The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 27, 2014

Speaker: Soldiers’ deeds will never be forgotten

DANVILLE — We may not remember their names but we will never forget their deeds, Master Sgt. Michael Schmid told a packed Memorial Park following Danville’s annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday.

Schmid, of Bloomsburg, spoke of service members who traveled with George Washington in 1777; who stood on Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg; who fought with the Bloody Bucket Unit while being told World War I was the war to end all wars; were aboard the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941, where the chaplain’s service was interrupted by Japanese planes attacking; with a tank battalion in Belgium; with “The Chosen Frozen” in Korea; in Baghdad in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Schmid has seen changes in the 35 years he served with the Navy, the Army and now with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, but heroism, honor and camaraderie haven’t changed.

“The horrors of war endured by the military member, families back home and civilians caught in the middle” are also unchanged, he said.

“Never forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Schmid said.

Introduced by Montour County Veterans Affairs Director Doug Resseguie, who organized Memorial Day events, Schmid first served with the Navy in 1979, including time on a nuclear submarine through 1983. He joined the Army in 1993 and served for nine years. He did three combat tours in Iraq and returned from Kuwait last year.

A correctional counselor, he recently transferred his membership with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard to Danville.

Honored as marshals for the parade were 102-year-old Robert Hall, of the Danville area, and M. Jane Duceman, 92, of Danville.

They rode in a convertible yellow 1955 Pontiac owned by John Thomas, of Elysburg.

The convertible stopped on the Danville-Riverside Bridge for a ceremony to honor those buried or lost at sea. Flower girls Abbey Lacomey and Elliona Lopez threw red, white and blue flowers into the Susquehanna River.

American Legion Post 40 Honor Guard gave the rifle salute. Andrew and Larrisssa Georges sounded taps. The Rev. Harry Wonderland gave the invocation and benediction.

Hall, who served with the Army from 1944-45, said he was a member of the infantry. He said he saw “some danger” and some fighting in France and in Germany but wasn’t wounded.

Formerly from Watsontown, Hall has a daughter, Donna Boyer, of White Haven, and a son, Wilmer, of Watsontown.

Duceman, originally of Paxinos, served as an airplane mechanic with the Air Force in 1943-45. She worked on training planes, was proud to serve and got to see much of the country by serving in New Mexico, Arizona and Georgia.

“How else would I have ever gotten out of Paxinos,” she asked. Ducemean moved to Danville to be close to her daughter, Jody Callahan. She also has a son, Billy, in Hollidaysburg.

After her military service, she got a job at radio-maker Westinghouse in Sunbury.

Other veterans were honored during the parade.

Vietnam veteran Joe Diehl, of Danville, earned a Bronze Star.

Riding in a convertible owned by veteran Jim Shutt were World War II veterans Bill Corey, 88, who served as a 2nd Class radioman with the Navy; Joe Simington, 97, a major in the Army; and his brother, Dave Simington, 94, a lieutenant colonel with the Army. They are from the Danville area.

Many people waved flags and wore red, white and blue along parade route down Mill Street.

With the 70th anniversary of D-Day during World War II looming soon, World War II veterans were honored during the ceremony in Memorial Park.

The Legion Honor Guard raised the national colors and gave the rifle salute. Jeremiah Walter, Danville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 298 commander and an Army veteran who served in Iraq, gave the welcome and was master of ceremonies.

Wonderland gave the invocation and benediction.

Danville High School student Anna Wassmer sang. The Danville High School Band played.

Various community groups placed wreaths at the foot of the Civil War monument.

First Sgt. Michael S. Hughes, of the National Guard, who served in Iraq, spoke of remembering prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Robert Barnhart Jr., VFW post vice commander and Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, read the Gettysburg Address. An Air Force veteran, Resseguie read the roll call of the honored dead.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.

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