Despite the absence of a T-38 flyover, the 35th Memorial Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Memorial Park Cemetery, where 2nd Lt. George Allison Whiteman is buried, was a memorable one.

Lt. Col. Stephen M. Addington, Commander of the 509th Bomb Wing Security Forces Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, was the guest speaker for the solemn ceremony, held Saturday, May 20.

His 15-minute speech contained numerous details about Whiteman on the day that the Japanese made their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941.

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. Whiteman was 22. 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.

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Pastor Chris Guffey provided an opening prayer, followed by posting of The Colors by the Whiteman AFB Honor Guard Detail.

Charity Wight sang the National Anthem, then event coordinator Daniel Avegalio introduced Lt. Col. Addington.

Following the speech, descendents of the Whiteman family, including Dr. Glenn Berry, placed a wreath at Whiteman's grave, which is marked by an American flag.

The planned flyover of four T-38 jets over the cemetery was canceled at the last minute after a malfunction was discovered in one the airplanes, prompting a grounding until the problem could be solved. The flyover typically occurs at a precise moment following a 21-gun salute near the end of the ceremony, neither of which happened Saturday morning.

Andrew played Taps to conclude the annual solemn ceremony.

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

Whiteman Wreath Ceremony

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