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St. Boniface Church dedicates flagpole

A new flag pole was dedicated in St. Boniface Church Cemetery as a final marker for the site for burial of war veterans.

In an outdoor ceremony with a little more than 50 people, the flagpole was blessed by the Rev. Bill Corcoran of St. Boniface and St. Lawrence parishes.

The ceremony had been postponed from Veterans Day due to weather.

On this past Memorial Day, there were veterans flags marking the burial sites but no flagpole.

“There is going to be a flagpole,” said Paul Butters, of the council, at the time a few months ago.

Butters led the group of donors, raising the money for the 70-foot pole with a solar light to shine on the American flag.

The Cemetery Council created a beautiful garden to encircle it.

Meanwhile, the church Confirmation class has been raking and cleaning up the grounds to ensure the dignity of deceased parishioners.

The maintenance shed was painted to enhance the area.

Trees have been trimmed and some removed. “The seventh- and eighth-grade students at St. John Neumann Regional Academy really cleaned up the cemetery ahead of Veterans Day and the flagpole dedication,” Corcoran said.

Guests were directed to a bronze plaque at the foot of the flagpole.

It is dedicated in memory to Dick Wagner, who was 24 years old when he lost his life in the World War II Battle of the Bulge on Jan. 9, 1945, his son, Dick Wagner, of Williamsport, said.

Wagner is buried in the Henri-Chapelle Cemetery in Brussels with 7,992 other military dead, most of whom lost their lives during the advance of the U.S. armed forces into Germany.

Their headstones are arranged in gentle arcs sweeping across a broad green lawn that slopes gently downhill.

The bronze plaque originally was put at Greenlawn Cemetery near Montgomery in 1947, Wagner said.

Twenty years ago, Wagner said he asked if he could have it.

These buried here laid down their lives for their country, trying to make the world a better place, Corcoran said.

Perhaps soldiers died, maybe not knowing who they were dying for, he said.

“The essence of the Christian message is selflessness,” Corcoran said.

“This is a marker for all veterans — today, tomorrow and yesterday,” Wagner said.

It will be a place for families of veterans to gather and pray.

The cemetery is located just off Penn Street in the city’s east end.

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