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Military banner program in Whitehall offers spotlight for veterans

Whitehall's Military Banner Program

Residents can purchase a banner to recognize a person who has served in the military to be displayed between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

One banner will be displayed by the borough and another will be presented to the family for personal display. The cost is $80.

Forms for the military banner program are available on the Whitehall Borough website, www.whitehallboro.org, at the Whitehall municipal building and library, 100 Borough Park Drive and the Route 51 Eat'n Park.

For more information, visit www.troopbanners.com/WhitehallBorough.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Patrons at the Whitehall Eat'n Park on Route 51 stopped in the parking lot early Monday morning and began to point and stare.

As banners bearing the names and faces of 10 military veterans, surrounded by patriotic symbols, were erected along lamp posts throughout the parking lot, passers-by couldn't help but converse about the recognition of America's servicemen and women.

“It's a way for people to remember them on a daily basis,” said Whitehall Councilwoman Linda Book, who helped bring the military-banner tribute program to the borough. “It's right there looking at them.”

Whitehall joins at least 15 other communities across Allegheny and Washington counties, which include Bethel Park, Bridgeville, Carnegie, South Park and West Mifflin, in a military-banner program meant to recognize the country's servicemen and women, said Harry Munson, owner of Castle Shannon-based HTM Designs, who designed the banners and helped to promote the project across the region.

“It's a nice program,” he said. “It's something that should have been done a long time ago.”

Michael Warhold, founder and president of the Castle Shannon Revitalization Corp. and vice president of Castle Shannon council, brought the idea for the banner project to the region.

Warhold said he saw banners that honored the military in Lock Haven and wanted to do something to keep the military on the forefront of people's minds in Western Pennsylvania.

The program started in Castle Shannon in June 2009. That July, Marine Sgt. Ryan Lane died in combat in Afghanistan, and the first banner was hung in his honor.

“It's for all veterans, past and present,” Warhold said.“It's a reminder of what they've done for us.”

There are more than 200 banners now hanging on lamp posts on roads in Castle Shannon, Warhold said.

“It's a constant reminder that these men and women are over there keeping us free,” Warhold said.

Each person with a banner has a story, Warhold said.

Families often gather beneath a banner for photos, to share stories and cry together, he said.

Banners recognize soldiers as far back as the Civil and Revolutionary wars. Others, honor men and women now serving in the military.

Whitehall public works crews put up the first dozen banners in the borough on Monday in the Eat'n Park parking lot and on Weyman Road.

Banners will be hung at the Baldwin Community United Methodist Church, along Weyman Road, Borough Park Drive, in Caste Village and at other businesses along Route 51, Book said.

The hope is the banners will prompt conversation and recognition about the veterans and military members, said Book, who was stationed in Germany from 1974 to 1976 while serving in the Army Signal Corps. She worked alongside Anne Giovannetti, a Whitehall resident and a member of the Pleasant Hills American Legion Post 712 Women's Auxiliary, to start the program.

“If we don't carry on the good stuff, no one will,” Book said. “This is the perfect way to start off the Fourth of July week.”

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


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