WWII vet to be recognized at Summit Hill service
The traditional Memorial Day services in Summit Hill this year will have an unusual but interesting twist.
The program will include recognize 101-year-old Cornelius “Connie” “Cornie” McHugh, a World War II veteran and Summit Hill native, at 10:15 a.m. Monday in Ludlow Park.
Mayor Jeffrey Szczecina, a member of the Sons of the American Legion who will be master of ceremonies, said a photo presentation and narrative that includes McHugh’s service in World War II will provide an alternative in the traditional program.
McHugh, who will turn 102 in October, enlisted in the military the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He was living in Bethlehem at the time and his brother already was a Marine. “Connie” was called to active duty in January 1942.
After basic training and technical weapons training, he served on several islands in the South Pacific, including Guadalcanal, Tulagi and Guam.
Following World War II, he was a crane operator for the Bethlehem Steel Corporation for more than 34 years. He also drove a school bus for more than 15 years before and during retirement.
His community service includes being a member of American Legion Post 314, Lehighton, for several decades, a member of Marine Corps League and the league’s Toys for Tots program, and membership in the V.F.W., Disabled American Veterans and local fire companies and sportsmen’s clubs.
Also to be featured during the service will be remarks by Lt. Col. (Ret.) John McFadden, a 1970 graduate of Marian Catholic High School who served in the military around the world during a 24-year career. McFadden will serve as the Grand Marshal of the parade that will follow the program.
Szczecina will open the service with welcoming remarks, followed by the invocation by the Rev. John Mylecraine, pastor of the United Methodist Church, Summit Hill.
Former mayor and past Post 316 Commander Paul McArdle and will conduct the POW-MIA ceremony, followed by orations of Logan’s General Order, In Flander’s Field and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address by student orators Mason Mattrazzo, Conner Rehnert and Sam Homyak, students at Marian Catholic High School.
Following the World War II presentation and address by McFadden, Post 316 Chaplain Gregory Miller will read the roll call of soldiers who passed away since last year’s Memorial Day, followed by taps and the rifle salute by the Post 316 honor guard.
Szczecina will offer closing remarks and the program will conclude with the benediction by Rev. Mylecraine.
McFadden will ring the former Summit Hill High School bell that sits in Ludlow Park to signal the start of the 2023 parade.
Zoe Alabovitz, 10, daughter of Michael and Meredith Alabovitz of Summit Hill, and a fourth grade student at the Panther Valley Intermediate School, will serve as the 2023 Poppy Queen for the program.
Post 316 will also hold a brief event at 1 p.m. Sunday at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, White Bear. It will include the reading of the roll call by Chaplain Miller, followed by the Legion’s firing squad providing the salute to veterans.