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Vets Memorial Day events planned in Monessen

At noon today, the American Legion Thomas McKee Post 28 and VFW Post 1190 will present the Monessen Memorial Day Program at the Monessen War Veterans Memorial in Monessen City Park.

In case of inclement weather, the program will be presented in Monessen High School auditorium.

This year's theme is "Pray for all American Veterans and World Peace."

Two past commanders of Legion Post 28, John Billy and retired Judge Gilfert M. Mihalich, will serve as masters of ceremonies.

The Monessen Veterans Color Guard, consisting of Gus August, Frank Gaudio, Frank Maiolini, Robert Mascetta, James Pallini, John Cheroki and Blain Simole, will present the colors.

The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Boy Scouts, and the singing of the national anthem and "God Bless America" will be presented by Tyra Chiaravlle, Weneisha Young and Crystal Vanpolle, all Monessen High School students.

Autum Rae Pawelec and Marcus Patric Yuille, two Monessen High School seniors, will present patriotic remarks.

The Rev. Fred Pfeil of St. Michael Syrian Orthodox Church will present the invocation and benediction. Pfeil is an Navy veteran.

Other traditional participants are Mary Jo Smith, mayor of Monessen; Rep. Ted Harhai; and poet James Restivo, quarternaster of VFW Post 1190.

The Mid Mon Valley Shipmates will present the "Two Bell Ceremony."

As a tribute to all American veterans, Greg Dacko, commander of Post 28 and Leonard Babinski, 2nd vice commander VFW Post 1190, will perform the traditional placing of a memorial wreath.

The main speakers are Thomas Persico, 2nd vice commander, Post 28; and James Pallini, commander, VFW Post 1190.

The subject of their presentation is veteran and hero Robert A. Lhota, who died in the Vietnam War.

Persico and James Pallini were close friends and will relate their experiences and memories of Lhota, a Monessen native.

Mihalich will present the closing remarks and make a Monessen veterans historic announcement.

On May 19, Legion Post 28 and VFW Post 1190 created the Monessen War Veterans Memorial Trust.

The trust created a entity that will provide preservation and maintenance of Monessen war veterans memorials.

For about 60 years, Legion Post 28 and VFW Post 1190 have promoted veterans activities, including the construction and maintenance of memorials. The continued maintenance, as well as the continued existence of these veterans organizations, are threatened by numerous deaths of aging veterans and the advanced age of surviving active veterans.

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