A flyover by four T-38s from Whiteman Air Force Base highlighted the 36th Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony last Saturday morning at Memorial Park Cemetery.

The event was sponsored by the Military Affairs Committee of the Sedalia Area Chamber of Commerce.

The weather for the 2024 edition was considered perfect by many in the crowd gathered to witness the laying of a giant wreath at the grave of 2nd Lt. George A. Whiteman, a former Sedalian who was the first casualty of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 by the Japanese. He died at the age of 22.

According to Wikipedia, Missouri native Whiteman, born in Longwood on October 12, 1919, was a pilot in the US Army Corps, and was one of the 2,403 victims killed during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japanese Navy forces. Whiteman Air Force Base was later renamed for him. He lived in Sedalia for a while on West 24th Street. Whiteman made the decision to attend the Rolla School of Mines for two years.

Dr. Glenn Berry's granddaughters Grace and Ellee Cronk from Lee's Summit represented the Whiteman family and placed the wreath on the grave, which was followed by the playing of Taps by Smith-Cotton graduate Andrew May and then the flyover, conducted by Lt. Col. Scott Voskovitch.

Daniel Avegalio was the coordinator for the solemn ceremony. He introduced the special guests as well as Pastor Tim Carter of Cornerstone Baptist Church, who offered a prayer.

The Whiteman AFB Honor Guard Detail posted the colors.

This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Green Ridge native Brie Herrick.

Lt. Col. Addington commanded a squadron of 509th Security Forces on site for the event.

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Col. Keith J. Butler, 509th Bomb Wing Commander, was the guest speaker for the occasion. Col. Butler is responsible for the combat readiness of the Air Force's only B-2 base, including development and employment of the B-2's combat capability as part of Air Force Global Strike Command.

There was no 21-gun salute at this year's ceremony.

Whiteman Wreath Ceremony 2024

Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby

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