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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Council approves Gen. Ungerleider memorial locale

  • When a group of local citizens announced last spring that they wanted to create a memorial in honor of the late General Alvin Ungerleider — one of the most celebrated heroes and accomplished citizens in Carbondale's history — many questions still remained.
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  • When a group of local citizens announced last spring that they wanted to create a memorial in honor of the late General Alvin Ungerleider — one of the most celebrated heroes and accomplished citizens in Carbondale's history — many questions still remained.
    Although the committee they formed had already proposed producing a size-and-a-half bust of the general in Memorial Park, who would the sculptor be? And where exactly would the bust be placed in the park? Not to mention the substantial cost of such a memorial, and whether the necessary funding could actually be raised.
    Now, little more than a year later, those questions have either been answered, or are on their way to being settled. So the committee is taking the next step towards bringing the project to fruition.
    Atty. Benjamin Schnessel, one of the committee members, appeared before City Council at a meeting on Monday night, July 15. He said a sculptor has been chosen to create the bust and much of the money has been raised through private donations to pay for it.
    "It won't be anywhere near as big as the General O'Malley Memorial," he told the council members in commenting on the proposed size of the bust.
    He asked them to authorize the committee's proposed location for the bust — either to the right side or the left side of the WW2 monument at the front of the park, next to one of the mortars. Council agreed to the request and approved it unanimously.
    When Gen. Ungerleider passed away in 2011, at the age of 89, his extraordinary life was memorialized in remarks which were entered into the Congressional Record in Washington D.C.
    He was also honored by the city with a proclamation commemorating April 16 as General Alvin Ungerleider Day.
    Ungerleider was remembered for being drafted into military service right out of high school in Nov. of 1942; for taking part in D-Day, the Invasion of Normandy which changed the course of World War II and of world history (Ungerleider landed on Omaha Beach that day and was wounded twice in the opening days of the invasion); for being among the troops who liberated the Nazi concentration camps about a year later (at which time Ungerleider, a Jew himself, was able to minister to the survivors); for being a highly-decorated American hero who received three Legion of Merit awards, the Four Chaplains Award, two Bronze Stars for bravery and meritorious service, and a Purple Heart; for being one of only 99 Americans to be awarded the French Legion of Honor for his role in D-Day and the eventual liberation of France; for remaining in the United States Army for several more decades and making a career of military service, ultimately rising to the rank of Brigadier General; for being recognized by the Secretary of the Army as well as by the NAACP for establishing innovative Equal Opportunity programs during his peacetime career; and for being personally chosen by Pres. Bill Clinton to accompany him in a wreath-laying ceremony at Normandy for the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994, among other accomplishments.
    Page 2 of 2 - Schnessel told the NEWS that the memorial to him will be a black granite obelisk, with a size-and-a-half bust in bronze of Gen. Ungerleider in uniform. There will also be a short engraved bio of the general included.
    "The bust will be eye level, close to the sidewalk," Schnessel noted. "That way, people standing on the sidewalk will be able to read the inscription without any problem."
    He said the memorial will be created by John Leon, a sculptor who resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Leon was chosen by the Ungerleider family members, who are actively involved in the project and have contributed a sizable portion of the cost.
    "The Ungerleider family is thrilled with Mr. Leon's work, so they're very excited to have him on board," Schnessel related.
    Once Leon is officially commissioned to do the work, he has said it will take him between six and 10 months to complete the bust. In the meantime, donations are still being accepted in order to raise the remainder of the needed funding for the project.
    Checks should be made out to the General Ungerleider Memorial Fund, and they can be mailed c/o Atty. Benjamin Schnessel, 11 Park Place, Carbondale, PA 18407.
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