On Sunday, Cranberry honored those who served in the military with a special program before the stone veteran’s memorial at North Boundary Park.
“This event is just spectacular every year,” said Cranberry Supervisor Dick Hadley, who is the township’s liaison to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #897.
Master of ceremonies Phil Stebler, of VFW Post #897, introduced this year’s guest speaker, Stephen Mihalacki, a retired Army captain and a Cranberry resident.
Mihalacki, who had tours of duty in Kosovo and Iraq, spoke to the crowd about the difficulty in leaving behind his wife and family while he went overseas several years ago. He read out loud a letter he wrote to his son, Jack, then just a year old, right before he returned home from Iraq.
In it, he thanked the family members and friends who supported his wife and son while he was overseas. Today, Mihalacki, who is chief of accounting at the VA Pittsburgh Health System, also is father to a daughter, Abby.
“I want you to know our family truly blessed,” he said in his letter to Jack.
Despite the heat, the ceremony was well-attended by residents. Seneca Valley High School student Elicia Gibson sang the National Anthem to the crowd. There also was a presentation of Colors by the VFW’s color guard, a rifle salute by the Ohio Valley Marine Corps League Detachment # 882 and a presentation of memorial wreaths.
"I just feel patriotic in a day like this," said Doris Dowling, one of the many residents from the who attended Sunday's ceremony.
Those missing in action and prisoners of war also were remembered with a release of white doves.
“I salute you, God bless you and God bless America,” Stebler said in his closing remarks.