Morning News â€”Bob Hudson
Joan McNeel puts her hand over her heart as members of her family and friends raise a flag in honor of her deceased husband Worth during an informal ceremony at the Blackfoot Rotary Clubâ€™s Centennial flagpole outside Ridleyâ€™s on Wednesday.
Family members raised a flag in honor of longtime Blackfoot resident and World War II veteran Worth B McNeel at a ceremony outside Ridley's grocery store in Blackfoot on Wednesday.
McNeel was born on Feb. 19, 1921. When World War II broke out in 1941 he was attending school at Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University). He joined the Enlisted Reserve Corps and was called to active duty in April of 1943 where he reported to Fort Douglas, Utah.
He and a group from Utah State University trained together at Camp Callen, Calif., for 12 weeks in anti-aircraft artillery and subsequently were sent to Fort Bliss, Texas. In January 1944 he arrived at Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii. He served in the Philippines, Okinawa and Korea.
McNeel was patriotic and valued and honored his service in the military and his citizenship in the United States of America. He moved to Blackfoot in 1957 where he and his wife Joan (who survives him) raised their seven children. When McNeel passed away on Aug. 3 last year, his family requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made for an American flag.
It was this flag that was purchased in his name and raised in his honor on Independence Day 2012. McNeel's wife Joan, along with four of their children (and families) who still live in the areaâ€” Mary Lu Virtue, Patsy Hays, Leah Lyman and Suzanne Stoddardâ€” were present for the ceremony.