McKeesport ceremony honors vets
Veterans, first responders and civic leaders gathered in McKeesport's Memorial Park to honor those who have served in the U.S. military, paying special tribute to three locals who recently died.
“Each service, we've been honoring one person – a fallen veteran,” McKeesport Veterans Activities Association president Jim Calvin said. “This is a sad day today.”
Calvin was referring to the late Harry P. Kucich, who served in the Pacific theater of operations during World War II. He was a member of AMVETS Post 8 and American Legion Post 361.
“He always showed up for the veterans functions, and he isn't here,” Calvin said. “Harry, wherever you're at, we miss you, brother.”
Speakers also reflected on the service of the late Art Nagy of McKeesport and the late Bernard S. Ordos of West Mifflin. They were survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
“We salute and remember two of our hometown Pearl Harbor heroes, who recently passed away,” state Rep. Bill Kortz said. “These two brave Americans fought back against the Japanese, survived the attack at Pearl, went on to fight in the Pacific theater, and they returned home victorious.
“They returned home to raise a family. They shared their story with us. They shared their history with us. God bless them both.”
Clifford W. Flegal Sr. gave a eulogy for Nagy, and Steve Nagy offered his father's flag to fly in Memorial Park until Pearl Harbor Day.
“Art, when he came back, he was one of the most intense and honest veterans that I ever knew,” Flegal recalled. “Over the years, I've been master of ceremonies and chairman for so many veterans events I can't count. Art Nagy was always there for the veterans … I miss him very much.”
Speakers offered a blessing to all veterans, including those serving today in the Middle East and around the globe.
In his invocation, the Rev. Rudy Mayak of Park Baptist Church said that to be called a veteran is a distinct honor, because those distinguished men and women are the best Americans this nation has to offer.
“We want to remember all the fallen heroes of all generations, who willingly gave their lives for the sake of freedom, liberty and justice,” said the Rev. Rudy Mayak of Park Baptist Church. “Also, we want to thank all of those who have served in war and peace, and have returned home to their loving families and grateful nation.”
VFW Post 514 Past Cmdr. Michael J. Melosky, who offered the Veterans Day address, said he holds a special place in his heart for those who were taken prisoner and those who did not return home.
A World War II veteran, Melosky endured Nazi captivity.
“I was a prisoner twice, and I escaped twice,” he said. “I saw Adolf Hitler in person.”
Melosky said he has the deepest sympathy and highest regard for veterans who gather in their communities for events such as McKeesport's.
“As the veterans stand next to each other, many seem to have taken their toll,” Melosky said. “Shoulders are stooped, jackets are frayed, and backs bent. And yet their desire to stand as tall as they can with pride in their eyes to show respect to another veteran – one of their brethren – is unmistakable.”
Melosky said he is humbled to see veterans living with chronic pain due to injuries they suffered while they served. Former Allegheny County commissioner Larry Dunn agreed.
“There are so many (wounded warriors) who need our help,” Dunn said. “They fought the battle. They have terrible wounds. They are trying to get their lives back in order, and it's very difficult for so many of them.”
Speakers encouraged attendees to do all they can to support organizations that aid veterans. They also spoke of the importance of taking time to recognize and simply thank the veterans they encounter.
“I believe this is an appropriate way to honor and recognize the 25 million veterans in the United States who have served proudly in the military and remain as role models to other citizens,” Melosky said.
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said he wants children to be knowledgeable of what veterans mean to society and the true role they play.
“As an educator for 12 years, I taught 11- and 12-year-olds, and we would talk about heroes,” he said. “You always hear about your football and basketball players. I always looked forward to the moment to discuss with them that, without our real heroes, we wouldn't have the chance to even know about these professional athletes.”
Cherepko thanked McKeesport Area High School's marching band, which performed the national anthem Saturday and hosted a concert Friday to honor local heroes.
“If you were unable to be there, I strongly recommend you attend it next year,” the mayor said. “They do this each and every year, and it's a first-class, tear-jerking performance.”
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956
, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Marte jump-starts Pirates in win over Brewers
- Penguins’ Martin a marked man in series with Rangers
- Penguins notebook: Johnston says Perron needs to shoot
- Coming off hill revives Seton Hill University, downtown Greensburg
- Transportation challenges rife as Pittsburgh focuses on making fixes
- Use of multiple contractors could leave oil, gas operators open to hackers
- Governor Wolf’s outreach to lawmakers contrasts with Corbett’s style
- Pirates notebook: Is it time for Kang to head to Indy?