Share This Page

Castle Shannon man's banner project a salute to vets' service

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Harry Munson of Castle Shannon designs banners on his home computer in this April 2014 file photo.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Banners designed by Harry Munson of Castle Shannon are displayed on Library Road in South Park.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Harry Munson, owner of HTM Designs, organizes military tribute banners for the on his back porch in Castle Shannon in this April 2014 file photo.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Harry Munson designed this banner for display in Bridgeville.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Banners designed by Harry Munson are displayed on Library Road in South Park.

Michael Garritan Jr. smiles each time he drives down Willow Avenue in Castle Shannon.

There, hanging on a utility pole in front of Franco's Pizzeria, is a banner dedicated to his late father, Michael Garritan Sr., a World War II veteran who was wounded in Germany and died in 2012.

“It was great, just so great to see,” said Garritan, 67, a Vietnam veteran from Castle Shannon. “He loved it when he saw it.”

The banner is part of a military banner tribute program that started in Castle Shannon in 2009 and has spread through 14 other communities in Allegheny and Washington counties.

Michael Warhold, president of the Castle Shannon Revitalization Committee, spearheaded the project in his borough. He said the idea developed from a similar program in Leechburg.

Warhold, who is a Vietnam veteran, said he wanted to keep service members in the forefront of people's minds.

“I wanted to honor our service men and women, past and present,” he said. “I was thrilled just getting (the program) started. It is beyond my wildest expectations what this has turned into.”

Harry Munson of Castle Shannon designs the banners and has helped spread the program throughout the area.

“We came up with the idea and it just grew,” said Munson, who owns a design company, HTM Designs, with his wife, Tammy. “And it's been a very emotional experience.”

Banners initially hung in Castle Shannon's Memorial Park. They now stretch through the borough's business district and along 17 miles of Route 88. Whitehall and South Park plan to hang banners, and Carnegie and Scott officials have approved joining the effort.

In Bridgeville, officials plan to hang their banners by Memorial Day, said borough Manager Lori Collins, who had a banner made in honor of her father, who served in the Korean War.

The photo used for the banner shows her father and a friend on duty in Korea. She said he carried the photo with him, and kept it in on a table near his bed when he became ill.

“It just took my breath away,” she said. “I knew he was so proud of his service, and I knew he would be proud of me for doing it. It brought me to tears.”

Munson said that is the reason for the program.

“This isn't our business. We don't make a living doing this,” he said. “It's in support of the kids — support of the troops. It's not an individual effort. It's a community effort.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.