Greater Pittston AMVETS hold Memorial Day program, present flags at Pittston Area High School


AMVETS hold Memorial Day ceremony, present flags

By Nick Wagner - nwagner@timesleader.com



AMVETS Post 189 Honor Guard Jim Loftus, right, and Tom Bufano, left, fold a flag as Jerry Gurnari of VFW Post 4909 reads a poem during a Memorial Day ceremony at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday.


Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area High School students listen to AMVETS Post 189 Cmdr. Bernie McDonald offer remarks at Charley Trippi Stadium during a Memorial Day ceremony on Thursday.


Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Master of Ceremonies Jerry Gurnari of Dupont VFW Post 4909 offers remarks at a Memorial Day ceremony at Pittston Area High School’s Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday afternoon.


Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area seniors Douglas Jumper, left, Eathan Brown, Kyle Petroski, Joe Szumski, and Ryan Davis lead in the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance.


Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

AMVETS Post 189 Cmdr. Bernie McDonald addresses Pittston Area High School students at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday.


Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area junior Michael Elko plays Taps during a Memorial Day ceremony at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday afternoon.


Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

The AMVETS Post 189 firing detail under the command of Joe Sylvester fires a salute during a Memorial Day ceremony at Pittston Area High School on Thursday.


Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area junior class president Michael Mazurkivich, left, senior class secretary Marley O’Brien, senior class treasurer Anna McDermott, and junior class vice president Hayley Farrell applaud the veterans at a Memorial Day ceremony at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday.


Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

WHAT DOES MEMORIAL DAY MEAN TO YOU?

Pittston Area seniors, who chose a career in the military, share their thoughts on Memorial Day:

Ryan Davis, U.S. Army ROTC: My father served in the military, and I couldn’t thank them enough for their service. I can’t wait to be part of something like this.

Joseph Scumski, U.S. Army: All of the veterans have risked their lives for our country. I’ll follow in their footsteps.

Kyle Petroski, U.S. Navy: Even though Monday is Memorial Day, to me every day is Memorial Day. These guys gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Douglas Jumper, U.S. Navy: Memorial Day is indescribable — knowing all of our veterans and active duty knowing they fought for someone. It’s incredible they are willing to do that.

Ethan Brown, U.S. Navy: There’s an enormous number of people who sacrificed for everything we have. I respect that.

YATESVILLE — Three days after Ethan Brown turned 17, he found himself in a military recruiting office. The Pittston Area senior is now a member of the U.S. Navy.

Brown and his fellow Pittston Area High School classmates attended a Memorial Day program presented by the Greater Pittston Earl F. Detweiler AMVETS Post 189 at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday afternoon. Brown, like many others in attendance, has a connection to Memorial Day because of his grandfather, Barry Brown.

Barry served as an Engineman in the U.S. Navy. Now, the younger Brown is following his grandfather’s footsteps and said the program Thursday meant everything to him and his fellow service men and women.

“This is a huge honor to respect all who have served,” Brown said. “There’s an enormous number of people who sacrificed for everything we have. I respect that.”

Since he was a child, Brown said his grandfather shared countless stories about his early days in the military. Brown said that’s why he wanted to join — the stories. He hopes to be part of an Honor Guard one day, much like the one seen at the program, which included a firing detail.

“There are so many memories I have from (my grandfather),” Brown said. “That’s why I’m here. This is incredible for everyone to get together from all different eras and times. This is supporting one common cause.”

Guest speaker for the event was Dupont resident Bernie McDonald, a Pittston Area graduate who was named the AMVETS State Commander last June. McDonald said he hasn’t been back to Pittston Area since he graduated in the 1970s.

On Monday, McDonald will be the principal speaker at the Dupont Memorial Day parade.

“It’s an awesome feeling to know where I came from and where I’m at now, to be a good influence on our kids,” he said. “The veterans are always here for them.”

McDonald respects the work of the young Pittston Area students, such as Brown, who have chosen a career in the military. When McDonald graduated from Pittston Area, choosing the military was much different than it is now, he said.

“It makes me proud that a school such as Pittston Area would encourage our kids to chose the military,” McDonald said. “There’s a lot of options the kids have that we didn’t have. There’s more of a benefit today and it’s an education.”

Thanks to state. Rep. Mike Carroll’s office, the AMVETS presented Pittston Area with two new American flags. A flag-folding ceremony took place and the flags were presented to the Pittston Area junior and senior class officers. One flag will fly at the football field and one will fly at the entrance to the school building.

