Communities in Somerset County are planning parades and services to observe Memorial Day on May 30. Here are some of the activities planned.
Memorial Ceremony at Patriot Park
The 2022 Memorial Ceremony at Patriot Park is at 7 p.m. May 29 at 6150 Lincoln Highway, Stoystown (U.S. Route 30, just west of the Flight 93 entrance). Guest speaker will be Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, director of the Army Staff at the Pentagon. Music will be performed by Danny Conner and Bellwood Community Choir. Bring along a lawn chair.
Union Cemetery, New Centerville
The Memorial Day service is at 11 a.m. Monday in the Union Cemetery, New Centerville. Laurie (Hall) Knepper, Lt. Col. (Ret.) U.S.A.F., N.C., will be the guest speaker. Knepper's service covered 12 duty stations, including 12-month remote tours in the Azores and South Korea, as well as a three-year tour flying aeromedical evacuation in Europe. Her performance there earned her the Dolly Vinsant Flight Nurse of the Year Award. She retired in 2009 and moved to Somerset County. She is now a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution , Great Crossing Chapter. She works remotely for Defense Health Affairs, Joint Trauma System, abstracting trauma medical records from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and now COVID-19 medical records.
Guest soloists will be Andrea (Illar) Falchek and her brother, Frank Illar Jr. Welcome by Graydon Miller, mayor of New Centerville. Prayers by Keith Grimm and Jennifer Pettett, the chaplains of the Sons and Auxiliary of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. Taps will be played by Frank Illar Jr. and David K. Weyand, both of New Centerville. Gun salute by Rockwood American Legion Post 279. The Color Guard will be members of Mt. Union Church Camp 502 and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, both sponsors fo the service.
In case of rain, the service ill be moved to the New Centerville Church of God.
Somerset Memorial Day
Memorial Day will be observed at 9:30 a.m. at the Somerset County Courthouse at the annual ceremony sponsored by the Somerset Memorial Day Committee. The ceremony will include patriotic readings, speakers, musical selections and the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the county’s war monuments.
The annual event memorializes all Somerset County veterans who lost their lives in service to our country. “This ceremony is more than a tradition. It is a way to show our fallen soldiers and their families they will always hold a place of honor and remembrance to Somerset County,” said Daniel Kinsella, Somerset County’s Director of Veteran’s Services.
This year’s guest speaker will be Michael Knapp, Ph.D. of Hooversville. A Somerset native, Dr. Knapp is a 1980 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He received his commission as a regular officer in the United States Army and served more than 25 years active duty. Lt. Col. Knapp held a variety of leadership positions during his military career to include the Chief of the Developments Division of the Army Space Program Office. Selected into the Army Astronaut Program in 1994, he served as a systems engineer and space operations officer for the Astronaut Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. He was an assistant professor and director of individual research in chemistry at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York; company commander and director of advanced helicopter improvement program flight training, U.S. Army Aviation Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama; and platoon commander, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Nurnberg, Federal Republic of Germany.
Knapp earned a Master’s Degree in systems management from the University of Southern California and a Masters and Doctorate in Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University. He holds numerous awards and decorations including the Astronauts’ Personal Achievement Award, The Johnson Space Center’s Certificate of Commendation, Master Army Aviator, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Award) and the Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award). He currently serves as an adjunct professor at Allegheny College of Maryland and as the Director of Technical Solutions at Szanca Solutions in Bedford.
During the observance, the Somerset County Honor Guard and Rifle Squad will present the colors and perform a 21-gun salute following the traditional wreath-laying ceremony. The Rev. Matthew Deal of St. Paul’s United Church of Church in Somerset will offer the invocation and benediction. The Somerset Area High School Band and choral ensemble will perform patriotic musical and vocal selections. This year, the American Flag will be presented posthumously to the late Pennsylvania State Rep. William Robert “Bob” Bastian. Bastian served as a member of the United States Air Force between 1966 and 1968, achieving the rank of captain. Bastian’s wife Susan and family members will formally receive the flag.
Somerset Troop 131, Cub Scout Pack 131 and Friedens Troop 152 of the Boy Scouts of America will raise the colors and conduct the flag-folding ceremony and presentation. Somerset Troop 131 also oversees the display of the American Flag along the streets of Somerset Borough. The Somerset Memorial Day Parade will commence immediately at the conclusion of the ceremony.
