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Jordan UCC Wreaths Across America honors local fallen heroes


Special to The Press

Once again, members of Jordan United Church of Christ joined approximately 2,500 locations across America Dec. 18, 2021, to place a wreath in honor of or in memory of an American hero on their graves.

According to Jordan UCC historian John Harting, there are 120 veterans representing all American wars buried in the cemetery.

Close to 130 wreaths were distributed, with the additional wreaths presented to one for each branch of the service, as well as the Merchant Marine and one to remember service members missing in action.

Alex Stephens presented the little-known story of the disappearance of Tiger Flight 739, on March 23, 1962.

The charter flight was carrying 93 American soldiers, three South Vietnamese and the crew of 11 civilians from San Francisco to Saigon, Vietnam, with fuel stops in Honolulu, Wake Island, Guam and Clark Air Base, Philippines.

All were lost and no sign of the downed aircraft was ever found.

PRESS PHOTOS BY LOU WHEELAND Jordan UCC Director of Music Frank Arbushites performed the prelude for the Jordan UCC Wreaths Across America program, Dec. 18, 2021.
Members of the Parkland High School band performed patriotic music for the program.
Soprano Michele Doctater-Carias performed the national anthem during the program.
John Harting presented an historical tribute to Jordan UCC veterans.
Alex Stephens presented the story of the disappearance of Tiger Flight 739 on March 23, 1962.
The Rev. Dr. David Charles Smith closed the ceremony with the benediction.
Boy Scout Jacob Rarick played Taps on his bugle.
Veterans and family placed memorial wreaths at the altar of Jordan UCC during the annual Wreaths Across America Ceremony: Navy veteran Stephen Brown, lieutenant with South Whitehall police, Kathy Ayers, mother of fallen Marine Sgt. Austin Ayers; Air Force Capt. Larry Hertzog; Marine Corps Sgt. Jason Grozier, South Whitehall police community relations officer; Army Cpl. Robert Smith and Army Master Sgt. Lucille Gross.
Molly, 9, and Joshua Johnson place a wreath on the grave of the oldest veteran buried in the Jordan UCC cemetery. Lorentz Guth was with the Pennsylvania Militia during the Revolutionary War. He lived from Jan. 26, 1743 until Nov. 2, 1814.
Grave marker of Lorentz Guth in the Jordan UCC cemetery, South Whitehall.