Ex-POW speaks at Westminster College
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -- A New Wilmington native who spent three years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam was the keynote speaker at a Westminster College Veterans Day program Monday.
Adm. Robert Shumaker, a graduate of Wilmington Area High School, spent three years in solitary confinement after being shot down in February 1965.
"I didn't have paper or pencil in those days, but I did have my memory of New Wilmington and its people. I spent the days mapping those memories in my mind. I thank you for that gift," Shumaker said.
Shumaker is a 36-year veteran of the U.S. Navy.
"Our strength as a nation lies not only in the large cities, but it also resides here in small towns like New Wilmington, where people are strong and nurture positive role models," he added.
Monday's program started with patriotic music by the Wilmington High School Marching Band and ended with a 21-gun salute from the 1-107th Field Artillery.
Diplomas were given to Harry Gerber and Paul McConnell, two World War II veterans who enlisted in the service before graduating high school.
Other former POWs present at the ceremony were Abie Abraham, Charles Balik, Thomas Cody, William Fisher, Earl Parker and Cyril Vrabel.