The Boswell American Legion Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Day services are set for May 30. The parade is to start at 10:30 a.m. with the Memorial Day services at the Boswell American Legion to follow after the parade.
Those who would like to participate in the parade can do so by being at the American Legion between 10 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. Those who have questions are asked to call 724-244-1843.
Stoystown Memorial Day Parade
Stoystown Legion and Lions Club members have finalized plans for Memorial Day.
The annual celebration in Stoystown is to begin with a service in front of Deaner Funeral Home at 1:30 p.m. with the parade immediately following. This service is to be livestreamed on Deaner's Facebook page. The parade is sponsored by the Stoystown Lions Club.
Parade lineup is to begin at 12:15 p.m. and end promptly at 1:15 p.m. Units are asked to assemble at the top of the hill west of Stoystown.
To avoid confusion, all units are asked tp enter off of Route 30, west of Stoystown, below Rullo Auction Service. Marching units should enter off of Route 30 by the NAPA Auto Parts Store.
Dash plaques are to be given to all parade participants. Anyone with questions about the parade is asked to call 814-893-5706.
Main Street in the borough is to be closed from 1:15 p.m. until the end of the parade. The Rev. John Barichivich of Friedens Lutheran Church is to give the invocation and benediction. Jessica Spangler of Stoystown is to be the soloist.
This year’s scheduled keynote speaker is Stoystown resident Richard Koontz, honorary chief warrant officer 4, retired, of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
Shanksville-Stonycreek American Legion Post 911 is to observe Memorial Day on May 30. The service is to be held at 4:15 p.m. on the Shanksville Community Grove Bandstand grounds. Military rites are to be conducted by American Legion Post 911 Honor Guard both at the Shanksville Grove and Lambertsville ceremonies.
The scheduled featured speaker is Maj. Gen. Clair Gill, retired U.S. Army. Eighth-grade Americanism Award winners are to participate in both ceremonies. Rylee Boone is set to recite "In Flanders Fields" and Isaac Mostoller is to recite the Gettysburg Address. Jose Snyder — the 12th-grade award winner of the Somerset County and Pennsylvania Twenty First District for the American Legion National High School Essay Contest — is to read her winning essay.
Shanksville High School Band members are to perform musical selections and play Taps. The public is welcome to attend.
The 154th consecutive Memorial Day service is to begin at 2:30 p.m. May 30 in the Lambertsville Cemetery, approximately 1 mile from the Flight 93 National Memorial.
The scheduled guest speaker is retired Capt. Michael Knapp, who served during the Cold War as a helicopter pilot. His service also included the U.S. Space Program. He is a graduate of West Point.
Rylee Boone is to recite “In Flanders Fields” and Isaac Mostoller is to say the Gettysburg Address. Both are recipients of the eighth-grade American Legion Award. The Memorial Day service is to include music by members of the Shanksville Stonycreek High School Band. Members of the Shanksville Stonycreek American Legion are to provide graveside rites.
Windber and the surrounding communities are to also celebrate Memorial Day on May 30, with a parade beginning at 10 a.m. Services are to follow at Windber Veterans Park.
Members of the American Legion Windber Post No. 137, Windber VFW Post No. 4795 and Boy Scout Troop 110 are to decorate the graves of veterans in the cemeteries throughout the Windber area at noon May 22. The public is encouraged to participate.
This Memorial Day celebration is sponsored by the Windber Veterans Association, which is composed of the American Legion Windber Post No. 137, Windber VFW Post No. 4795, the World War II 50th Anniversary Commemorative Committee and the Windber Veterans Park Committee.
This year’s scheduled guest speaker is Gill. He graduated from the United States Military Academy and volunteered for duty in Vietnam, where he served for 30 months. His 34-year career in the United States Army included commanding combat and construction engineer units at platoon, company, battalion and brigade levels.
Prior to becoming the Army’s budget director, Gill served as the commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School and installation commander at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Gill's continued service to his country includes a multitude of volunteer assignments, including the most recent as a board member of the Patriot Park Foundation.
Gill resides with his wife, Sherry, in St. James, North Carolina. They have three married children and enjoy outdoor activities at their Indian Lake getaway cabin and golf course.
American Legion Windber Post No. 137 is to sponsor a free breakfast for veterans from 7–9 a.m. on Memorial Day at the post's canteen along 14th Street in Windber. All veterans are welcome.
This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Somerset County, PA Memorial Day services for 2022