Corry PA veterans day 2022 ceremonyBrett Salsgiver, post commander for Corry American Legion Post 365, climbs down a ladder after unveiling a historical marker memorializing Charles P. Keating, a Corry native and WWI vet who played a key role in selecting and transporting America’s first unknown soldier. The service took place on Monday, Memorial Day, in front of Winger Suites & Williams Place on North Center Street.

Corry, PA commemorates World War I vet for special service to nation

By Rebekah Wallace
via the Corry Journal newspaper (PA) web site

Members of the Corry community gathered on a warm and sunny Memorial Day afternoon to honor WWI veteran and Corry native Charles P. Keating, not only for his service in the war, but for the key role he played in selecting and bringing home America’s first unknown soldier, now buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

A historical marker recognizing Keating’s service was unveiled in front of Winger Suites & Williams Place store, 117 N. Center St., where Keating and a partner operated the Alexander-Keating Funeral Home in the 1920s and early 30s. Keating, who was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army when WWI ended, was born in Corry in 1879 and died here in 1959. He was 79 years old.

Present at Monday’s ceremony were Steve Bishop, project historian and former Corry Higher Education Council executive director; Charles Gray, executive director for Impact Corry; representatives of Corry American Legion Post 365 and VFW Post 264, including their respective commanders, Brett Salsgiver and Steve Tinko; Corry Mayor Mike Baker, and former mayor Dave Mitchell.

Opening remarks were given by Gray.

“When I heard [Keating’s] story, I was moved,” she said. “It’s a testament to all of our service people.”

Gray then introduced Bishop, who provided background on Keating’s story and explained the process behind establishing the historical marker. A state-approved marker was originally applied for in 2018, but rejected, though Bishop didn’t say why.

“I really thought it was a given it would be approved, but surprisingly, at least to me, the marker was turned down by the state,” Bishop said.

Still, he felt strongly that this man deserved to be memorialized, who had, along with others in the U.S. Army’s Graves Registration Service, braved shellfire and mustard gas to retrieve and identify fallen American soldiers, and without whom the nation likely would not have recovered its first unknown soldier.

Read the entire article on the Corry Journal web site.

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