesting I did not follow that path. It may be one of my biggest regrets in life.

Honoring a local hero

On Wednesday, Pittston Area School District honored former state Rep. Tom Tigue of Hughestown. Tom’s military career is quite extraordinary. He served our country in the U.S. Marine Corps where he earned the Silver Star Medal. That honor has been bestowed upon 100,000 to 150,000 soldiers out of the millions that served in the military since an Act of Congress established the award in 1918.

Tommy Tigue from the little town of Hughestown was responsible for keeping 50 men alive each and every day while in Vietnam. That is an overwhelming responsibility and Tom did it well.

There is a plot of land in front of the Pittston Area Primary Center where the current flagpole stands. The flagpole will carry retired Col. Tom Tigue’s name, and there are plans to construct a park that will honor those from the school district that have served our country. Once completed, it will be called Col. Tom Tigue Heroes Park.

I cannot think of a more fitting honor for Tom. His love for this country and flag is immense and knowing how much the U.S. flag and the treatment of the flag are so important to him makes this park a perfect setting in his name.

Granted, if anyone knows Tom personally, you know he’s not much for self-gratification. In fact, he shuns it and as he made note during the ceremony, he is thrilled that other veterans from Pittston Area will be honored justly when the park is completed.

Not all of his family could be present due to scheduling conflicts, but most notably missing was his late wife Dianne. Dianne passed away unexpectedly this past August at the age of 68. It was a shock to the family and it will take a very long time for them to accept it. Married for nearly 47 years, Dianne was by Tom’s side for all of his accomplishments.

Plans are on the drawing table for the Heroes Park and from the preliminary drawings I’ve seen; it’s going to be a spectacular place of honor and reflection. Look for further announcements over the next several months.

I know Tom is very excited about Heroes Park and again, not for him, but for his comrades in arms that served our great nation.

Quote of the week

“Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.” — St. Augustine, Roman Christian theologian.

Thought of the week

“The best protection any woman can have… is courage.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American pioneer for women’s rights.

Bumper sticker

“The secret of art is love.” – Antoine Bourdelle, French sculptor.

My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at

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