Memorial Day commemorated at Mt. Zion Historical Park

Photo by Amy Cherry - Victor Cortina of Byrnedale, a 93-year-old WWII veteran, was presented with a "WWII Greatest Generation" baseball hat from Navy veteran and ceremony emcee Richard Coccimiglio during the annual Mt. Zion Memorial Day Commemoration. A member of the U.S. Army's 32nd Infantry Cortina served in the European theatre from 1944-46.
By: 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

JAY TWP. – Numerous dedications took place during the annual Memorial Day Commemoration held at Mt. Zion Historical Park in Jay Township.
A sizable crowd gathered Saturday afternoon for the ceremony hosted by the Mt. Zion Historical Society.
Among two new plaques installed is one recognizing and honoring Bronze and Silver Star veterans of Jay and Benezette Townships. It is located in the park's Honor Walkway.
The second plaque, located in the Citizens Walkway, depicts a map of Bennetts Valley displaying information about the birth of Jay and Benezette townships showing the location and dates when founded and by the people acknowledged as the founders.
Jim McCluskey, American Legion Post 978 Commander, dedicated a new black granite bench honoring Weedville American Legion Post 978.
In addition, several new veterans pavers have been incorporated into the sidewalk and were dedicated by Richard Coccimiglio, retired American Legion State Commander, who also acted as the event's master of ceremonies.
Names listed on the new pavers include Sister John Paul Bauer, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, PFC Ronald Bruni, Joseph Gontero, Sgt. Arnold L. Liegey and PFC Elizabeth Anne Gross Rodgers.
"Those names are the reason we're here today. You have to know your history before you know where you're going," Coccimiglio said.
A paver bearing the name of Elk County Veterans Affairs Director Leslie Neal was accepted by Ed Greenawalt, a member of the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 720, on her behalf as she was unable to attend the ceremony.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Major Todd Parisi acted as the ceremony's keynote speaker along with Ray Beimel, of the St. Marys Historical Society, who offered information on the birth of Jay and Benezette townships.
Gabby Fye, a local student, performed the national anthem followed by the raising of the colors by members of the Weedville American Legion Post 978 Honor Guard and the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 720. A group of four WWII reenactors joined the group as well.

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