As part of the program, four Pittston Area students were recognized for their work in the AMVETS Americanism Contest — an essay contest for school-aged students within the district. The ninth grade winner was Kearney Turant, who also picked up a second place finish in the state contest. In 10th grade, Cassandra Swingle won first place, and later placed second in the state. Kayla Hogan was the winner for the juniors, while Rachel Ferrance took first for the seniors and second in the state.

McDonald presented each with a pin for their achievements.

A flag was raised to open the ceremony in recognition to those on the Pittston Area staff who have served in the military. School maintenance worker Phil Pisano raised the flag.

Pittston Area junior Arianna Boccardi provided her rendition of the National Anthem. Pittston Area teacher Pam Kobierecki led the crowd in singing “God Bless America,” to which all students rose to join in. Junior bugler Michael Elko provided a rendition of “Taps.”

“This is an incredible feeling to come back here,” McDonald said. “This is why we celebrate Memorial Day.”

AMVETS Post 189 Honor Guard Jim Loftus, right, and Tom Bufano, left, fold a flag as Jerry Gurnari of VFW Post 4909 reads a poem during a Memorial Day ceremony at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_PSD052916MemorialDay_8.jpgAMVETS Post 189 Honor Guard Jim Loftus, right, and Tom Bufano, left, fold a flag as Jerry Gurnari of VFW Post 4909 reads a poem during a Memorial Day ceremony at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area High School students listen to AMVETS Post 189 Cmdr. Bernie McDonald offer remarks at Charley Trippi Stadium during a Memorial Day ceremony on Thursday.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_PSD052916MemorialDay_5.jpgPittston Area High School students listen to AMVETS Post 189 Cmdr. Bernie McDonald offer remarks at Charley Trippi Stadium during a Memorial Day ceremony on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Master of Ceremonies Jerry Gurnari of Dupont VFW Post 4909 offers remarks at a Memorial Day ceremony at Pittston Area High School’s Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_PSD052916MemorialDay_1.jpgMaster of Ceremonies Jerry Gurnari of Dupont VFW Post 4909 offers remarks at a Memorial Day ceremony at Pittston Area High School’s Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday afternoon. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area seniors Douglas Jumper, left, Eathan Brown, Kyle Petroski, Joe Szumski, and Ryan Davis lead in the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_PSD052916MemorialDay_3.jpgPittston Area seniors Douglas Jumper, left, Eathan Brown, Kyle Petroski, Joe Szumski, and Ryan Davis lead in the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

AMVETS Post 189 Cmdr. Bernie McDonald addresses Pittston Area High School students at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_PSD052916MemorialDay_4.jpgAMVETS Post 189 Cmdr. Bernie McDonald addresses Pittston Area High School students at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area junior Michael Elko plays Taps during a Memorial Day ceremony at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_PSD052916MemorialDay_7.jpgPittston Area junior Michael Elko plays Taps during a Memorial Day ceremony at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday afternoon. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

The AMVETS Post 189 firing detail under the command of Joe Sylvester fires a salute during a Memorial Day ceremony at Pittston Area High School on Thursday.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_PSD052916MemorialDay_6.jpgThe AMVETS Post 189 firing detail under the command of Joe Sylvester fires a salute during a Memorial Day ceremony at Pittston Area High School on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Pittston Area junior class president Michael Mazurkivich, left, senior class secretary Marley O’Brien, senior class treasurer Anna McDermott, and junior class vice president Hayley Farrell applaud the veterans at a Memorial Day ceremony at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday.
http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_PSD052916MemorialDay_9.jpgPittston Area junior class president Michael Mazurkivich, left, senior class secretary Marley O’Brien, senior class treasurer Anna McDermott, and junior class vice president Hayley Farrell applaud the veterans at a Memorial Day ceremony at Charley Trippi Stadium on Thursday. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
AMVETS hold Memorial Day ceremony, present flags

By Nick Wagner

nwagner@timesleader.com

WHAT DOES MEMORIAL DAY MEAN TO YOU?

Pittston Area seniors, who chose a career in the military, share their thoughts on Memorial Day:

Ryan Davis, U.S. Army ROTC: My father served in the military, and I couldn’t thank them enough for their service. I can’t wait to be part of something like this.

Joseph Scumski, U.S. Army: All of the veterans have risked their lives for our country. I’ll follow in their footsteps.

Kyle Petroski, U.S. Navy: Even though Monday is Memorial Day, to me every day is Memorial Day. These guys gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Douglas Jumper, U.S. Navy: Memorial Day is indescribable — knowing all of our veterans and active duty knowing they fought for someone. It’s incredible they are willing to do that.

Ethan Brown, U.S. Navy: There’s an enormous number of people who sacrificed for everything we have. I respect that.

Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

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