Veterans Day Marked Here
Area veterans and supporters gathered at the bandshell in Mc- Connell Park Tuesday morning to pay homage to those in the various branches of the military, including a deceased Hustontown man whose family was presented with a handful of special medals awarded exactly 65 years to the day following his enlistment in the United States Coast Guard.
Army Col. Tricia Anslow, keynote speaker, recognized the late Leroy E. McGowan, an apprentice seaman. Mc- Gowan passed away on June 25, 2007. Accepting the medals on Mc- Gowan's behalf for his service during World War II were family members, wife Lois and son Randy.
Col. Anslow pointed out the American Campaign Medal was given for McGowan's dedicated service within the American Theater between December 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946. In addition, the Asiatic Pacific Medal with Bronze Star was for service during the Asiatic Pacific Theater and individual participation in a designated campaign.
Medals and buttons were also given to the McGowan family for the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign, World War II Victory and Honorable Service. In fact, Col. Anslow mentioned the Honorable Service Lapel Button, also known as the Ruptured Duck, was adopted by the War Department as the Honorable Discharge emblem for wear on the uniform of all military personnel who are discharged or separated from the service under honorable discharge conditions.
Furthermore, the Honorable Discharge button recognized Mc- Gowan's "faithful and dutiful service" from November 11, 1943 - February 28, 1946. He was honorably discharged as a ship's cook third-class from the U.S. Coast Guard on February 28, 1946, in Philadelphia.
In fulfilling her duties as speaker for the event hosted by American Legion Post 561 and Bishop-Raker VFW Post 655, both McConnellsburg, Anslow reminded those onhand, "It is always a privilege to be in the company of our veterans. You are the greatest role models for our current service members. We look to you for inspiration. It is your example of sacrifice and dedication that keeps us motivated and strong. When we hear your stories of valor and service, of all the things you did for us and our nation, we definitely owe you a great debt of gratitude. Today's service members are permanently linked to you, and I believe you can be proud of the current soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and coast guard carrying on your traditions."
"You taught us the meaning of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Our values are a reflection of your service," she added. "...There is no doubt that Veterans Day brings with it a meaningful significance to every American veteran. Today, we can see and shake hands with the 161 members of the Bishop Raker VFW. Your ranks include veterans of WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. We can thank the 500 men and women of the McConnellsburg American Legion, who proudly wore the uniform and served the country in Lebanon, Grenada and Noble Eagle. All of you served with distinction in times of peace and war and today we honor you for your dedication, commitment, courage and bravery."
"This great state of Pennsylvania has also given much just since September 2001. Two hundred fifteen of Pennsylvania's brothers and sisters made the ultimate sacrifice for their country during OIF and OEF. "
Col. Anslow is deputy chief of staff for engineering with the Arkansas National Guard and was deployed with the 20th Airborne Engineer Brigade during the Gulf War and, in October 2006, was deployed to Iraq as commander for the 875th Combat Engineer Battalion. The unit served as the Corps' Route Clearance Battalion for the 411th and 20th Engineer Brigades and cleared more than 1,500 IEDs.
The colonel's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge and Parachutist Badge. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in geography from the United States Military Academy, a Bachelor of Science degree in biology earned at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a Master of Science degree in water resource planning from Johns Hopkins University.
In addition to Col. Anslow, other dignitaries aiding the 11 a.m. service were Master of Ceremonies and VFW Post Cmdr. Clair Traxler, Fulton Honor Guard Chaplain Robert C. Snyder and fellow Honor Guard members Capt. Marvin DeShong, Lt. Robert Miller, Sgt. Gregory Sowers, Cpl. Mike DeShong, Company Clerk Donald Eisaman and bugler Roger Sowers.
Pat Decker placed the wreath in memory of Col. Chester Davis, USMC, Ret., and Charles C.A. Davis, USMC. The wreath was donated by the Decker family. The Central Fulton and Forbes Road bands provided the music for the November 11 service.