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Communities Slate Memorial Day Observances

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
May 27, 2021
Posted in: Announcements, McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

A color guard comprised of then-McKeesport Area High School Junior Air Force ROTC Cadet Dylan Vaniel and members of the McKeesport police and fire departments present the American and Pennsylvania flags during 2017 Memorial Day ceremonies. (Tube City Almanac file photo)

Local communities have slated Memorial Day observances, including ceremonies in McKeesport and Glassport, and a parade on Lincoln Way in White Oak.

Observed annually on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day is a federal holiday for honoring and mourning military personnel who died in the performance of their duties, and is distinct from Armed Forces Day — which is set aside to recognize active-duty personnel — and Veterans’ Day.

Memorial Day was originally known as “Decoration Day,” because it was used as a time to decorate troop graves. The holiday has been marked in the United States since the Civil War.

McKeesport observances at 10 & 11 a.m.

In McKeesport, a public observance will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Memorial Park, corner of Lysle Boulevard and Market Street, Downtown.

City Administrator Tom Maglicco said anyone attending who has not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 is required to wear a mask.

Last year’s observance was limited to only a handful of officials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, Memorial Day will be observed with full rites and ceremonies, including prayers by the Rev. William B. Meekins Jr. of the McKeesport Shared Ministry — United Methodist Church, and Boniface Igba, ministerial director of McKeesport-based Auberle, and a 21-gun salute by the honor guard of American Legion Post 447, Port Vue.

Taps will be played by McKeesport Area High School band students under the direction of Drew DeCarlo, and members of the Air Force Junior ROTC, led by U.S. Air Force Maj. Bryan Carlson (retired), and Senior Master Sgt. Jason DeFelice (retired), will post the colors. In addition, Carlson is scheduled to perform the national anthem.

Other volunteers and participants will include AMVETS Post 8 Commander Tom Bergan, Bobbie Billsborrow, Greg Nemchick, Earnest Oatneal and Jerry Turkowski, as well as McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko and other local officials.

At 11 a.m., a separate ceremony will be held at the LaRosa Boys & Girls Club on Ravine Street to honor former members of the organization who died in military service, including the “McKeesport 23” who were killed in the Vietnam War, Maglicco said.

Due to the current closure of the club by Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, the ceremony will be held outside, Maglicco said.

White Oak parade begins at 12:30 p.m.

White Oak’s Memorial Day parade begins at 12:30 p.m. Monday at the corner of Guice Street and Lincoln Way, then proceeds along Lincoln Way to State Street, and ends at Capitol Street in the parking lot of American Legion Post 701, a spokesperson said.

Traffic will be detoured during the parade and parking will be at a premium.

Glassport service on Sunday

Glassport will hold its Memorial Day observance at 12 noon Sunday at the armed services honor roll, 449 Monongahela Ave., a spokesperson said. In the event of rain, the service will be moved across the street to American Legion Post 443.

Freelance writer Sarah Turnbull contributed to this report.

Originally published May 27, 2021.

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