(The article was published in The News-Item Friday November 2, 2018)
Gavin Memorial Moved in Mount Carmel
by The News-Item
MOUNT CARMEL — The monument to Mount Carmel military hero Gen. James M. Gavin was successfully moved to its new location Thursday November 1, 2018.
A two-man crew from Earl Wenz Monuments Inc., Breinigsville, spent some five hours dismantling, lifting and transporting the four-piece granite structure from its old location at the now-closed American Legion Post 91 along the Avenue and re-erecting it a few blocks away at the northwest corner of Second and Oak streets in the downtown.
Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Tim Williams, a Mount Carmel native who, like Gavin, was a member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, has been instrumental in having the 11-foot long, 5-foot high memorial moved to the new location after the Legion post closed earlier this year. The new site is on land adjacent to the Mount Carmel VFW Post.
The memorial was dedicated on Aug. 10, 1996, in a project led by the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association. Williams said a 1996 penny was found under the middle of three upright panels, and he replaced it at the new location and added a 2018 penny.
Williams thanked borough police Lt. Dave Donkochik and fire policemen Matthew Richardson and Tom Cimino for their assistance, and also Mayor Philip “Bing” Cimino for his assistance.
A re-dedication service will be scheduled, and an historical marker, removed from the current site and refurbished by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, will be placed at the new site. Williams hopes to have murals painted on bare block walls that border the property.
Gavin was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1907 and adopted by a Mount Carmel couple in 1909, though he insinuates in his writings that his biological parents may have had a direct connection to Mount Carmel. Gavin would spend some 35 years in the military, retiring with the rank of lieutenant general. His diverse career included literally “writing the book” on airborne warfare, and he was ambassador to France from 1961 to 1963. He died on Feb. 23, 1990, at 82 — the age not insignificant to the proud membership of the 82nd Airborne.
Gavin had made a name for himself as commanding general of the 82nd during World War II and was referred to as “The Jumping General” because he took part in combat jumps with the paratroopers under his command. He was the only American general to make four combat jumps in the war.
© 2018 The News-Item